Thank heaven for little girls

I was never close to Cyra. Not like I was with Rishan. That had more to do with their personalities and how much time I spent with them. I have consistently spent time with Rishan as a baby to Rishan as a 12 year old - rocking him to sleep; playing with him; reading to him; carrying him around; making up ridiculous stories and games with him; going out for movies; celebrating his birthdays with him and much more. He was always outgoing and gregarious. Cyra on the other hand would smile and play a bit, but cling to her parents. So there was some playing and some time spent together in her infancy, but she never really took to me like Rishan did.  We'd all go out as a group but she wasn't one for any 1-on-1 time.

It's only in the last three years that we became closer. Perhaps it was Rishan being away in Vienna or me spending more time at my sister's each weekend, but I now very much enjoy this little cheeky chops who hangs out with me more. She speaks her mind, has firm opinions about everything from dessert to fashion to art; is good at pretty much anything she tries but couldn't be bothered/pressured to pursue any of those things long term; loves dimsum and donuts; and is hugely confident about natural bodily processes.

We have the most ridiculous conversations about bangs, bed wetting, dance steps, fashion, chess, spelling, math and more. I learn so much from her.

Inhibitions are just baggage:

Cyra (walking in looking pleased): I wet my pants
Me: Oh no, what happened?
Cyra: Just did it. Was too busy playing!
Me: Well you should've stopped and gone to the loo
Cyra: But I was too caught up. Was too late.
Me: Well stop next time and give yourself some time to get a loo!
Cyra: It happens sometimes. No big deal. Sometimes at night when I'm sleeping...
Me: Don't lie. You haven't wet your bed in ages.
Cyra: Sometimes. I think it's because I have a hole in my pyjamas
Me: That's not how it works.
Cyra: Of course it does
Me: Stop wearing pyjamas with holes then
Cyra: It's not a big deal. Happens to everyone!

Patience is a virtue:

Despite this ridiculous conversation below, she will keep trying to get Siddharth to understand (even
though both of them know it's a joke)

Cyra: so we were caught in a jam
Sid: I do love jam
Cyra: No, not that jam, a different type of jam!
Sid: I know I know, there are different jams - was it strawberry?
Cyra: Noooo, like at a red light
Sid: Yes red like strawberry jam, makes sense.
Cyra: oh no no! You know when lots of cars are stuck together, then you're in a jam
Sid: of course! Jam is sticky, you're bound to get stuck
Cyra holds head in hands: Reem, he knows nothing!

You can do that?

A few years ago Shaheen was once trying to explain what being gay meant to Rishan. He stopped her in her tracks and said "I already know, ok". Cyra looked up curiously and asked, "What does it mean?" Rishan explained, "You know, when boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls". Cyra was amazed at this! "Mamma, that can happen? I want to marry a girl"!

Bless her heart

The choir I sing with is off on a tour of the UK soon and because it is quite an expensive trip, we started a crowdfunding campaign to help with some of the expenses. Cyra watched while I was setting up the campaign online and asked me what I was doing. I explained it to her and she listened solemnly. "So people will give you money?" I nodded, "Well we hope so." She kept staring at the screen, "So how much do people give?" I shrugged, "Oh they can give anything. As little as 2 rupees also!" She laughed at this and then switched back to solemn, "So you are going to the UK as well?" I nodded. She kept watching me and then lost interest, wandering off to the bedroom. A few minutes later she emerged, leaping back on to the sofa next to me. "Here. This is 30 bucks. Add it to your money for your choir". I started laughing, "Where did you get that from?" She tossed her head and waved her hand, "Oh,you want to go to the UK and I want to help the choir. I have a lot of bucks. Full 100! If you want more I can give you. Do you?" I pushed her money back, shaking my head and told her to keep it. But she was very insistent, "So how do I put the money into the computer?" she asked, trying to push the notes into the screen, willing it to be absorbed. After much arguing, I told her I would put it in on her behalf. She agreed, but only after wagging her finger sternly at me, "But you better take the money from me ok. Don't just transfer it and not take it". After a few hours she came to check on the campaign and saw a few thousand had already come in. "How much?", she asked. I checked and told her that it was Rs. 7,000 at the time. She shook her head, "Nope, it's 7000 plus thirtyyy bucks!".

Grossest is the best!

If it farts, burps or pukes, Cyra loves it! I gifted her a book at Christmas about the most disgusting
children in the world (can't remember the title, but it was close enough) and Shaheen and my mom ticked me off for giving her such a horrid book. From toe jam to boogers to loud and smelly explosions, there was nothing left to the imagination. But Cyra loved it and subjected everyone to the world's grossest kids by reading it aloud wherever she was. She later told me it was her favourite book, and she had already read it twice! I once told her something about throwing up and she thought it was the best story ever. My mother is utterly dismayed at this morbid interest in all that is icky. On Easter, we were all in church and Cyra was restless during the pastor's message. But she perked up when he spoke about exorcism, laughing about how most of us associate this purging with scenes from horror movies with manic priests screaming at the possessed individual, the latter's head rotating wildly while spewing green gook all over the place! Later when Shaheen asked her if she was paying attention during the service, she nodded saying "Of course, he was talking about some girl who was throwing up green stuff!"

And so it continues. She's organized and hardworking; but can be a total rowdy rascal. Frocked and frilled and wearing a glittery bowler hat, she's off to play football with the boys in the park, who she outruns most of the time. She's physically strong, somersaulting and cartwheeling and hanging off the monkey bars with ease, a bundle of energy through the day. Creative and self dependent, she can entertain herself for hours, writing story books (may bear a strong resemblance to the storyline of Madagascar), molding shapes from bits of paper, painting and sketching furiously through the morning, and directing elaborate skits with her friends.

When I stay over on the weekends, I am usually asked to sleep with her and subjected to a night of being slapped, prodded, toes shoved in my nose and being pushed to a corner of the bed. But it's just before she falls asleep at night when we have the best conversations. Dance steps are demonstrated while lying down; a tirade against someone she dislikes is launched; deep conversations about life, dogs and heaven; a game of "simon says" is rushed through, and a whole bunch of other things squeezed into 10 minutes. That's Cyra, living life full speed and
leaving all of us entertained and bent over from laughing so hard. We may have started hanging out much later, but as if to make up for lost time, she's going full steam ahead! As my dad used to sing (from the musical Gigi), "Thank heaven for little girls".


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