Letter from an aunt to her future niece.

Dear Pudina,
Yes, I named you pudina. Your mother was totally against it, but I was determined to name you pudina even before you were conceived, before your mother met your father. It was one saturday morning when I was forcefully dragged into the kitchen, obviously by your mother, to help her cook lunch. Because of my exceptionally great cooking skills she assigned me duties like put on the gas stove, take out the hawk from the drawer or ingredients from refrigerator, fill up the water filter and then the water bottles, wash and chop vegetables. Somedays, when luck favoured, I even got to stir the curry and cook rice. Who can blame her? After my charcoal-burnt teriyaki chicken, salt-water like bland vegetable curry, rock-solid chapatis, not-at-all cooked gnocchi and several other inedible experiments that I came up with(Not going to name them all, it’s a huge list) I have given her plenty of reasons to keep me away from cooking.

Coming back to that saturday morning, that day I was assigned the job of washing and chopping pudina. Then it got me wondering,’why don’t we name kids after food?’. I think there is just one name I have ever heard, named after the fruit, chikoo. And then that Saturday morning became the great historic moment when I decided I would name you pudina! Trust me it is far better than what your mother had named me, when we were kids playing the classic Ghar-Ghar game. She had name me Baesoni. Let me decipher Baesoni for your. Baesoni, the root word is besan. Besan as in the gram flour, which is pronounced as baeson in bengali accent( she picked it up from my mother). Baeson became Baesoni because I was a girl (feminine noun in hindi). To me it sounded more like the name of kaam-wali-bai(house maid), which was her pun, but I was too dumb to protest or come up with an alternative cool name.

I never wanted a younger sibling only because I was afraid of losing mom, dad and your mother’s attention. By the time I was born(the last person to be born among my cousins), all hearts were already occupied, almost everyone had their favorites. I was constantly ignored and last one to be picked among my cousins whenever they were playing or were going out, or someone who was never paid any importance among my aunts and uncles, and another grandchild for my grandparent. So for me, mom, dad and your mother meant my world. Hence the thought of an accidental love child of my parents kept me awake at night sometimes, not the noises, never the noises(not sure if there were any), until my mom hit her menopause. But now, I think I am ready to give up this attention for you. More importantly I am ready to give my attention to you.

Often I have envied my friends who had a niece or a nephew. I too want to watch you grow, plot plans with you to take revenge on your mother, let you judge the guy I will be dating, tell you stories that your mother wouldn’t, make pinky promises and keep them, take you for a ride before sunrise and watch you yawn after the sunrise, make sand castles on the beaches, take you to all the places where past memories still haunt me so that we can make new and better ones together. Oh you cute little mushkin, the world out here can be tough sometimes. Tough enough to make you want to fly away with wings, or sail away to the paradise of an afterlife. But we choose to stay because we have little bottle of magical jars of happiness. And for me you’ll be one of them. Someday, One day!

With Love,
(your aunt)


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