It’s Dhruv’s birthday tomorrow.
I remember seeing him on his first day on earth. He was so tiny and pink.
I didn’t know then that he and I were going to be best friends.
Growing up, we were quite different. I used to be the least demanding kid on the block and Dhruv wanted everything big and garish and shiny. He bunked school with Shawn when he was in class 2. Shawn was in class 12. I never bunked school. …. Ever.
I guess we’ve always been polar opposites. Even though the poles have switched places.
I now make my ‘I deserve this for my birthday’ list in June. My birthday falls in January whereas Dhruv never wants anything.
I’m writing this, because I was driving back home today and he and I were discussing what we should do tomorrow. Lunch, dinner? Movie? Lonavla? And when I hung up, I realised that my kid brother was going to be 28. That’s a big deal. Because he’s actually only 4. Here’s some dope on him.
No one makes me laugh harder than Dhruv trying to prove a point.
Like today –
Dhruv – “So maybe after lunch we can go for coffee to Le Pain Quotient”
Juhi – “Quotidien, you gavaar.”
Dhruv – “Quotidien. It’s French. I’m not gavaar.”
Juhi – “Yes you are.”
Dhruv – “Would you call a French a gavaar if he mispronounced ‘Bademiya’?”
Juhi – “aaahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha.”
Dhruv – “Elitist fake Indian is what you are.”
Earlier, before he got verbose, things used to be a bit different.
We used to settle things with violence.
I don’t remember the argument, but I remember punching him real hard and I was holding him by his hair when he stabbed me with a compass on my thigh. And then we heard the usual from downstairs – “JUHI DHRUV, ENOUGH! GET BACK IN YOUR ROOMS. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU ARE MY CHILDREN!!!” The mother had heard our war cries.
We’ve always been a team of horrors. I remember once in Assam, there was a road being built in front of our house and Dhruv made a ball of the semi solid coal tar and put it in his pocket. That eventually solidified and formed a road in his jeans. And for some strange reason we thought that our mother might kill us if she found out. So we got some kerosene and burnt the jeans in our kitchen garden. I felt so grown up to have master minded this operation. And Dhruv was my slave for a few weeks.
And then of course was the regular stuff. Failing in class, trying to thug our parents, being caught and putting the blame on the other sibling, not talking for whatever reason for months (in Dhruv’s case this lasted quite a while. He was 16 or 17 when he realised we were beneath him and was monosyllabic for a year), slyly taking the car out at night, crashing it, lying constantly….
And then, we grew up. Got jobs. Became adults.
But only to the world.
I can channel my core idiot around Dhruv. And he can do the same around me. And that’s what makes this big bad world seem absolutely ok.
He’s always got my back and has always given me the most sane advice and kept me in check every time I faltered. He’s the funniest person I know and answers all my ‘I’m going out tonight, how do I look?’ questions with ‘like an asshole.’
He only gives me a 100 bucks on rakshabandhan, but will endure a 16hour bus ride just to come see me on that day for a few hours. He has the wisdom of a zen master and the immaturity of a kitten. And he has the most gentle soul ever.
That early morning on the 15th of September 1983 changed my life.
Here’s looking at you, kid. Happy Birthday!