I remember us quibbling over kaju katli. “More” he called it. It brought an assured smile to his face, always. That was until it got displaced by cheesecake. And then nothing else would suffice. The ecstasy of biting into a creamy cheesecake, oozing with blueberry sauce, was unparalleled in his scheme of things.
I remember him agonizing over the English language and getting traumatized by pronunciations, tenses and adjectives. He often told the mother not to worry about his “comfortability.” He would insist that “fruit” be pronounced “froit” because it made sense no other way. And it was perfectly logical to switch between languages for the lack of knowledge of the appropriate words. (Incidentally, he passed on that trait to me as well.)
I remember him reaching out to hold my hand on a busy street. A reprimand that I didn’t pay him enough attention. And if I happened to take offence at something he said or did, he would admonish me, “See you’re big and I’m small. Some leetle leetle things you should learn to ignore, no. Arre, nothing will happen. Chill.”
He longs to color his hair blue and tie a ribbon around it. The world looks more enticing over the rim of a wine glass. But he is willing to make do with Red Bull and Gatorade for a while. He talks of a time of when he was small. He consoles me with his favorite adage, “Never matter,” when he means “Doesn’t matter.”
He is eager to grow up, gulp some coffee every morning and rush to work , armed with a briefcase, just like his daddy. He is anxious to grow up. To join a world where you could watch mindless hours of television and not get reprimanded by the mother or the grandmother. To not have to justify late-night BBMs with friends. To be a master of his own time and money.
He looked forward to teaching me to how to operate a laptop and connect to the Internet with a dongle. He expected me to sympathize with his academic travails. He hoped we’d hang out together more often than we did.
We spar often. With words, blows and dessert. But he makes my world go round. Seeing him always makes me smile. Talking about him always cheers me up. And his gaffes always delight me. I could spend a lifetime recounting those. He gets scandalized when I call him an “item.” He wishes for a time I will stop calling him a sardarji.
But I look forward to a time when we can talk as buddies. To overlook the years between us. To gossip and chit-chat about the sundry. I’m eager to know what he thinks of the world at large. Whose thoughts keep him up at night? What are his deepest fears? What is his opinion of the last flick he caught on TV, besides it being awesome and nice? I want to pry beneath that goofy grin. I want to know what really annoys him. I want to know what makes him ecstatic (apart from cheesecake, that is). I want to know what makes him, him.