'Aahhs' and ‘Ooohs’
by Chandroo D.
My one and only wife is the third of six children in her family.
All the siblings share a WhatsApp group and communicate with each other every few days. I asked her one day, 'Isn't it nice to have so many sisters and a brother to get along with". She shrugged and did not realize any difference probably I have always been around her. But surely it has some good safe feeling and assurance to know that if you need to talk privately and get advice or a family gossip information.
During July, while I happened to be in Singapore, the siblings had a private discussion and agreed to get together for a reunion in Singapore. One and only brother (youngest) and one sister (eldest) could not make it due to prior engagement. Two sisters agreed to join. Sister number 4 from Puerto Rico and sister number 5 from Pune. Sadly missing was sister number 2 who passed away a few years ago.
For one week, I happen to see the love around the 3 sisters when they all finally met up in Singapore.
Of course they were all aware that they were living in a time bubble and were on their best behaviour. Being on a holiday in Singapore, it helped that they were in a neutral territory where everything was new, wonderful and adventurous. They were tied down and nothing else to do but focus on one another. One week was just right enough to cherish the moments of a reunion and another week they might have started getting on one another's nerves.
A few years ago when they did meet up in Hong Kong, I wrote an article about them and those days they were young, bubbly and active. However, during this reunion, I noticed that they had all mellowed down and were grunting 'Aahhs' and ‘Ooohs’. Not the sexy sounds when they were young and in love but painful ones whenever they entered my car, sat on a sofa or did some tedious work. I guess ageing brings about such sounds and I realized that they required some TLC when moving around with them. There where times, that either the shoes or the knee pads were tight and painful. While out shopping or sight seeing, they always managed to find transit seating nearby to rest up before moving again. Golden girls or Senior Citizens would be the right description of them at this stage.
Once after a day's trip to the Universal Studios, Ms Puerto Rico and Ms Pune came back complaining about the heat, humidity and tired feet. My wife instantly came to rescue and arranged a large tub filled with warm water and Epson salt to soak their feet and soothe away their fatigue. It was a hilarious sight to view as they both sat on a sofa with four feet sharing the tub together. On the contrary, If I had to complain tiredness, I would get a simple response, 'take a shower honey'. This definitely gives a meaning to why blood (sisters) is thicker than water (me).
Most of the days, when not outing, they would sit by the TV cuddled up and watch their favourite soap operas and comment on some scenes. It was common to hear their commentaries… “mad guy… how ignorant can he be”, “beat the hell out of him”, “what a terrible mother in law" and so forth.
Discussions during meals would be mostly comparing recipes and the dishes they prefer or abhor. Surprisingly, none of them made any effort to cook up a dish. Thanks to our helper we brought down from Hong Kong who cooked and ensured that we were all well fed.
Best of all was, when they went down memory lane and reminisced about the days when they were young and the pranks they played on each other. Many secrets were revealed with laughter. Just to see them teasing and annoying each other just as they did when young, once in a while, made me smile discreetly. Occasionally they would whisper to each other, aware that I was listening and writing about them.
With all the excitement daily, when the lights were switched off I wonder if they felt a wonderful feeling knowing that the people closest and dearest to them were safe and under one roof. Because they live in different parts of the world, there was no telling when they would meet up once again. Life is always unpredictable.
There were sad moments, without tears, when the reunion came to an end and they had to return to their separate lives. But I am sure they went happier than when they arrived because they were filled with love and now carried shared memories that would stay with them forever.