As the crow flies

Do you remember that fable about the sun and the wind? The one where they both want to get a man to take off his coat, but while the wind rages and roars to no effect, the sun’s gentle rays do the trick. No? Well, basically, there’s a fable where they both want to get a man to take off his coat, but while the wind rages and roars to no effect, the sun’s gentle rays do the trick. See what I did there? 😉

Now I know Aesop was a pretty smart man, but I’m a wind girl through and through. Maybe its the desi factor; the sun’s no novelty when you’re raised in the tropics, and once you hit puberty and start listening to the ever present white-is-right propaganda, you never take your coat off in the sun again. Actually, that might be why rain is romanticized in our culture and movies so much…..the femme fatales can’t really run out and dance in the sun, the darker they get, the darker their future. It might also explain why our notoriously PG13 upbringing turns a blind eye to these drenched women cavorting in the rain: at least they inspire young girls everywhere to stay out of the sun!


Regardless of their ulterior, anti-feminist agenda, the movies worked on me. I am my happiest, and therefore the most me, when the wind is raging outside, loud enough to drown out my thoughts. And so, as Hurricane Bertha knocks on the window today, I abandon all intellectual pursuits, like books and BBC, and curl up on the corner of the sofa, nursing a cup of chai and letting my mind and soul go a’wandering where they will. Unproductive, unchecked abandon. Bliss. 

Or something resembling bliss, since I doubt comparing your sisters to the sun and the wind can be called ‘bliss’ legitimately. Despite my best efforts to stay on neutral subjects like the weather and my health, my mind seems to have, well, a mind of its own. By time time I was on my second cup of chai, it  was gleefully drawing up charts of my sister’s similarities to the forces of nature. Number one in both cases is the capacity to wreck havoc on unsuspecting villagers, teachers and farmers. I haven’t yet achieved telepathy with my mom, but I am sure her mind will agree, even if her heart refuses to admit it. 

The middle child in our family, is so called not because we fail to understand the concept of even numbers and taking averages, but because she has sportingly taken it upon herself to shoulder all the complexes and provide all the drama of a middle child. She wears her mantle proudly, with a perfect mix of indifference and righteous indignation. And while you would think the latter would seem ridiculous and out of place on an extremely successful twenty-eight year old, who managed to get an education her parents had never dreamed of, and created a life they would never be part of, she sure manages to pull it off. She’s one of those people who is absolutely sure of where they want to go in life, and how they’re going to get there. Now that’s a very successful approach to life, but its a bit too definite a plan to be accommodating for plus ones. Not that she wants any, she’s very happy going it alone. For those of us who still care enough to try and break through her walls, we end up feeling more like an unwelcome hitchhiker as opposed to a partner, perching uncertainly on the passenger seat, worried whether we will actually make it to our destination or be booted out when we try and change the radio settings. Don’t get me wrong though, she’s a lot of fun when she sings out loud with you, and she does do that once in a blue moon. But most of the time, she prefers being in charge of the dials and the destination. Because that’s what it’s all about with her; the destination. Not the journey.

My eldest sister, the blessed one, lives for the journey. When we were younger, and I shared my room with the soon-to-be-successful middle sister, I hated my eldest sister. I thought she was insane, and dramatic, and self-obsessed. Then I grew up. I realized all of us are self obsessed, its a basic survival instinct in this world. The truly remarkable people are those who realise this early on in life, and make no bones about it. Those who marry their instinct for self preservation with honesty and kindness. Its an art, and only those who start practicing early achieve it in time. My eldest sister has it. At twenty nine, she is both the most selfish and the kindest person I know. Glance at her, and you see someone who’s perpetually late, who monopolizes conversations, orders dinner without asking for everyone’s opinion, shows up without notice, and stays away without explanation. Look at her closely, and you’ll be blinded by the sunshine she brings into our lives.  She’s the only person other than my mother who has told me, repeatedly and out loud, that she loves me. She indulges my father’s idiosyncrasies, she stays quiet every time my mother tries to interfere in her marriage, she never tries to catch a ride with her younger sister. She might not travel as far, she may not even know where she’s going, but she will never ever travel alone. And if somewhere along the journey, a bird crosses the road, as they tend to at the most inconvenient of times, there will always be someone sitting comfy in the passenger seat to shout out in warning. 

Maybe its the wind, maybe its the fact that I haven’t seen the blessed one for weeks and have been living with the middle sister, maybe its the fact that this cup of chai is not refilling magically….. whatever the reason may be, in this moment I know all I want in life is someone in the passenger seat. Someone to sing along with, to get lost with, to find my way with. And if I have that, who cares how far I get? Life isn’t measured as the crow flies.


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

Earnest Hemingway



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