Friday, March 16, 2007

Embarrassing your little brother doesn't end when you become a mom.

I'm the oldest of three siblings. Being the oldest brought with it a few random perks. I got to say, "I'm the oldest." For a brief period of time, I got to boss around two obedient little slaves. That was about it.

Almost all of these token status symbols were negated by virtue of being the oldest, only girl in a first-generation South Asian religious family. Needless to say, I had to do the lion's share of breaking in the old folks and schooling them in the the American way. By the time the youngest - Riz, hit adolescence, they were pretty much beaten down and accepting of any manner of nonsense. I like to think I had some part in this. I've never been properly thanked by either brother, but that's ok. As my mom likes to say, "I'll get my reward in the Hereafter."

I digress.

Riz and I are separated by an age gap that swallows a generation. The eight years between us means he never fully appreciated the same goofy tv shows I watched as a kid, or the music I grew up listening too. What was cool in my time is now played on the classic rock stations with that faint unpleasant odor that accompanies both nostalgia and decay.

But for all our differences, we remain siblings. We both grew up in the same home, ate the same food, and shared the same air space. Even though his only stated memory of me is when I walked out the door, suitcase in hand, off to college .. I remember a few things about him growing up. I can't say I remember him as much of a student ... smart, yes. Student? No.

He's surprised us all though. My little brother, the one who could barely make it to school on time in the mornings, the one who would fall asleep standing in the shower, the one who would emerge from his bedroom in a cloud of mysterious smoke rings.. is on the verge of becoming a doctor ... a real doctor. Our little macaca has grown up, gotten himself married, and fulfilled every desi parent's ultimate fantasy.

This May, we get to call him, Dr. Riz.

And let me be the first to publicly congratulate him and tell him again - Riz, we're so proud of you. By the way, I say that without any trace of vintage Parvez family sarcasm. Really. I'm proud of you.

This week, in keeping with that honored med school tradition, he found out where he "matched." For the laymen, this means the hospital where he is matched to begin his four year residency. And the lucky institution is located in....drumroll.....Pittsburgh! Hurray!

I did a quick google to discover what Pittsburgh has to offer the young and upwardly mobile. Apart from the sports stuff and the Heinz ketchup corporation, Pittsburgh has good bread. They also have famous sandwiches. And for those of a literary bend, Pittsburgh features as a backdrop in the following written works.

Reading is important, you know. After all, books contain all manner of useful information - like how to identify diseases, what medicines to prescribe for them, how to dress wounds, and how to perform plastic surgery. Eh-hem.

Miss Mina has recently developed a fondness for books. Maybe she'll grow up to be just like her uncle.

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