When K was born in Mumbai, one of our first outings with her was SiddhiVinayak Temple. I discovered a small item on the noticeboard announcing a service for newborns – a detailed horoscope booklet with a write-up about what the future holds for the child. Being a sucker new mom, I ordered for one.
A lovely, red, hardbound book arrived a few weeks later. It held pages and pages of hand-written charts detailing the positions of every star in the sky, it seemed. I skipped all of it and landed on the only two pages with some words. It spoke of what her personality would be like and what her future holds – how she would mostly study abroad, how she would have a religious bend of mind, how her left eye would be prone to injury (!), how her first engagement might not work out but she will have a long, stable marriage finally, etc. My belief in astrology was not strong enough to actually think that this little page held answers to such grave questions. Yet, one sentence stayed with me and would run through my mind every so often – ‘She will take great care of her siblings’.
As a mom who went through a very precious pregnancy, this was music to my years. It was a sign from above, I told myself, that there will be more babies in my arms. Not that I wanted to recreate the Von Trapp family but as an only child, I was pretty sure we should have a couple of kiddos.
Over the past few days I find myself repeatedly recalling this innocuous little statement read over five years ago. K has been an exemplary big sister to naughty little V. And it’s not just about things like sharing toys or letting V scribble in her books or walk away with her chocolate (though for a little kid these might be big sacrifices). From the day V was born, K has shown a kind of deep caring for the little one.
When I would emerge from the bedroom after putting a sleeping V in her crib, K would gently check, “hope you kept the soft pillow on the side”, “did you cover her? mosquitos may bite.”
All her actions would show that she is always ensuring that her little sister is safe. And empathy is something that I find is so abundant in her. At two of her previous schools, they had inclusive classes and ‘special’ children were integrated into the regular curriculum. The class teachers would tell me that K makes an extra effort to help these kids with their daily work and activities. Maybe something as simple as helping the child open her water bottle before lunch or taking her to the washroom. But K does it each time. So much so that when we were moving cities, the teacher had to prepare the special child for K’s absence. She didn’t want it to come as a shock to her that K wasn’t in the class anymore.
So many times K has had to wait for my attention. I could hear myself saying ‘please wait while I finish this for V’ and hope that she doesn’t object. She rarely does. She’s willing to wait because the baby needs me first. Her maturity amazes me still.
Last night the two of them were lying on the carpet, cuddling with each other and trying to fall asleep. V was being the little monkey that she usually is.
I sneaked it in slyly, ‘So, is it fun to have a little sister?’
‘Oh yes! Especially when its such a masti sister like mine!’ 🙂
God bless you K.