There’s a Bow on This Blog Post – by Hetal

Saved the best guest post for last! BTW – who knew that these guest bloggers would write about me?? Had I known earlier, this would be a regular thing. Seriously. Anyway – here’s my little, bitty sister’s post…my basic take-away from this was that I taught her everything she knows….so…..anyway….enjoy!

I spent some time this past weekend thinking about what
to get Neha for her birthday.

But “itty bitty sister,” you may be thinking, Neha’s
birthday was last week. I know, okay? Sheesh. We’re all doing the best we can
out here.

Anyway, my presents to her have varied in years in form
and function. Some years I really knock it out of the park–I get texts from
her on a later date about how much she loves the thing I got her. Some years I
get her a card sometime in June. I wonder if she notices how inconsistent I am
(that’s a lie–I know she does).

Although it may seem to her that I simply forgot to get
her anything, the years I showed up with nothing really meant that I spent
painstaking hours thinking about what to get her, got angry, and finally gave
up. Is there a way to bottle up that trauma and put a bow on it? Because that
shit should count for something.

Unlike many of the people I buy books for, Neha actually
likes to read, so when I heard an interview with an Indian American cookbook
author who had a new book coming out, I tucked it away. Then, over the weekend,
a food blogger I know she also follows on Instagram posted about the book. She
raved over it, featured several pages and recipes, and I thought, damn it.
Because even though I didn’t ask her, I know Neha saw it. And tucked it away. I
know that cookbook is being Amazon Primed to her house as we speak, and that
there is a 60% chance that I’ll be unwrapping it for my birthday this month.

Because that’s the thing. If you’ve ever met me, you’ve
probably thought about how different I am from Neha. And you’re right in a lot
of ways. We’re over a decade apart in age, chose very different career paths,
and kinda different life paths. Neha left for New York City when I was six, and
really didn’t look back. I don’t blame her. In fact, as someone who spends her
days with countless 18-22 year olds, I’m impressed at her bravery and
independence at that age. You’ve probably heard some of her wacky stories from
college. I’ve heard them all at least twice. And the truth is, I could never
have done half those things.

She also knows way more than I do about the important
things in life: makeup, wine, and reality tv.

But in other ways, we’re weirdly similar. Same sarcastic
humor. Same love for food. Once we showed up with the same-ish housewarming
gift for our cousin Sweta and her hubby Wendell. For a while we had the exact
same iPhone case–bought separately. I know what Neha is thinking right now:
she’s thinking that these ways we’re similar–that’s me taking after her. I’ve
wondered about that myself over the years, though I’d never admit it to her
face. Has she really had that much of an influence on me? Maybe, maybe not. But
if saying so gets me out of having to think about her birthday present anymore,
well, pass the bow, please.

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