This article has been contributed by my baby sister, Anisha Tiwary. There’s a lot that I’d like to say about her, but that would take up another blog post (or book) Leaving you with a little bit about my Chief Networking Officer on this Instagram post-
The nuances of taking a vacation with your sibling are so underrated. Think personality difference, taste difference, age difference but also think ultimate comfort complimented with a deep sense of safety and partnership. Protima and I could pull each other’s hair out when we would wake up some mornings in Italy because she needed the coffee (I can do without except on work days) and I needed the breakfast (she can easily do without every day) – and an Airbnb meant that we needed to independently fix both. Even though we got on each other’s nerves some mornings, we’re now at this spectacular place where when I visit home, I see her waking up to coffee and the gossip section of Pune Times and she sees me sitting at the dining table and quietly going all in for a hearty breakfast – we ruthlessly grab these moments to make snarky comments at each other’s morning routines while really relishing the comfort of being at home and not having to fix coffee or breakfast for each other.
There’s bound to be conflict that’s irritable but it’s actually inconsequential and not even serious. And then there’s this amazing sync between us that’s actually more worthy of speaking about – that I felt in the day to day of being in a place that we were so alien to. These were the times when an unsaid common priority would lead us both to look for the closest supermarket within 3 hours of being in a new city or see us wrapping up most of our evenings in our Airbnb by 9 PM with a bottle of wine, a pack of chips and no fear of missing out. Or a silent division of tasks that is solely personality based – I would handle Airbnbs, Google Maps, tickets (though I was in charge of the tickets to a ballet in Venice which we never got to because I misread the time and location – and Google Maps in Venice is not a thing!). Or conversations with locals at times we were thoroughly confused or lost since Protima claims I have a more pleasant helpless face than she does. Protima was the ‘day organiser’ who took into consideration our individual preferences (read: how to fit art galleries/museums and 5 gelato parlour visits in one day while having a great time), the document and money organiser and basically the more responsible one (even though we did spend lavishly in kunas in Croatia because we forgot to convert them into euros and we were just on day 5 of our trip).
I can still, strongly, now more than ever, feel this sense of comfort as I reel over the trip that was over half a year ago. This global quarantine along with the reminder of being on another vacation right now that I couldn’t make it to because of the lockdown is indeed a recipe for reminiscence and gratitude. I’ve got a few things to work or reflect on through this quarantine. I’m now at the point of deep diving into old photos for the sake of organizing them or just delving in for old times’ sake, including our Italy-Croatia-Slovenia trip last year. While I’m at it, I think – there are so many ways to recollect past travels, the easiest being through the documentation you have of it. The photos or my notes from our trip bring back wonderful memories; but I can’t help but define that the real beauty of all the culture, history, art that we immersed ourselves in is in the context of being there with my sister – eating 5 gelatos a day, walking kilometers through different landscapes and weathers, exploring new cities through the most interesting walking tours, swinging by Irish pubs in different cities we visited. This realization makes me feel light and fuzzy and I cannot wait for the next adventure that life has in store for us – where we can be our most natural selves in our most displaced moments, later cherishing every memory of it.