My kid sister called me up at 9AM on a Tuesday and said, “I have called to tell you that I make way better pancakes than you do. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Om, he is sitting right next to me. He tells me that back in Kota when you made blueberry pancakes, they tasted like uncooked rotis. But he still ate them, because he was really hungry. Now I will go and watch TV.” Then she hung up. Just like that. No customary greetings or goodbyes. Om, the person in the monologue above, is my kid brother. Quite a few of our conversations are like that. We have meaningful and deep discussions a lot of times, where we talk about physics and medicine and the meaning of life. Then there are times when she delivers monologues like these.
My sister is a medical student, 3rd year, I think. I am never sure about what year she is in and that doesn’t sound too good, considering I am her older sister. But it is not my fault, whenever I ask her, “ What year you are in?”, she gives me a very complicated answer, “I am in my first fourth” or something like that. Now what is that even supposed to mean? At first I thought it was a thing with medical colleges, they just were complex and were not made to be understood by commoners outside. But then my brother got into a medical college too. When I ask him what year he is in, he gives me a straight answer, “First year” or “Second Year”. My sister never does.
Anyway, she is a medical student studying in a top tier college. She is a damn smart kid. She could have become anything she wanted, but she really likes the idea of being a doctor, so she chose medicine. Even though she is still studying and has some 100 years left before she graduates ( Medical degrees in India are really long ), she acts and talks like a doctor already. When I have a cold and tell her, she starts explaining me in a very serious tone, “Yes, I can understand the condition. It is very typical and is caused by the bacteria azymatosidafregtsis ( some random name ). Take a medicine which has 100ml of Mecthylakarpone and 320 ml of Somatosisterime, twice a day and you will be fine.” I then tell her, “Umm, Pallavi, I have a cold. I think a crocin will fix it. But thanks for explaining things.”
She is a also great cook, her food tastes better than what most restaurants could ever serve. Because she is bestowed with the art of cooking, she fancies herself as a connoisseur of fine food. The other day we went to this elite coffee shop. She ordered some random coffee with a fancy name and I ordered a frappe ( I stick to my regular choices, being a commoner ). When the coffee was served, she picked up the cup delicately and slowly whiffed the aroma, made a serious face and said, “This coffee exudes quality and sophistication. I can get hints of dates, cherry and vanilla, with a lingering aroma of bittersweet chocolate and caramel undertones in the finish”, and then went on to sip it slowly. When she asked me how my coffee was, I said, “It’s good.”
When we were young, she used to play a game called Cooking-Time where she and my brother pretended to be expert chefs. They used flowers, leaves and some more random stuff as ingredients (some times they used paper too ) and then fed it to our dad. He was always the guest, mainly because my mother wouldn’t eat inedible things. But my dad is a really nice guy and he didn’t want to break his kids’ hearts, so he always ate the inedible stuff they made. My sister uses real ingredients these days though, things change when you grow up I guess.
She called me up again yesterday and said, “I don’t think you ever played with us. You never participated in Cooking-Time. Why was that? In fact I don’t really remember what you did when you were young. I think you read a lot of books, even though I don’t remember that either. You read a lot now, so I am speculating that you read a lot when you were a kid. By the way, I will be in Mumbai next week, you have to take me to some good dining spots. Now I will go to library” and she hung up. I was about to remind that I did play a lot of games with them, probably the next time I call I will tell her that, I thought and got busy with my work.