It is the common custom that upon a close person’s birthday, we count the age that they have reached and try to come up with that number of qualities to describe them. Nikhil, my only brother, surpassed another year on this day 24 years ago. It has been said that trying to express oneself through words is exceptionally difficult. However that is one of the only true talents that I possess, so here goes nothing.
I made a list of 24 reasons, but they failed to do it justice. How do you sum up the exploits of thousands of hours of laughter, happiness and general noisiness in just 24 statements? The fact of the matter is that it cannot be done, so I changed my mind. I wanted to focus on what has happened between us, what is happening now and what will undoubtedly happen in the future. I will try not to reveal too many embarrassing moments (I am saving them for his wedding!) but I want to look at the man behind the large smile and the endless stubbled chin.
The most important thing to mention and the first word on my list was maverick. Out of all the people I know, he was the first person who taught me how to take a risk. There is a fine line between genius and idiocy and it has always been difficult for the pair of us to work out which side of the line we have been on. Nevertheless, I know that we both live with no real regrets, and he has shown me that a life lived in the shadows is no life at all.
Another one of the 24 is the ability to maintain the atmosphere in a room. There is never a dull moment when he is around and it is unlikely that we could go less than 20 seconds without him attempting to pull out a cheesy joke or a mildly racist international accent. Though sometimes extremely inappropriate and just plain wrong, he never fails to bring a smile to the face of those around him, even if it is one of embarrassment.
That leads me onto the next thing – fearlessness. I am sure that he must be terrified when he does certain things, going in a different direction to everyone else, but he does it with such gusto that we can’t help but admire him because he does it with such effortless class. And his efforts do not go unnoticed. Even though he is immersed in his phone, his laptop or his iPad, and ignores the world around him, including anyone trying to catch his attention, he has a fervent motivation that I have not seen in anyone else.
It seems fitting to leave it at that. Always leave them, or in this case him, wanting more. There are many more birthdays to come and many more things to be said, but for now it is nice enough to know that quietly among his own business he plans to take the world by storm in his own special way. And I am always likely to be there, in the same bedroom that we have shared for over a decade telling him that he is making a massive mistake or the right decision. Because the bond of brotherhood stretches further than just being there for each other. It makes us believe that we can be better, do better and know better.