I hate Dale for having made me commit to this. I'm going simply crazy trying to think of what to write.

The one thing that is on top of my mind is Swine Flu, but I dare not write about it, as it is making everybody sick already. The rest of the things I cannot write about, because they are top secret.

While Salim and Ranjit scale the hills of Khandala having a whale of a time, I'm stuck here, with precious little to do because I have loads of work to do, and I don't feel like doing it. Ritchelles' gone to Naanis' house to stay with Devki because it is holiday time. This is crazy!

The bloody swines whom I had last heard of while watching Macbeth being played out in school, when one of the three witches ran around the cauldron yelling; "Where hast thou been sister", and the other one mutilated her mouth to say, "Killing swine, killing swine!"

I was all of 10 years old then and my sister Meera, who was in the 10th std., was performing the play for the annual day function with her class.

This afternoon she dropped by, with a small box filled with homeopathic pills and very seriously asked me to take three tablets, three times a day everyday for three days. She said to me with a very firm look in her eyes, and a confirmed voice, that I should follow this regimen, as this was the only available medication for the prevention of the swine flu. I asked her how she knows and she told me that she had read it on the net and gone straight to the homeopathic medicine store and picked it up before it got finished.

"Before it got finished?", I said and she went on to tell me what a queue there was at the store and how long she had to wait and whatever else.

Phew! Meera, my sister should've been inducted to the Mother Teresa parish of nuns. She has spent her whole life looking after us. Being the eldest of us four, Radhika after her, then me after Radhika, and then DJ, after me. She has virtually helped my mother bring us all up. When we lost our father, she was perhaps the only adult amongst us, and I don't mean because of age only. She was the only one amongst us with her head on her shoulder and her feet on the ground.

While Radhika floated around taking her brilliance for granted, like there was nothing on earth that could come in her way, I tripped. I lost my center, and have only recently almost gained it again after about 25 years.

DJ, the youngest amongst us, made his choices and paved his own path and found himself a scholorship to the US where he completed his Masters, then Phd., and now professes to be a teacher of OR.

My mother and Meera virtually look after Radhika and me, like we are still babies. My mother is in charge of Radhika and Meera incharge of me. Not that they have ever declared this strategy, but it has become an undesigned pattern that our lives flow in.

Meera goes to the extent of taking charge of my baby Ritchelle as well, despite the fact that she has two of her own, while I struggle on to find my bearings, as I keep losing them, and try to make a living. Shiv and Devki, her two, are constantly confused. They often wonder how I can be their aunt when their mother treats me like one of them.

While Radhika still remains afloat in limbo and glide mode, sailing through life, doing each time only what she feels like doing, she is still more independent than I am.

If Meera is not looking over my shoulder, I definitely fall. Not that I ever give her the credit for not falling when I don't.

My mother, in the meantime has taken time out from Radhika in New York and parked herself here for over two years, which is so rare because she is running off to the US every now and then to be with her. She is giving Meera a hand right now, to look after me.

The last fall was real bad, and I am still recovering.

However, don't blame me for this. Blame Dale. He has forced me to do this to all you guys who are reading this and wondering where it's going.

Had I been in a better mood yesterday, I would've been in Khandala with Salim and Ranjit right now, sipping chai and being an alligator, immoveable and yawning every two minutes without a break.

It's because I denied myself some happiness and punished myself yesterday, that I am here and working, trying to make a living for myself and trying to be independent finally.