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April 27, 2022


 Dearest Ashu,

17. One year short of a legal adult. Just one more year of childhood. Give me a moment here to contemplate my life. …… Fine. Lets move on. This year has gone by in a blink and I am not sure it sunk in that you are 16 yet before another birthday has zoomed in. Whats the rush? School has consumed your life and whatever time is left over, we either ignore each other or quarrel. As soon as you open your mouth, I see disrespect and cynicism. And when I do, you see anger and disappointmentl. Match made in heaven, that’s us. If not for your father and sister, I wonder how anything would get resolved between us. They both are the solid rocks to our tidal waves and I hope you appreciate them for all they do for us. I analyse my behavior constantly and feel regret and guilt and like a colossal failure as a parent.  I would die for you without a second thought and at the same time, can’t bring myself to be more patient with you. What is it that is wrong with me? Nothing in particular but everything in general, you might say! Yes, I see my faults in you. At the same time, you are also the favorite part of me.

You have such a morbid sense of humor and a healthy dose of pessimism. Deadly combo, that. You should come with a warning! This one time we were discussing the point of life and your sister who has nt yet been disillusioned with life by high school was giving me quite a peppy answer while you commented, “there’s no point. we are dead already". And I turned to Antu and said, “Please hit me in my head if I ever ask her anything anymore” and without missing a beat you quipped, “Can I do it for her?” Ha. Ha. Ha. I was making a photo album for your grandparents a few months back and under the family photo, I had written “Putting the fun in Dysfunctional” and thought that was quite witty. Until you came back from school and commented, “More like putting the fun in Funeral”! I rest my case. 

We had such fun having a family reunion at our place in October and after the pandemic panic, it was so nice to see you and Antu with your grandparents, aunt and uncle. We have not been out of Swiss in the last 3 years and finally bit the bullet and traveled to Sicily earlier this month and we had a fantastic time. I will never ever take travel for granted again. Nor should you. You have grown leaps and bounds in the cooking and baking area. Being a total perfectionist helps. But at the same time, be kind to yourself too when something does nt go your way. Be patient and don’t give up easily.  You take fantastic photos but hate it when I take pics of you. You love to cook but eat very less. You like school but are a grumpy bear on weekdays. You are a bunch of contradictions and a riddle wrapped in a mystery and as you grow older and older, I feel I know you lesser and lesser. Guess, that’s every parents journey and I hope I have the grace and dignity to accept it. Give me time.

The only time we bond is when we watch TV. And we have been doing that quite a lot this year as you are interested in all kinds of movies and shows now. More so than before. You nagged me and Antu to watch the Avengers movies with you if we want to watch the new Spiderman and Doctor Strange movie and after some initial resistance from me, we did a marathon for 10 days straight and watched that many movies and by the time I watched Endgame, a fangirl was born. (Black Widow is your favorite Avenger. Captain America is mine!) WandaVision followed next and now I am hooked. We watched Secrets of Dumbledore recently and were collectively disappointed. Even though for completely different reasons. (Give me more Grindeldore!) Nothing like art and entertainment to bring people together. One day, I will be able to wish you a happy birthday without choking on my own heart but that day is not today.  Happy 17th Birthday, Kannamma! I love you 3000.

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