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But how do we split
The sky into halves,
My half and your half, when-
You don’t live
All that far away?
When all this sky,
All of it is yours,
As it is mine,
When I can open my window.

If I needed no roof above my head
I needed? Do I need a roof above my head?
If I had no roof above my head,
The sky would be mine, all night,
All morning, from dawn, all mine,
Like all the wind and all the rain,
And thunder and clouds and lightning-
You know it? How it feels,
To have all the sky?
For you have it,
And you may have taken it for granted.

Half the sky is a famous catchphrase (I suppose that is the right word) of the feminist movement, one I have always felt uncomfortable in the face of.

I had once written a poem, for one of my first crushes, which started with ‘You are my sky’. Someone told me it was a corny line, but he hadn’t read the full poem. It was a good one, that poem. My parents discovered it and made me burn it, along with many other such stuff, letters, half finished stories, poems, diaries…


October is about my sister’s birthday.

She was born on the 9th of October, in 1987.

I was barely four then, and I remember bragging to my countless cousins about how I was going to have a sister of my own. Not a cousin or anything, but my very own sister. I wish I were older, so I could have remembered seeing her first. She must have been a little red bundle, in a white wrapper, all tiny and wrinkled, with soft pink hands, and tiny fingers which closed on yours if you touched her palm. Of her early days, a lot of people tell me a lot of things, but I can’t remember anything. Just one embarrassing episode, (I never forget embarrassments…) where I asked a guest why they hadn’t brought any gifts for the new baby, and was hauled up by my parents and lectured to. 🙂

My first memories of her include being poked in the eye and being woken up by a sweet little voice calling me “Jayee, Jayee…” baby talk for ‘Chechi’, elder sister. I remember her wandering out of the garden after goats and cows. She still loves all kinds of animals.

I remember the three year old impatiently waiting for the day she’d go to school like me. I remember the four year old reluctantly waking up and asking me “Chechi! Do we have to go to school today, Chechi?”
She turns seventeen this Saturday. But she’s still my baby. (That’s partly why I call her AB, her initials.) When I see school children in pinafores and ribbons in their hair trot by carrying slates and slate pencils, I still look for her among them. I still haven’t got used to the fact that the lanky teenager who rides her cycle to the gate and rings the bell for me to come and open it for her is the same girl who played ‘fairyland’ games with me.

She is quite grown up now, in a number of ways. But at times she is so much a child that I feel sad we expect her to grow up. I feel sorry she has to start making decisions, choose a profession, start working hard for whatever she wants, when she knows nothing of what life will be like. I feel mad at the ugly world outside, because my innocent little girl will have to go out and meet it. I wish she would always remain my baby, and I could hold her hand and walk her to school, wake her up to go out and play, make her eat when she fusses over food, make up silly stories to tell her at night, and go to sleep after her, hoping she wakes up in a world where she won’t know a care…

We all grow up and grow apart, and when I see grown ups and their siblings, seperated by time, space and life, I hope and pray it never happens to my AB and me…

October 2004
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