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June 27, 2021


Dearest Antu,

Welcome to the teens! Though you have unofficially been a temperamental teen for a quite a while, you can confidently get away with it now. You are slouching more. Are more grumpy. Started wondering what's the point of school. More screen time. Less time outdoors. Fewer friends. More fights with your sister. The beginning of door slamming. Way more sensitive. Basically, the works. Thankfully, no big surprises there, thanks to you being the second born. Ashu paved the way well. While I was crawling on all fours trying to keep up with her, I am skipping and dancing along right with you. Hope to retain my sanity and sense of humor through all this. You are more vocal about your feelings and that helps. Every time we have an argument or a discussion, I get the feeling that you are trying to convince yourself more than me and you want to come out of the conversation feeling better about yourself. Which is a rare quality in our family. I hope you never lose it. Or I hope as a parent, I never squash it. 

We managed to travel within Swiss whenever we could in these uncertain pandemic times and you are a great travel companion. You love the planning, the houses we stay in, exploring hiking trails and trying new restaurants. For the first time, you said no to ski lessons and your sister and you went on your own this year. I was really worried. We just dropped you both at the gondola station and you girls just went off on your own without a backward glance. Scaling mountains. Skiing down. Finding a restaurant for lunch. And then meeting us back at the time and place we have agreed upon. So grown up! And trusting your sister implicitly even though she says that you are the bane of her existence. You will follow her to the ends of the earth and won't deny her anything. Long live sisters and the sisterhood of the traveling (ski) pants! 

You finish 6th grade which is the end of primary school here. So a big milestone. You are going to start in a new secondary school from August and none of your best friends are in the same school. You are both nervous and excited. School has been a little too easy for you this year and may be you were a bit bored because of that. Your stellar report card made me so proud and I hope the secondary school is challenging enough for you to keep you motivated. You enjoy your piano lessons and the Carnatic music lessons and very soon your digital piano is going to be replaced by an acoustic one. I have no music knowledge to speak of and all I wanted to know was how heavy the damn thing is going to be and how to make place for it in your room. I hope and wish you continue to learn music and enjoy this amazing world. 

Finally you are getting a proper phone with a sim card and I don't know how we managed to stretch it this far. Like I told your sister 4 years back, use it well. It's all downhill from here, I know that now. But its inevitable and I guess I have to accept it. You are lot like me in one aspect and that is to mould ourselves to fit in with other people. I used to feel like a fake sometimes and wonder if I am hiding my true self. But when I look at you, I know its because you genuinely care about people and want to make them comfortable around you. You don't think its weak to show love and kindness. You forgive easily. It's so difficult for parents not to see their own faults when they look at their kids, but a glimpse of strength here and there gives me hope and not succumb to the existential despair of parenting. Happy 13th birthday, Chellamma! Rock your teens!


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