#SiblingStories is a Blog Train hosted by varmaila in association with brand #angtatva. In this blog train, thirty-six bloggers are coming together to travel on the Blog train for #SiblingTalk, down the memory lane to talk about their most cherished memories with their siblings. Hop on to the train with us to be a part of this beautiful journey.
I am Dr. Shivani Salil, a Clinical Microbiologist professionally, now exploring the writer in me, as it brought me the contentment I was looking for. When I came across #SiblingStories, I knew I had to be on board, the topic of siblings being close to my heart. I thought this would be a smooth sail for me to write but when I actually got down to penning it, I realised I have bitten way more than I can gulp down. How do I squeeze in the thirty eight of my forty-one years that I have shared with my baby sister??
To begin from the beginning, I was three when I came face to face with this little bundle, eyes tightly shut and fists clenched, as if she was angry to have been brought into the world. But she was MINE and the only thing I remember from that first hospital visit is pure joy. In my three-year-old innocence, I had assumed that the moment she is home, I will have a play pal. Of course, I was disappointed but I just couldn’t leave her side because everyone who’d visit us would mock threaten me, “Hum isko apne saath le jaayenge” (We will take her along with us). Mock or not, potent it was. Potent enough to make me sacrifice my play time even. I am told, it was only on my mother’s reassurances over days that I finally left her side.
Early on, I realised that I couldn’t boss her or order her around. What did the trick however was that if I spoke to her nicely, the same thing could be achieved in a jiffy. (I have my mother to thank who gave me this secret talisman to deal with her). We had our squabbles but never a major showdown, nothing dramatic to report here. And whatever little it was, just lessened further since our mother refused to play the referee. She would say, she didn’t want her hands dirty with what she called ‘Koyale ki dalali’ (dealing with coal). Because every time we had a fight, we would get back together soon enough but she would be labelled the villain by the one whose side she didn’t take. With no one to intervene, the fights lost their charm soon enough for us to give them up.
Growing up, we couldn’t have been more different, we are in fact the poster girls for the theme ‘Chalk and Cheese’, especially considering that both of us come from the same gene pool. If I was the extrovert, she was the proverbial introvert. I was the tall girl, with thick straight hair and an unusually long nose (a la Pinocchio) and she was this little delicate wisp of a girl with wild medusa curls…you get the drift. But don’t get fooled by those looks, beneath that exterior calm, she hides a storm. I was the protective big sister alright… I was supposed to be. But you mess with me and you get to deal with her which ain’t something you’ll relish. People who think I overshadow her just because I am the more vocal one …. uh huh… wrong again. Once she famously confided in our mother, “It’s a good thing I have a nice didi.” And before our mom got a chance to bask in the warmth of that moment, she quipped, “Good for her, else I would have squared her anyway!” So there!! No ambiguities. But our apparent differences never translated into sibling rivalry. We have always revelled in our differences. If anything, it made us a good team.
We were fortunate to grow up in the eighties because times were simpler, evenings were longer because the distractions were less, the never-ending summer vacations with those sleepy Doordarshan’s ‘dopahar ki sabha’ shows…. I cannot explain what charms they held for us but we talked, laughed and bonded big time. That is something I often find lacking in today’s siblings. Talking of vacations cannot be complete without those holiday homework projects that she hated and crazily enough I loved. So, I would end up doing mine AND hers as well. She still doesn’t get it how and why did I do them so willingly. All of these tiny bits make our relationship what it is. She’s that one person with whom I have shared my childhood secrets and my grown-up dreams, something that neither my parents or my husband can ever be privy to.
I have to mention those sickening ‘Do-behane-bhai-nahi-hai-kya?’ moments. I have lost count of the times my sister and I have confronted that question. We’ve had those intruding eyes searching here and there as if expecting a ‘bhai‘ to spring out any moment like a rabbit out of the magician’s hat. Though neither of us missed having a brother, but Rakshabandhan would be particularly painful or rather irritating. I would just want to get it over it. As kids our mother would bring us threads so we could tie it to each other. I remember asking her once if she misses having a brother. She shot back, “I have you to protect me. And you seem to be doing a good job. Don’t really need a brother for that.” Her answer still warms my heart. Who would trade this for anything else in the world? And it’s not just I who’s protected her, but she’s has had my back ever since I can recall. She’s been my rock of Gibraltar in some of my very dark periods. She gets me like no one else can.
Her opinion and approval matters to me, sometimes even more than my parents. She approved of my then-boyfriend-now-husband and it did wonders to my confidence thinking I had her ‘blessing’. (The one before him, whom she didn’t approve of, became an ex soon after). She’s my sibling, mischief partner, friend, confidante and cheer leader all rolled into one.
God up there was kind to us that both of us ended up in Mumbai, post marriage. It brought us closer and the best part was that it gave my daughter and my nephew a chance to know each other. They have a different equation altogether, a Tom-and-Jerry situation to be exact. Can’t live with, can’t live without…. The most baffled is our mother who tends to compare our relationship with theirs, which is futile. What I really love about the little ones is that my daughter takes after my sister and a lot of people confuse my nephew to be my son. No reason why, but it does give me a nice warm feeling.
I’ll end there before I start on this pair. I shall leave that for another time. May I thank Sayeri Bhattacharya for introducing me. And I now need to pass on the baton to Princy Khurana who shall be posting her blog today ( clanpedia) and Kalpana Mannivannan who is a teacher, a new age farmer, a blogger and lord only knows how mant hats she’s hiding in there. She blogs on lazysummerdiaries