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April 27, 2021


Dearest Ashu,

STOP PRESS. You turn SIXTEEN today! How in the world am I supposed to cope with this? I can’t even drown myself in alcohol since I don’t drink! But wait a minute, you can!!! You are legally allowed to drink wine and beer in this country from today and if that is nt a sobering thought! Sixteen is special in many cultures and the only Tamil culture that refers to this age is in the movies and most of the time, girls this age fall in love with a stupid boy, lie to their parents and elope with the said boy. So please refrain from doing any of them. You graduated from middle school and got into high school this year and its a big deal in the school system here. You chose the school you wanted to go and the subjects you wanted to take and made so many important decisions in your life. I am so proud of you. This fierce independence streak is something I admire in you. Please do ask for help when you need it though. There is no shame in it. Help is always given to those who ask for it. Not only in Hogwarts, but at our home too. Anytime. Anything, Anywhere. OK?

Our long lunches together have rapidly decreased ever since you started high school and I miss them dearly. Weekends and holidays are the only time we got to spend time together and have fun as you have lot of school work. You are complaining that you don’t have enough time to read for pleasure anymore and its heartbreaking. You are listening to lot more music though. You are keeping at it with Violin and Tennis and Table tennis and all the stress-baking, of course! Due to the pandemic, we have been traveling within the country for the holidays. Since Swiss has no dearth of exotic places, there were many hikes, many lakes, a week of skiing and snowboarding, day trips and what not! They were sometimes accompanied by sulking and complaining and tantrums and resistance. Its a task to get you out of the house. You drag your feet, steal my socks, tease your sister, try your fathers last ounce of patience. But you relent. You listen. And I am thankful for that. You do you. We will get by. 

I call you selfish a lot of times. "Its always I, me, myself with you", I say to you. But when I actually sit and think about it, you are far from it. I know for sure I did nt do even a fraction of what you do when I was your age. Its not just doing the laundry. Its also folding the clothes into neat little squares and taking them to each persons room and leaving them on their bed. Its not just making two cups of tea for me and your dad. Its the perfect ratio of ginger to milk to sugar. Its not just baking a cake for each one of us. Its the personalized touch in each one of them. Its just not setting the table for a special dinner. Its the napkin folded into flowers and the exquisite taste in decorating. Its not just recommending a secondary school for your sister. Its the research you do and the pros and cons you list. I can go on. I am sure you get the gist. If and when you do something, you give your 100%. I am the selfish one to want more. I am sorry to be so greedy.

The other day we were joking about something and JK Rowlings name was mentioned as it invariably does in our household and you said, “I don’t like her that much anymore”. It could be because of JKR’s Transphobic comments or something else, I am not sure now. But it was a huge moment for me. I told you how this “cancel culture” is very prevalent these days and quite toxic. One can say, "I like JKR but I don’t like some of the things she says”, instead of a blanket “I hate her” comment. No one is perfect. People would nt be people without flaws. This strive for perfection whether its the physical look or the mental strength or that amazingly shot insta photo or the perfect grade in a school test, its impossible to expect it from people including oneself. We make mistakes. We learn. We forgive. We are forgiven. Life would be so dull otherwise. So please overlook the flaws and find the goodness in everyone. And forgiveness is so underrated. We forgive not because the other person deserves it, but because we deserve peace. I wish you all the peace and happiness in life, Kannamma! Happy sweet Sixteen!



ashok said...

Happy birthday. Time flies!

manasa said...

Oh my! Happy Happy to Ashu! Bring a silent reader, I didn’t realize I’ve been following the journey of these two girls for so long!
Congrats Boo!

Anonymous said...

Happy happy birthday !! glad Boo, that u are still writing the 2 posts for birthdays !!!

Bes wishes to Ashu..

Sujatha Ramesh

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