Today’s post is about a very special person. The person who first taught me lessons about unconditional love. The one who bowled me over with her toothless smiles, cuddles, and kisses. My gorgeous niece.
She turns fifteen today. Like any mad teen, she troubles us with her tantrums and teases us as being ancient because of our ignorance about the world in general. Don't you recognize her favorite sports star or movie star? You are doomed. You will face a very condescending individual if you tell her that you don’t like ice creams/chocolates or chicken! You will be labeled as weird.
During my final year of engineering, I had enough distractions. The major one was the presence of a tiny angel who demanded to be carried around all the time. She wanted to roam everywhere perched on my hips. I was her favorite person in the world till her mom arrived home. At that moment she would declare , “I don’t like Annie at all.” She transformed into a veritable monster if her needs were not met. I was even jealous of her for a while. Until her arrival, I was the youngest and most pampered in the family. But her sweet smiles and baby talk conquered us all. She was and is still the star in our family. I love her like my own daughter.
She liked to call everyone by the special names she had selected for us. I was christened ‘Annie’; she was to be called Unnu. The pet name Minnu which I had selected lovingly for her was quickly conferred on her doll. Her mother became Unnuamma, father was Unnuacha, and Grandparents were Unnuachacha and Unnuammamma. My brother Sunil became chunnammamma. My cousins Soumyan became Cho mama, Suvarna became Chuchi and Swapna became Choppechi for a long time.
All the others lost their special names once she grew up but I am still Annie. Like all nieces, she inherits all her mad traits from me. My sister blames me for it all. After all, I was her first guru. She is into sports just like me. She is a better athlete and has won several medals at the state level in long distance running. She is my go-to guide about the latest in the world of youngsters. She tells me outright what is hip and what is not! She orders me to change my Facebook profile picture if it is not good enough. She raids her mother’s cupboards looking for hidden treasures just like me. And her cupboards are a mess just like mine used to be. Like me, she also loves music, crochet, and craft. But unlike me, she is independent and strong. She tries her hand at cooking and is the inventor of the tasty bread crumb snack which is the favorite of my son.
My son absolutely adores his Unnechi and tells me every now and then how much he misses his big sister. He remembers fondly the fun times they spent together and whenever we visit any new place, he wants to revisit with Unnechi when she comes for vacation. When they both are together, my house becomes a mess within minutes. They give me headaches of the highest order. They are fiercely protective of each other and would cry when they had to go separate ways once the vacation came to an end.
The post has become long and now she will shout at me for making such a big fuss of it all!
Dearest Ishita aka Unnu, know that you are loved by all of us. We all are proud of the person you have turned into. You are unique; there is only one you in this entire word. Follow your passion. The world is your universe and you are the brightest star. You have the best smile in the world. Chase your dreams. Let nothing come in your way. We know you can do it!