TO MY COUSIN, NAVZAD

Navzad’s cousin
Sherzan Daver

My dearest Navzu, you are not just my cousin but a close sibling: A big brother, being 4 months older than me. Our mothers were pregnant at the same time. Yes, my mother had me knowing you would be around for me to play and grow up with. Both our families migrated to Australia at the same time I came from Canada and you from India, when we were just 1 year old.

We initially lived in a joint family and so my earliest childhood memories included you in everything: meal times, bathing in the same tub, playing in the sandpit, making sandcastles on the beach, going for picnics and yes everyday going to the same day-care, Mama Salty who funnily toilet trained us at the same time.

We entered pre-school, kindergarten and primary school together; being scared and shy, I never told you so, but secretly I was always grateful for your presence.

We even went to the same class for a year. I remember that year we could not escape from homework as our mothers consulted each other and we would get caught out. And then like true siblings we had our inconsequential infant brawls and competitiveness over trifle things. Sometimes we even mischievously provoked and then put the blame on the other, much to the utter ignorance of our parents. We shared an intense love affair with Pokémon and a common preoccupation with junk food. We often had intense scuffles over who would get the last chip and of course I would win. And if I didn’t, I just had to cry and you would give in.

To fast-forward, at 12 years, we went to different high schools. You had a strong affinity for everything boys do computers, football and heavy metal music and I had for the arts and music and the girly stuff. We went through the “awkward teenage” phase where the wind blew us in different directions.

And then unknown to all, a thunderstorm was slowly brewing in your head, then a volcanic eruption happened, detonating us into shreds. The Medullo-blastoma: tiny tumors of malignant nuisances, hurled you into excruciating pain. The light began to waver for us all in the family.

I never told you but I was deeply pained with the endless surgeries and countless treatments that you had to go through. Finally your misery departed and your spirit was set free. My dearest Navzu, I miss you dearly, there is so much I want to tell you and so much I want to share…I know you are still with me and not really gone anywhere. In quiet moments, I often talk to you and even ask you what to do. I want to tell you that in the end love is all that really matters. And I really love you. You will forever live on in my heart.

Cancer took you away for reasons I cannot understand, you were just a child when you left us, but you truly died as a man.