This cold spell is driving me bat-shit crazy. I’m sitting at the gymkhana, all covered up in a thick shawl and thicker socks. No matter how much coconut-scented body butter I use, my skin is still dry and chapped. Maybe its just me, because the family at the table behind mine, just ordered their first round of drinks – all chilled. I can’t think of anything but piping hot chai. God, if you’re listening, this is Mumbai, not frickin’ Manali. Mumbai has never seen such low temperatures. Apparently, this is the coldest winter in 26 years, and likely to get worse. Who knows, it might even snow. Maybe Pali Hill will be snowed under and we can go skiing down Z slope. Though that will probably be an advanced slope. Newbies can go down from Pali Hill to either Pali Market or Carter Road. Knowing BMC, their contractors will probably leave potholes intact and manholes open, just for laughs. So, one minute, you’re zooming down a slope, and the next minute, PLOP! Down you go! Ha ha ha! When that happens, you can bet your ass, they’ll be waiting around the corner – camera in hand, waiting to record your downfall for posterity. They might even ask for chai-paani just to pull you out.
Ooh, let me not razz them so much, else they might find a reason to shut down my water supply. Chill dude, dil pe mat le!
Quick question, why are guys so threatened by girls with gadgets? Here I am, minding my own business, banging away at my I-pad, and every guy who’s passed by, has slowed down, looked from me to the poor I-pad and stalked off, looking mighty pissed. Grow up guys! The stone age has passed. Today, girls do know how to use machines, maybe because you need brains and not brute force to use them.
Ok, that was my little hissy fit for the day, deep breath in, deep breath out….aaaand I’m cool. I’m a big girl now, according to my Mom. Big girl, but poor struggling stylist. Hey, what’s with the questioning looks? Oh yeah, I forgot to introduce myself. Sorry. The name’s…..not important. After all, what’s in a name? What’s important is ME, never mind what my sister tells you. Suhana, just wanted to remind you that I am, always have been and always will be the most important person on earth. Ha ha.
Suhana’s my younger sister- brat, smart-ass and all round pain in the ass. I swear, Mom and Dad had her just to bug me. She says that I’m responsible for her being the younger one. If I hadn’t been such a dominating freak, she would have come out sooner. I say, she is an ungrateful git! After all, if I was truly dominating, I’d have eaten up all her nutrients, but I didn’t. I SHARED all the goodies with her, that’s why she came out at all. News flash, we’re twins! Still, she was born a good 20 minutes after me – the umbi-whatchamacallit cord got tangled around her neck or something. Thank God for that is what I say. Imagine her being the older one. I’m not being mean when I say that, I’m being honest. If I don’t keep reminding everyone that I’m elder and more dominating than she is, they’d just forget all about me. People, just because she finished medical college and I dropped out after the second year, doesn’t make her a better person. I just had the guts to follow my vocation. The general opinion around here is that if I had found my vocation sooner, I wouldn’t have wasted a medical seat, blah blah blah. Enough already! And Mom, being a stylist DOES count as a vocation.
See, this is what happened. Suhana has always been interested in the workings of the human body, while I always felt that God hid things like blood and bones under so many layers of skin for a reason. The human eye should never be exposed to horrifying sights like bruises, dental cavities and ….. dandruff. At the tender age of eight, we were given identical simple microscopes. Suhana immediately pricked her thumb and slid a drop of blood under a coverslip. After I stopped retching, I traded my microscope for my best friend’s sister’s rhinestone studded glares. Ooh, those pretty pink glares! I miss them.
You know, Mom says I’m too smart for my own good. While I don’t always agree with that, when it comes to studies, it is sadly true. I did all I could to flunk Biology, just to convince my family to let me be. Result – we both topped our college. Its the twin thing, I’m sure. Whatever Suhana studied probably filtered through my brain too. That’s the only way to explain it. After that, nothing I said made a difference. I was bombarded from all sides. Mom and Dad said that I had a duty towards the family. Apparently one doctor wasn’t enough, they wanted a twin set. Our grandmother tried telling me that her poor, innocent Suhana would be eaten alive in college if I wasn’t there to protect her. Right, poor deluded Daadi. Sue is as bechari as a barracuda. The only person who sided with me was my Naani, though I’ve never been sure if it was out of love, or just a desire to bug Daadi.
They have a history. Daadi and Naani were neighbours, and therefore, always competing with each other. For some reason, they really disliked each other. Unfortunately for them, they were members of the same Gymkhana, and Daada and Naana became Rummy buddies. The kids started playing together too. When Dad was twenty three and Mom nineteen, she trounced him at snooker. They fell in love and the rest is history – slightly violent after their mothers found out. Still, their fathers saved the day, and they got married, had us and fulfilled their hearts’ desire by making us join the same medical college.
Sue took to medicine like a fish to water. She was on best terms with all our teachers, so she got extra turns at things like dissection (gag!). I was on best terms with the clerks and peons, so I could bunk classes and practicals without missing attendance. I wanted to quit from day one, but hating dissection wasn’t reason enough for my parents. Beta, its only for the first year, they said. So I just about scraped through the first year, thinking the second would be better. What a joke! We started clinics in the second year. Our first posting was in the Gynaec clinic. I strolled in 15 minutes late, saw the doctor in charge insert one of those speculum thingies into her poor victim, and promptly fainted. That was the beginning of the end. Sue sailed through the second year. I went on hunger strike just before my final exams, overtly fasting, but covertly, feasting. My best friend, Mitali, visited me everyday, with a stash of sandwiches and Tropicana. She’d distract my family, while I ran into the bathroom to pig out. That lasted for three days, and finally my Dad caved. “Poor Mitu will go bankrupt if she has to keep feeding you junk”, he said. Oops….they noticed, and just as I was patting myself on the back for being so smart. Anyway, it worked, so, yay for me!
So, that’s how I got out of the life sentence that was medicine.

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5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Hi Apeksha,

    Thanks for the link. But just an over mu head bouncer for me to.

    Do keep writing and may be one day I will be able to bat.



  2. Hi, Apeksha!
    Completely loved this. What a fun and delightful piece. I like the way you said chai instead of tea. Also, is chai-paani a bribe? In Kenya they call bribes, chai as in a little money for a cup of tea.
    Yeah. the twins are fun. I wanted more.

    Liked by 1 person

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