Wednesday, May 17, 2006

may you build a ladder to the stars

So, right after waxing idiotic about blog malaise, I spent this unmotivated afternoon wasting time by trying to rope my cousin into the blogworld. He used to be one of the many teeniacs in my life, but the kid turned 20 recently, and it seemed apropos to shove him into the limelight as a result.

Actually, that is not really my rationale. I have always been tight with my cousin A. A few weeks ago, on the verge of breaking into tears from overwhelming panic about how much I have to do to keep The Goal alive, I called A one afternoon. Five minutes into the conversation, I felt 500% better. Yes, folks, I have to lean on my 20-year old cousin to calm me down.

Then again, this is the beauty of youth, after all. Plenty of my cousins annoy me. Teeniacs can, by design, be immensely annoying. They are frustratingly obsessed with stupid things. They are stubbornly sure of themselves, forcing you to watch as they walk straight into a pothole that could have been avoided if they listened to anyone with any experience. Some of my cousins have not had much of a struggle in life to boot, and as a result, also have an oh-so-infuriating sense of entitlement.

But not A. This kid is a lover, not a fighter, from the very first day of his existence. He seemed to be destined for goofball status, to be a follower that affably shrugged with his not-wanting-to-upset-anyone demeanor. And then something strange happened. His family moved away from our cocoon, to the state you don't mess with, just as he was about to start high school.

Somehow, A, who had lazily made honor roll with little effort in EBF, was thrust into a competitive magnate school. The first semester, he was eaten alive, and had the added bonus of knowing hardly anyone. But this kid is unsinkable. So, the second semester, he made a comeback. By the time he graduated, he had an endless supply of friends, and was making fine marks. It was not just about the grades for A. His parents are something of an Indian parent anomaly. They never expected much of A, were just as pleased if he made a C or an A. All of his motivation had to come from within him. It wasn't until he moved to Texas that he really found that motivation.

And he didn't just find the motivation to study. He found the motivation to learn, to ask probing questions. He became really taken with debate team, and as many people can attest to, debate is quite a formative experience. So, when he visited me two years ago, I was shocked to find that the little twerp, who used to find a way to actually lodge himself above his refrigerator at home (seriously), had grown into such a sentient dude. At 17, he was reading the Economist regularly. When my friend MG, double his digits at the time, mentioned something about a pathologist, A cited an Economist article he'd just read about how pathology could soon be outsourced.

All of this is impressive on its own. This kid, who was kind of directionless, had the rug pulled out from underneath him when he moved, and it altered his whole path in fantastic ways. But that's not really why the kid is so precious to me.

A is 20 now, and he's still the only person I know who can hug me more than twice in one day. When he visits, or I visit, I find, inevitably, that he's sitting on a couch next to me, and has his head leaned against my shoulder, or just hugs me for no reason whatsoever. When, during Thanksgiving, I've been recruited for the annual bake-off, A shows up in the kitchen to be my sous chef. No one asks him to do these things. He just bursts with this affection that normally would make me roll my eyes or vomit, but somehow, coming from him, does nothing but give me the warm fuzzies. Some years back, my whole family was together, all of us sitting around chatting about some, stupid story, and A, a.k.a Non-Sequitur Central, dreamily sighed, "Oh, the memories.". We're never letting him live that one down.

The broseph hypothesizes that A is either going to be bossed around by a girlfriend, or have his heart smashed to pieces by one. But I beseech you, young teeniacs, go easy on the kid. He's the real deal. Unfortunately, I don't think college students are in my readership demographic.

Anyway, A is living my dream, as he is taking the summer to travel a good portion of the world. I'm alternately excited for him, and envious of him, but mostly just happy for him. That is why he cheered me up that afternoon when I was so low- he is so positive and has so many possibilities ahead of him that it becomes infectious. You can't help believing that there are some possibilities left out there for you, too.

Of all of my cousins, he is the person I'm most likely to reveal this blog to, and also the only other person I can imagine keeping a blog of his own. The broseph, for example, started one, and after one post, found it too taxing to think of anything to write. One of my other cousins is a 22-year old who never got past her teeniac stage, and thus keeps an online journal that would make you cringe to read it. A has exciting adventures to share, but moreover, he's the only one that would be able to share it in a way that would actually be engaging. So, amazingly enough, I am crossing my fingers for one more voice to enter this already crowded space.

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