My sister-friend!!!

Sari tucked in, lips pressed, brows furrowed, utter concentration, slim hands moving vigorously over a mammoth blackened cooking vessel, stirring the beginnings of a biryani that will feed at least 30 people (though the number of people actually present would be 15 - but when she cooks, everyone takes second helpings!)

Thats how I remember Christy akka. My sister-friend.

My memories go back to the time when I used to live in Pondicherry, barely 6 or 7. When dad mentioned trips to 'atthai's' house, I used to shiver - with dread! My cousins - the guys- would mercilessly tease me. MERCILESSLY (in caps!) They would call their jobless friends and everyone would join in teasing this girl-who-looked-like-a-boy-because-of-the-haircut-that-her-parents-
religiously-made-her-get. I would start with ignoring it, then I would yell, then I would throw their stuff around and in the end, I would howl! And she would come, give her brothers and the other guys a verbal bash and take me inside the house and let me play with her 'make up sets'!

Then when I was in Delhi, during the summer, when we visited Tamil Nadu, akka would beg mummy to let her take my brother and I for...anything! Could be a movie, could be a trip to the bakers, could be a visit to her hostel (she studied law at Pondicherry Law College). I remember the way she used to introduce me to her friends, "Remember, I told maama's daughter..Ashi!!!" and they would all go, " yooooouuuuu are her maama's daughter!" and I would glow! When twenty odd college girls, roughened up in law school talk like that to you, you just shimmer!

Then I came to Chennai. I was a teenager, akka was in her late twenties. I still remember the day she got registered with the Bar Council. I was floating! I was so proud! The first lawyer in the family! My akka! She was practicing law with a firm in Chennai. So, she used to visit often. School, fights, boys, crushes, grades, clothes, hairstyles, fashion, everything - we began to bond. That special bond that comes only at a certain age with certain people. We bonded. We became more than just sisters. We were friends. Best friends.

During family occasions, everyone would chuckle, because they said that akka and I looked alike! I know that she was as proud of me as I was of her! When we were together, we were always together! I couldnt cook for an ant and she could cook for entire families! So, I just stood with her in the kitchen, while she concocted the best sambars, chutneys, chicken fries and anything edibles that I have ever tasted. She cooked, I talked! She loved me, I loved her.

Three days ago, my father called me. After the call, I just sat on the floor. This had to be a joke.

Christy akka could not have died.

But she did.

The most difficult thing about death is how nothing changes. I remember watching the birds and the newly bloomed flowers and saying, how can you sing? how can you bloom? When she is no more? The reality of her death is slowly settling in. Its been 3 days since my akka died. But it feels like its been years. Many years.

She might have gone, but she lives. In my mind, in my memories, in my words.

Her unrestrained laughter, her revolutionary(read: experimental) hairstyles that she would try out on me(!!), her passed on lipsticks, mascaras, clothes and perfumes, her sensational biryani, her companionship, her presence, her gentle kiss, her affectionate hug and so many million little sister-sister things will all be missed.

I love you akka. I miss you. Will always.



Vadapoche said…
My sympathies. Pray that god gives you strength to get through this.

Was she ill?
Unknown said…
Hi Ashika, Sorry what happened, but GOD has his own plans for everything. Keep praying
Maximum Inc. said…
Like Prem says, Death is not a unique phenomenon. God willed that Christy akka had done her bit on earth. My heartfelt condolences though. RIP
Aparna said…
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well

Henry Scott Holland
(1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral
!! Oxymoron !! said…
Thanks aparna. That was timely and beautiful. And thank you everyone else for your consolation!
I go with Aparna in my comment...

Bhagvth Gee tha says no one is born so as to die.....we being in this mundane world we will accept things only if they r in concrete form...yr sister christie lives with u in yr memories, deeds..what more is needed??
Aarthi said…
It is really shocking!!!!!!!!!!

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