My younger brother sends me a link to sign up for organ donation and I’m amazed at the ease in doing so. It’s as easy as setting up a Flipkart account, and when I’m done, my conscience feels lighter (rather than when I’m done with Flipkart, and my conscience weighs heavily on my mind).
I’m solitarily gloating in my selflessness at becoming a certified organ donor, but as I proceed to laminate my freshly printed donor card, a stab of suspicion stops me in my tracks.
I fish out my phone and go to my family’s WhatsApp group to instantly share my concerns with my siblings. This donation thing is all fine and dandy except that I don’t completely trust Nandy. I make the sibs promise that they will have to come and verify that I am really dead before Nandy hands me over to the hospital to have my organs plucked out. They laugh and agree and we emoji-handshake on it to seal the deal.
This comfort of having someone know where you come from, no matter what you say or how idiotic you behave, comes from a solid history of elbow-jabbing, tattle-telling, prank pulling, butt-of-the-joke making meanness that ensues between siblings. There’s a deep sense of trust that emerges between brothers and sisters from years of completely distrustful behavior with each other.
In my case, we are 3 kids of which my eldest sister was the perfect one: the first grandkid, while I was the mean, angry, no-one-loves-me middle child, and then came the adorable, doe-eyed chirag* of the family (named after God Ram himself). In this equation, it was easy to guess who got the most amount of shoutings and slaps, deservedly so!
Growing up, the three of us shared a bed. It was a massive, exquisitely carved, old style bed, with enough place for 3 capricorns between the ages of 3-10 years but my poor brother would get incessantly kicked by me as he rotated in the middle, consistent as the minute hand of a clock, throughout the night. My poor sister was no less than Sister Florence Nightingale, always saving my brother by pulling him to her side so he could stay away from my evil claws.
Florence would spend hours telling Ram Sukhyari-Dukhyari stories (about Sukhyari who didn’t have much but was always happy and Dukhyari who complained no matter what wonderful circumstances she was gifted). She would whisper the story to him as I complained that I couldn’t sleep with the sound, while I actually tried to hear it myself, enjoying it but finding it all too familiar when it replayed in my dreams, with me playing the disgruntled Dukhyari and my sister starring as the perennially happy martyr, Sukhyari.
Just like the protagonists of the movie, “Amar, Akbar, Anthony”, we three are bound by blood but have always been as similar as chalk, cheese and chimichangas: my parents’ Florence, Medusa and Ram. Three kids born under the same star sign, challenging the science of astrology by our differing personalities, but after all these years, bound by an understanding that only all of that childhood turmoil can create.
Sibling love fueled from years of sibling hatred (and parents wondering was it really the right decision to “gift” their kids their sibs) is a force stronger than gravity, wherein whether we talk every day or not, we eventually always bounce back to each other. The childhood secrets, the insider jokes, the sarcasm about the eccentricities of our parents and our undying love, despite each other’s annoying ways, is what creates a circle of trust that no one can infiltrate. That’s when these three divergent corners of the triangle come together to form an infinite inner circle, one that even our parents feel left out of sometimes!
*chirag- lamp, light, Heir who shall light the path to the future and guide the family.