I was barely five years old, an end to being the youngest sibling. I faintly remember the birth of my brother - a tiny chicken-like baby boy with frail limbs announcing his arrival with screams. This was long, long time ago.
Today, my brother is Solly Baba.
Who is Solly Baba?
Solly Baba - the name almost infamous in the town is a boy very unlike the brother I grew up with. As a young boy (and up till his first few years of teenage) his dream was to become a monk, because "life is so uncertain and I want to help sick people" was his spirit. Quite the bully he is even today, I was most ambushed with his demands, wants and needs - more because I give in easily to his ways.
In the eyes of normal dwellers like our parents, he is a useless guy. Useless as in - no 9X5 job like their other children, no intention of a family life (much to my relief), no seriousness about future (OK to survive on one meal a day) and no future whatsoever. I think this is also how I define him whenever people ask about my younger brother.
During the few moments of breathe (if I am lucky like this moment I am writing this article), I run through his life and some sort of envy erupts.
|Solly with his dog Lassi|
I envy him because he is the master of his own life. Get up when you want. Sleep when you want. Eat if you have. Don't eat if you don't have. Party with the last hundred you have. If no money, stay home and watch movies. Adopt a stray dog and give her a new name, a new life. Travel like crazy with no proper plan. No worries about anything but a camera for which a little saving may be required. Or I can borrow. Give me Nu. 25 to take the taxi to Thimphu. A good cheese fry meal-of-the-day at home. Oh yes, pick me up if you are passing by. And drop me if you don't mind (well, do I have a choice?)
Whereas I, a normal very routine person - considered competent and successful officer, am a robot to many many things. I get up at the tick-tock of the alarm clock. Every movement is timed and written down. I can't deviate a little in fear of distorting the routine, or my day will come crashing down. I make plans in weeks ahead and attend to every detail. A vacation is one luxury in years because I am so busy with work and family - and even then, vacation means work on phone and Net and family in the car and hotel rooms. I worry for the future I am not certain about. I compromise my needs because I still have the loan for the SUV. A new pair of shoes? Oh no, I rather buy a new toy for Lolo. Or say some school stationeries for the girls. Pizza treat? Let me cook a nice egg-curry at home! Sunday dinner? Goodness, Monday is next day and I have office plus schools for the girls.
You see, my life is prescribed.
We come from the same parents but like rose and thorns on the same stem, we are different. At this moment, I can't say who is the rose and otherwise. But we are completely different individuals with different destinies.
Solly Baba lives a sanyasi life. I live a worrisome materialistic life. But at the end of the day, both of us are proud of our lives. And we are positive too. I learn through the various struggles while he lives through his casual outlook.
Who is Solly Baba? Solly Baba is the kind of life I would love to live, but can't. Solly Baba is a new definition of a fantasy that will not work for me. But it works good on Solly Baba itself.
And with his dreads, thankfully, he looks older than me.