When she was born, I don’t remember how she looked like
Nor do I remember the first time I saw her,
or the first time I held her in my arms.
I do however remember the first word (or one of the first words) she said,
And how chubby she looked.
Living miles apart from each other,
She was a holiday treat for us older sisters.
She walked funny and talked funny
But then again, what was I to know, I was only 5
Fast forward three years, she came to live with us.
A crying baby who missed the grandmother who looked after her all those years.
Since then, she became my possession, a personal project.
And my little person.
Ammachi carried her everywhere and fed her things
I didn’t mind at all.
After school, we rushed home to see her playing in the front garden.
It was an unusual but soon becoming a pleasing sight for us older sisters.
Soon enough, she started going to school.
To our school.
A tiny body in a tiny cream blouse and a brown coloured frilled frock
With side parted hair and rather short fringe,
She was a fragile little thing lost in Carmel Academy’s school uniform.
Being always subjected to change, and having no one she can trust,
Every time she felt scared.
It was 4 pm, and I wasn’t done with my exam
I went up to my teacher to ask her permission to go out for 5 minutes
Luckily, she allowed
I got out of the exam hall to find her
And I did.
Waiting under the big mango tree, weeping.
She looked so weak and fragile,
The 8 year old me felt crumbled
And the sight never faded in my mind till this day.
Birthdays, anniversaries and other occassions, we celebrated them all.
Hide and seeks, House, and other myriad games, we played them all.
I grew up, Anji grew up, and she grew up with us.
Life kept on bringing us and her changes, a lot and lot of changes.
One of these changes left us in Belfast one fine morning.
She started going to the nearby primary school, St Josephs.
Mummy was so worried about her that she went to the school at lunch time to check up on her.
She’d already made her first friend, and apparently shared her lunch with her new friend?
Fast forward few years, She joined us in our high school
Again, side parted hair, with no fringe this time, thank goodness
In a grey jumper, tie, blazer, skirt and tights,
A nerdy little first year Indian kid I saw
Being a green blazer myself, a so called ‘cool’ 6th year,
I avoided her every time she walked past me with her friends
and enthusiastically waved at me.
Then one day, I hear her speak at the school assembly
About how Christmas used to be in India
And saw her holding up an umbrella for a short guy,
from my health and social care class.
Again, time kept moving forward.
And it took me to Scotland for Uni
And Anji to Liverpool
We came back home with plus ones.
Life hasn’t always been mild on her
It brought changes after changes into her life
But she didn’t crumble
The fragile girl with the awful side fringe kept toughening up
Without anyone else beside her.
And today, she stands as a strong, independent woman,
With a mind that does not waver easily, annoying for some, especially me.
A family that is well proud of her
A best friend who dots her
Brother in-laws who fight for her attention and approval.
All these years, all these events and all these changes,
Left her to become an amazing young adult
She is still my possession and my personal project.
And forever my little person.
Happy 21st baby