Thinking Of You On Your Birthday, Bhaiyya

My favourite cousin is 10 years older than me. The oldest child in our family

My favourite cousin shaped me growing up. He was So. Damn. Cool. Full of laughter & happiness, he was.. infectious

He introduced me to Dylan

He read me  Keats, Wordsworth, Vikram Seth

He got me Dostoevsky, Chekov, J.Krishnamurti, Ruskin Bond from the library

He taught me to strum the guitar

He shaved his head. And cut my hair short (that was so much fun!)

He allowed me to learn An American Prayer by heart while he was doing the same

My favourite cousin was a brill.i.ant dancer

Every nubile girl in their city’s la-di-dah club had her knickers in a twist if he wasn’t dancing with her

My favourite cousin was his school’s Headboy

He was suspended briefly after an altercation with the headmaster when “The damn authorities tried to stop a legit students’ protest”

My favourite cousin had Bruce Lee and Brooke Shields posters in his room; his room a disconnected servants’ quarter he occupied, the only room he considered his own

My favourite cousin was a national level tennis player. He loved the game

His little cousin always wondered why he wasn’t encouraged to pursue it seriously

My favourite cousin wanted to study Japanese at JNU

My favourite aunt and uncle wouldn’t allow it. “Science!” they insisted. “You have the marks

My favourite cousin fell in love

“We are Bengalis” said the girl’s parents. “Very different from you people”

They got his girlfriend married to a Bengali boy

My favourite cousin turned a Christian,

Then, a Buddhist

Then, an Atheist


Something disconnected, somewhere.


My favourite cousin did not feel loved or understoodHe never felt whole

My favourite cousin swallowed pills. Lots of them

My mother found him in his room that day. Listless. I saw him too

My favourite cousin was saved, just in the nick of time

And sent away to a university in UK recover.

My favourite cousin studied environmental economics, became an authority on organic and sustainable agriculture

He became a scholar of ecological and environmental issues of Himalayan region

My favourite cousin now however, could not sustain any relationship

He barely spoke to his parents

He divorced his beautiful, loving Hungarian wife

He divorced his Nepali-daughter-of-a-watchman-second-wife-of-few-months. She staked a claim on his assets. Thankfully, he won in court

He had several meaningless liaisons

My favourite cousin has had multiple breakdowns over the last decade. Doctors say he has schizophrenia, occasionally paranoia

He doesn’t take his medication regularly

He’s very lucid most times

And incoherent sometimes

He can be the most knowledgable, witty, amazing, fun person in the room

He can also be the person who sits in a room for hours but just doesn’t speak

He loves me

He loves me not

It’s all such an ebb and flow

But mostly, it’s all such a waste

Of a sensitive, kind, talented, loving human being

My favourite cousin


3 thoughts on “Thinking Of You On Your Birthday, Bhaiyya

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