~ 82 weeks to my 'Tees' (30th) ~
Hard to believe that a week ago, my younger brother turned 25!
We reminisced about some really fun times, growing up (had even written a blog post about sibling love some years ago). It was a wonderful week of celebration and quality time with the family.
We traveled together from Bangalore to Kochi, and drove down to Alleppey, to meet our paternal grandma (our only living grandparent). There was a special prayer, booked at the temple - following which we had lovely temple food for lunch, off banana leaves. The Kerala heat got to us soon enough and Ayaan was roaming around semi-naked, playing around with sand, while Prantik and Rohit indulged in some post-prandial afternoon siesta under the fan. We also caught up with some cousins, aunts and uncles, before flying back to Bangalore the same night.
Next day, off we were on our roadtrip to Coorg, Karnataka. This was part of the 5-gift series planned for Rohit's 5(square)=25th birthday. As the brother loves to go on long drives, a roadtrip with the family had to feature! We drove via Mysore and stopped over at the beautiful palace for a quick visit - the beautifully carved pillars and life-like paintings adorning the walls had us in awe. I especially love the road and scenery as we approach Coorg - with tall green trees and cool fresh air. We sang along to Gully Boy songs and even listened to Rohit's latest music compositions, as we made our way to the resort nestled amidst coffee plantations.
We checked into our rooms at the Club Mahindra-Virajpet and were greeted with some delicious iced black coffee at welcome. Once there, we freshened up and were off our buffet dinners, chatting away to glory. At the strike of the midnight hour, we rang in the not-so-little brother's 25th birthday, with some sweet bubbly Moscato in hand.
The agenda for the trip was to just relax and spend some good time together - we played sports (Table tennis, Badminton, Billiards) together, took dips in the pool, created fun Boomerang videos with us diving in, went for a much-awaited spa retreat, and as planned, on getting back from the massage, Rohit walked into a room decorated for his birthday - full with balloons, flower petals, towel art and a cake - Ayaan had all day been looking forward to eating 'Rohit Mamu's cake' :D Ayaan blew the candles and helped his uncle cut the cake (and eat most of it too) I had also made a video montage of Rohit's pictures through the last quarter of a century, with 'Bittersweet' (a D's Kitchen original) playing in the background - sitting back, watching and rewatching the compilation with the folks was indeed heart-warming.
(In the pic - feature 2 other gifts - the new Chelsea jersey and the Ukulele)
Birthday dinner was at Coorgenburg, where we enjoyed dinner over some fabulous local drinks - I especially enjoyed the Kodagu Coffee Martini. We called it a day, after playing a few rounds of cards and getting Ro to recollect what each of the 'AEIOU' (5 gifts for his 5 (square) birthday) in his gift series stands for ;)
One of the mornings, we, the trio, also braved ourselves for some adventure sports - adrenaline junkies, we strapped on our safety harnesses and were all set for the 12 hurdles. It was an enjoyable, memorable experience for sure, interspersed with a lot of laughter and large beads of sweat too ;)
Soon enough, we were headed back to Bangalore. We enjoyed the countryside and indulged in roadside treats from time to time: sugarcane juice, tender coconut water, raw mangoes, ripe guavas with chilli powder, 'chaat' and such! The next 24 hours, were spent in a blur, catching up with some of my dear college friends and some extended family in Bangalore - namely Ayaan's aunt, uncles, grandaunts, granduncles, and two of my late grandma's sisters, his great-grandaunts. Nothing pleases the heart more than people with whom it seems like one's soul has a connection with, one that transcends time - so even if we scarcely meet, the smiles are genuine and the hugs, a tad bit longer.
The focus of this blogpost however isn't the roadtrip and all, but the brother himself.
Over the years, it seems like not only has he grown taller than I, but also probably more mature :D
We've moved from remote TV controller fights, to conspiring for parent's surprise gifts together, from hitting each other to hugging each other, from arguing who the parents' favourite is to both showering love on the newest little member of the family, from discussing about which pizza to order to making travel plans together, from flipping the coin over who gets the last piece of mom's chocolate cake to pretending like we don't want it so the other one can have it, from being not so chatty to being each other's sounding boards & confidantes - life has indeed even given me a close friend (with whom I share some genes too) and I couldn't be more grateful. While it has been heart-warming to see the 'uncle' side of him, to see him as a gentleman has made me prouder. He's a good, goofy friend and would go to great lengths to help his friends and they, for him. He has a kind, compassionate heart and one that knows to respect women and value them for who they are. It's no wonder then he's a favourite amongst the ladies;) and the fact that he's an amazing rockstar also wins him points obviously. He's been an asset to his company, till date and he'll continue to work right until it's time to fly off, to foreign lands to pursue higher studies. To see him grow such, makes a part of me, all emotional and teary-eyed, and the other part burst with joy and pride, beyond description by mere words. So, while the roadtrip was a celebration in a cross-section of time, it was in fact, to honour this wonderful soul, born one balmy March evening, who over the last 25 years has become a force to reckon with. Love you more than you'll ever know, bro. More power to you!