Dear Ma and Pa,
I wonder what it will feel like to read your will. To see everything you left behind, reduced to one flimsy document, diluted with fine print and legal jargon.
And I will squint to read the fine print – and see your childhood home, the jewellery you got married in, the house I grew up in, the car you took your last drive in – all listed down like a laundry list. Like an epic story left to be told by a poor narrator. One that will forget that every item on that list is a reflection of your sacrifices, successes and failures, and skip straight to the end. And I will read your will and think, what good is the last page of a book, without all the pages before it?
So let me grab a piece of paper, and attempt to tell you what my inheritance looks like. My inheritance lies in your signature biryani recipe. In the volumes of poetry in your bookshelf. In the jewellery you thought was expensive, but bought anyway because you had a daughter. My inheritance lies in your nose. Your posture. The way you say “hello” when you get a call from work. In your views on feminism and your taste in sarees. And my inheritance grows every time someone comments, “she’s turned out to be just like you”.
But let’s not forget the things that you ensured you didn’t leave behind. Like your fear of public speaking. Your clumsiness with chopsticks. Your inability to swim. How you disregard genuine compliments. Or how you never pursued a hobby. Thank you for keeping them so deep within you, so I could be the kind of person who didn’t inherit anything that held you back.
I realise that my inheritance lies in the things you instilled in me, not the ones you will leave behind. That the real family heirloom lies in our love for Bukowski, our passionate debates at dinner, Ammama’s home remedies for acne and the bedtime stories I’ll tell my children someday. I realise that the things that make me rich, I have had all along.
And yet, you will write your will painstakingly. And pretend that everything you leave behind can be reduced to one flimsy document, diluted with fine print and legal jargon.
And I will be just another child, who is disappointed with the will her parents left her.