Today you have turned one. I remember last year, I thought I would not be able to see you come into this world but somehow it was destined and I made it. Then there begins the hardest part, leaving you after ten days of your birth. Back then we had not spent much time, I was not attached to you, also it was new for me having a brother who is 21 years younger than me but then again as the days passed I started missing you. I felt something was missing but could not decide was it; I felt a longing I had never felt before
Time passed, my semester ended and there I was back home for winter vacations, those mere 10 days. They were just 10 days, they did not feel like vacations but what I found was a connection with you. You were 5 months old; you had grown so well and no one could get enough of you. You were beautiful, cute, silent and shy. You were different from other babies, our other siblings. Another thing that was astonishing for me was that you had learned, how to hold your own milk bottle, all on your own. I found it so new but also that saddened me because everyone was talking about all the new things you have learned, how you have learned when you have learned. Everyone knew, all the small details about you except me, I knew nothing. I was not ready to come back but the vacations were over and I had to go back.
I did not even realize when the connection built up and how deep it was but now I had a thing for you. I missed you, a lot. I kept on asking for videos of you, what new thing you have learned, what clothes you wore, what hair cut you got, I just could not get enough of it. I wanted to know, everything, I wanted to see everything. I had never felt this thankful to technology; I received your videos smiling, laughing, and doing new things you had learned. I wanted to hold you, feel you, even sometimes I would think how better it would have been if we could touch someone through the phone but that did not seem possible probably not in 2017. I would video call home just to see you spilling your food over your clothes, making faces, crying, laughing, and trying to sit and then fall back.
I pulled through another semester and was excited this time to go home cause I knew what’s there waiting for me. The night before my flight felt so long, it felt like forever, an unbearable one. And then there I was back home excited, the first thing I wanted to see was you but when I reached for you cried and went back to mom, you could crawl now. I felt sad, I rather knew that would happen but I just could not believe that I was that much of a stranger to you. I knew you are my brother but you did not who I was. I just sat there watching you crawl around, throwing stuff, and playing. You were holding on to something, you were trying to get up but it seemed hard. I wanted to help but I knew you would not let me because I was a stranger to you.
Days passed, everyone knew about your likes and dislikes, they knew your language, you knew them, and you both knew what you like about each other. I was just an alien there I knew nothing. I remember the first few days when you would wake up in the morning, you would give me that look ‘when will this person go back’. However, with days I think you just got the idea that I was there for a long time. Nevertheless, for me, it was only one month but this time I knew how to get the best of it. I started spending all the time with you, waiting for you to accept me, I started thinking of ways to get your attention and I am glad I did find them.
We became friends now, you would come to me; I knew what you were asking. Playing your favorite song on my phone or playing your favorite cartoon. When you found sitting next to you, you would climb my lap and put your hands around my neck, which meant you wanted me to pick you up. I learned how to get you to sleep. I was so happy when for the first time you slept in my lap as if I had achieved the highest marks in the final project (well these days marks are sort of everything (Hehe). This time I knew when I leave, I do not want to be Stranger anymore. So since when I came back we have been video calling every then and now. I say all those names I call you with, I sing your favorite poems, you smile and squint your eyes in front of the camera, which means you like them and you do all the new things you had learned after I am back.
It has been two months since I am back but this time at least I know that I am no more of a stranger to you and although I am sad that your memories of me will always be blurry at least you would have them in bits and pieces. I missed all the celebrations and events since your birth but among them, I hate staying away on your birthday the most. I hate that I missed your birthday sitting in my square white-painted hostel room while writing this letter to you. I know that I will miss more of it, I will not be there when everyone would be cheering for you on your new learning when you will learn to walk, talk, your first words; you will have a new name for everyone but except me. It is painful and it will hurt that I have missed everything especially watching you grow up. It scares me that I might miss it again sitting in the same white room apart from you but then again all you need to know is that I love you and I will love you forever.
Link to YouTube video:
An open letter to my one-year-old brother