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The Unlikely Tale

Once upon a time there were two siblings - Purple Devil and Skinny Goat. This is their unlikely tale.

Purple Devil, the alpha male was five years older. Skinny Goat, the diminutive sibling, was one stubborn girl. Devil was as much a disciplinarian as the parents, which meant Goat had to sneak around three at home to do mischief.

Goat saw the world through Devil’s eyes. When Devil was in high school, he had an electric blue moped. He’d park Goat in the back to paint the town red. Goat went everywhere on the blue moped: to eat, to the movies and to hang out with Devil’s friends.

Devil showed Goat that a pile of middling grades was no impediment to shining professionally later, that grit and humor could overcome any obstacle. Devil worked harder than anybody in the world. He could do anything for anyone at any time, night or day. His fuel was a kick-ass and irreverent sense of humor. He would take challenging situations and project them in the funniest light, with a hilarious tag or mnemonic. He anointed his and Goat’s kids as Chimp, Pig, Monkey, and Dog. The kids wore their name as a badge of honor, thrilled to be part of Devil's eccentric zoo.

Purple Devil irritated the hell out of Goat with anxiety-ridden travel planning. “You are going to miss your flight” five hours prematurely was a common refrain from him. Brother Devil passed that gene sideways to sister Goat and she grew up to be a Nervous Nellie traveler too.

Purple Devil was a strict non-vegetarian. Goat often said, “If it don’t move, he don’t eat”. The occasional vegetarian meal at home would hurtle him over the proverbial edge. He would ask indignantly: “Did someone die today?”

When Devil and Goat grew up, they moved far away from each other but remained inextricably tied. Devil was Goat’s travel, business, coding, medical, and WhatsApp buddy. They texted many times a day about their frail mother and mundane nonsense. Whenever Goat called, Devil answered the phone with a “Whyyyy youuuuu?” because that is how Purple Devils say hello to Skinny Goats.

They called each other Bunks or Bunka, with a “boo”. Neither could recall precisely how or when that started. Goat also called him “Bunkipedia” because of his endless knowledge of family trivia. When Goat needed quick info on who is so-and-so, Bunkipedia never failed to deliver a rapid response.

Purple Devil married a lovely lady who managed his antics deftly. Goat married her soulmate and moved half a world away. Goat's kids - Chimp and Dog - grew up adoring Uncle Devil. Goat’s husband and Devil forged a bromance which they leveraged to gang up on Goat. Devil welcomed rookies to the family with actual and emotional bear hugs as if they had always been a part of his life. He indulged in their interests with unending enthusiasm and christened them with idiotic monikers.

Every morning Goat asked Devil the same question: are you A or a? Uppercase for thriving and lowercase for surviving. On really tough days, Devil would say he’s "lowercase 'a' in font size 2.5" and Goat would respond urgently, "Trend up, trend up!” A few hours later when he moved to a bigger font size, Goat could breathe again.

Devil often said that “jinx” is their middle name. They both dealt with so many different problems at work (he far more than she) that their thinking was skewed. They frequently traveled at the same time, continents apart. More often than they wanted, both were stranded in airports with delayed flights, bad weather, mechanical problems, and plain old air travel stupidity. These "are-you-at-a-gate" moments occurred concurrently, a day, or hours apart and then they competed on who had jinxed the other.

Every once in a while, Devil would say to Goat: When I die, watch out so you don’t go 24 hours later.

Although Purple Devil looked ever-so-fit, he had a bad heart and nobody knew. Not even him. Goat suspects he had an inkling but did not say a word. He collapsed and went to font size 0.

24 hours later Goat had gone nowhere. Turns out she was the jinx all along.

Purple Devil was my brother and I am Skinny Goat.

He drew my avatar on my 4th grade pencil box – an unhappy looking skinny goat with two long pigtails. In due time, I christened him the Purple Devil.

On Saturday, my beloved brother Sandeep’s heart stopped forever without notice. He turned our world upside down and left a damning punishment for our mother. Letting go is excruciating because he was everyone’s BFF, not just mine. For his wife and children, he was the adoring patriarch with whom they did not have enough time. For my family he tried to pack in love to last forever.

The overwhelming emotion is “Thanka Bunka” as we frequently said to each other. Thank you for the constant kindness you hid behind the devilish façade and crazy antics. Thank you for making us laugh when we didn’t see a way out. Thank you for showing us that lifelong learning is non-negotiable. Thank you for redefining persistence and grit.

This Skinny Goat and her family will wait patiently until the next time you can give us rides on your electric blue moped in the great beyond. When we arrive, please be quick to hug us. We are unbelievably anxious to see you again.



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