Whatcha got?


Once upon a time a little boy needed help with homework. He ran to his mom and dad asking questions about math or English or social science. Mom or dad helped him figure out his math problem or his English grammar or told him what they remembered about that particular social science question. Invariably and without fail, the little boy turned to his almost six years older sister and asked, “Sahana, is that correct?”

We laughed. Why do you ask us if you need your sister to validate our answers? I believe he asked us out of habit but his full confidence was in his sister. If sister confirmed that the parents were correct, he would accept our answers.

As the boy and girl grew older, there were conflicts. Both of them grew up with their own views on life, society, media and politics. Both of them are independent thinkers (read stubborn). While they agree on basic values like equal rights, social justice, kindness, empathy, honesty, their means to get there sometimes differ. There are arguments, often heated.

I had the opportunity to watch their interactions during this pandemic in close quarters. While bickering still happens and it still drives me insane, I do get a preview of how they will relate to each other as adults. The girl turned 21 and the boy turned 15. They continue to debate policies and political beliefs with the zeal of their convictions. Debates can be still heated and tempers still flare, yet I often hear, “Ok, I see your point. But….”. Lately, I have witnessed more of sharing and laughing though. Often the laughter is directed at their aging parents, but mostly in a good natured and fun way.

I hear, “Ry, I am making pasta for myself, do you want some?”

Or “Sahana, I made popcorn. I left half a bag for you.”

I hear, “Sahana, I can’t find my phone.” And then, the phone is invariably found by sister accompanied by elaborate eye roll and an indulgent, “You dummy!”

It warms my heart to see they often speak the same language – pop culture language.

I hear, “Hey Ryan, did you watch (insert tik tok star name)?” or “Sahana, you gotta see this.”

A few days ago, I overheard a loud broken teen boy voice shouting from his room to his sister.

“Hey Sahana, I have English homework. You gotta help me.”

“I gotta, huh?” She laughs.

Then he saunters over to her room, slouches on her bed:

“Awright, I have to draw a picture between Victorian society and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Whatcha got?

Sahana, despite being in the middle of her homework, smiles and turns around to help.

They are figuring it out. After years of refereeing conflicts between these two, this mama watches from the side line. A warm feeling of love envelopes her as her two favorite humans in the whole wide world come together in their own unique ways.

Checkmate.


Sahana intended to play with his head. One night I eavesdropped on a conversation between the two of them:

Sahana: ‘Ryan, do you realize that this life that you are living now is all a dream of your mentally unstable mind? In reality, you are a patient in a mental asylum and you are dreaming all this?

Ryan was brushing his teeth. The buzz of electric toothbrush stopped as an indignant brain registered this information and then processed it.

‘NO, THIS IS NOT A DREAM!!!’

Sahana: ‘Yes it is. Mom, dad, me you, Sage, none of us exist in your real life. You are dreaming. One day you will wake up and all this is going to be gone. This is an alternate universe which only exists in your dream.’

All of a sudden a loud, angry exclamation from Sahana:

‘WHY DID YOU KICK ME???’

Ryan: ‘I kicked you and you felt it. That proves it is not a dream, you are real.’

Sahana: ‘Nope! You kicked me in your dream. I yelled in your dream. This is all a dream. You are really a mental patient in an asylum!’

Poor Ryan takes after me in gullibility. He semi believed Sahana and pondered over the possibility of his life being an alternate universe existing only in his unstable mind generated dream. Sahana laughed evil laughter – for a while.

Yesterday, after a trip to the library as we were getting back in the car to drive home, Sahana said something that Ryan did not like. And this is what I heard:

‘Sahana, since this is MY universe, I control it, you better watch out. If I don’t like what you are doing in my universe, I will exterminate YOU from here!’

I was walking ahead. I stopped and turned around. Sahana, for once, had nothing to say.

She and I talked about it in the car today as I drove her to practice. She said, ‘That boy!!! He has now turned my theory to his benefit. He now believes he is a pro baseball player dreaming of this life. He will wake up to his real life, go out and play baseball! It is a win, win! I wanted him to believe he was in an asylum!’

I said, ‘You relinquished the power girlfriend. You gave him his universe. He struggled at the concept. Then he made it his own and found peace in it. Now you are redundant!’

She is thinking how to get the power back. For now, it is checkmate!

Never a dull moment 🙂 !