Last year we celebrated the bond between brothers and sisters in our first Raksha Bandan. Leila tied a rakhee (usually an ornate string that symbolizes a bond of protection), around Rahul’s right wrist. Leila had to have one as well – that bit is what made it Raksha Bandan – Our Version. They hugged and fed each other something sweet.
We had a repeat of our version this year at our Koh Samui hotel room. My mum was with us on the day, the full moon of August 2nd, so it was all the more special even in the simplicity of our unmade beds, daily wear, and impromptu rakhees – I cut out the bookmark-ribbons from two of L and R’s story books and used them as rakhees. (Don’t tell my little brother;))
Here’s Raksha Bandan – Bond of Protection, the post I wrote last year about this celebration during my childhood.
Some conversations from the last month:
Koh Samui, driving around the Southern parts of the island
Maher: Les gars, vous avez vu les vaches? Et il y a des chevaux aussi! (Hey guys, did you see the cows? There are horses as well!)
Me: Do you know what cows eat?
On the beach one day:
Rahul picked up a strange white jelly-like fish egg (I think)
Me: What’s that Rahul?
Rahul: Mama, this lenses (as in contact lenses)
One evening just before bed:
Leila: What dat Rahul?
Rahul rubs his body: Keam, body. (As in body cream / lotion),
Leila picked up a tube of zinc oxide used for nappy irritation: What dat Rahul?
Rahul pointing at it: Toos paste that.
Leila tapping her bottom: No Rahul, Keam bum-bum.
Rahul: No, toos paste.
Leila: No, keam kiki(cute way to say vagina in French).
Rahul: Afu zizi, Leila zizi (cute way to say penis).
Leila: No, Leila kiki
Rahul smiling: Leila zizi
Leila: Noooo, Leila kiki
Rahul really pushing her button: Leila zizi
I had to pull them apart. Stop them from shoving and pushing each other after that one.
In bed that night:
Leila: Mama, where papa?
Me: He’s in Hengyang. He’ll be back in two days.
Leila crying: Leila kiss papa.
Early, very early one morning:
Leila pointing at some soft boiled egg that she spilt on the table: Mum look. Fwog.
Me: Wow Leila, is the from jumping around in your egg?
Rahul walks into the kitchen, barely awake.
Leila: Rahul, look. Fwog. Egg.
Me: Hey Rahul, did you see the frog in Leila’s egg?
Leila: Fwog, water, jump ribbit ribbit.
A little later, still at the table that morning –
Rahul: Tomorrow xiao He ayi back. Some bady bump, went see doctor. Better now.
Me: Yes Rahul. She’s much better now, and she’s coming back tomorrow!
(He ayi, our dearly beloved nanny had a motorbike accident a week ago. A three-wheel-taxi driver bumped into her, watched her fall to the ground, and zoomed away.)
Still at breakfast-`
Leila: Banana mama
Me: Nana nana banana banana
L and R: Nana nana banana banana
L and R: nani nani chapatti chapatti
Me: Jiddo jiddo potato potato, teta teta batata batata
L and R: jiddo jiddo potato potato, teta teta batata batata
Rahul: Zazu Nanu, Zazu Nanu
Leila: Zazu D2, Zazu D2. D2 jiddo.
Me: D2 jiddo or Jiddo Kamal
Leila teasing: D2 Dubai
Rahul: Jiddo Kamal Dubai
Leila: Teta Houda Lebanon
One evening all of us in bed:
Me taling to Maher about something: D2 was talking to his girlfriend.
Leila: girl-fwend mama?
Me: Ummmmm, D2’s girlfriend Stephanie, do you remember her? She is his girlfriend.
Leila nodding her head: Member mum.
Me: Ummmmm Pasca is my girlfriend.
Leila: Leila mama dotter. Rahul mama son. Mama papa girlfwend. Liu yan Marwan girlfwend. Leila Rahul girlfwend.
The four of us together. Maher sings a song. I join in. After two years of “practicing”, I’m still out of tune!
Rahul says: Mama no sing!
She’s two. Doesn’t dress like this every day only because she can’t have her way.
A Zimbabwean yoga teacher, MoT, sister who’s lived in the Middle East for several years claims to have figured it out, “It’s definitely her Lebanese genes!”
I remember the first time we went to Lebanon, she was 9 months old. Leila was mesmerized by an older woman on the plane, fixing her make-up. Wow! My insecurities came rushing up to the surface.
Another yogi friend looked me up and down today, looked at Leila styling, then said, “Yeah, of course she’s gonna be the girly girl. Just to, you know..?” and she winked at me.
She calls herself princess, and even tried to crown me. I resisted initially, I’ve never thought of myself that way. But hey, what’s the big deal if she wants me in her kingdom. Lucky me!