Tag Archives: #siblingrivalry

Sibling Love: From A Pokey Triangle to a Circle of Love

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.

Sibling Revelry: Celebrating my Sister’s 40th

Sisters are wonderful. On my sister’s 40th birthday, I’m pushed to remember all our memories and how she has always been my pillar of strength, the person I call after my mom (and sometimes before) as I sob or bitch about whatever is going on in my life.

My siblings are the reason I have a lot of guilt over not producing a brother/ sister for my child, because (as cliché as this might sound) they are my (mental) insurance for the future; the ones that will always be there for me, no matter who else comes or goes.

Brothers are equally amazing but sometimes, patriarchy forces boys to be “men” which would mean to refrain from any overt expression of feelings, but I know my brother is always there for me.

Sisters are wonderful because patriarchy messes with our mind a lot too, but it doesn’t inhibit our ability to express. My sister doesn’t inundate me with unbridled PDA when she meets me, but we spend hours on end, just talking. She truly is my best friend, because no matter whether I’m fighting with a BFF or the ‘Pati’, she’s always there to sympathize or set me straight.

She’s the party starter of the family; the one who gets my mom and me (both of whose first reaction is to say “No, this is not possible to do”) to take holidays at the peak of life’s madness, and she’s usually right- most often, it’s a good idea.

She’s my shopping partner: I relate completely with the opening scene of the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” since we too grew up with a practical mom who always got us the sensible shoes that lasted forever rather than the pretty, furry ones that lasted as long as their trendiness: that’s the reason we turned into mad shopaholics.

When I was growing up, I couldn’t stand my sis. She was always a really nice elder sister, but I was a nasty little one (growing up with a massive “nobody-loves-me” middle child complex). I didn’t let her listen to my music casettes in the car, eat my pizza or use anything of mine. Thus, as a reaction, I wasn’t allowed to use her stuff either. The only unfair part about this fair deal was that God made her way smarter than me, so whenever I sneakily used her make-up remover after a night out, she would wake up in the morning and realize I had, based on the tiny drop of oil that hadn’t settled at the bottom and was still wandering on the watery top half (all the girls know what I’m talking about).

She knew when I had listened to her music in the car, even though I had rewound it to the song that it was on before I started listening because she knew which word she had left it at. Yes! For real! That’s why I detested her: she was our in-house CID. I didn’t cry a single tear when she got married in Pune because she knew everything about my life (none of it revealed by me) from my friends and boyfriends’ car numbers (and spotted us in a flash if we were within a 5 km radius of her at any point) to their phone numbers (unluckily, caller ID had just been introduced in landlines at that time) flashing on the phone at 12 am. Even today, I pity her children because they asked for a mom and they got Nancy Drew!

Luckily, I no longer have anything to hide from her. She knows everything and holds my hand through it all. When I was going through my fertility treatment, she would call me all the time to make sure I was doing ok. She even offered to have a child and give it to me! I don’t know if I could have offered her the same if the situations had been switched, but she did. In retrospect, I should have taken up the offer because my Jija and her gene pool seems to be a lot calmer than Nandy and mine. If I had had a calm first child, who wasn’t bouncing off of the walls all the time, I may have been more inclined to have a second.

She’s the one I turn to when I need to complain about my dad’s impulsiveness (she’s the same way though) or my mom’s over-practicality (I’m the same!) She’s the one who remembers our family’s special occasions and makes a big fuss over things! She’s the one who knows how to pamper me, leaving everything when I go to Pune and making me have a blast!

I know in some cases, siblings can become the necessary evil of your life: people you would never befriend ordinarily but you can’t unfriend because they’re your family. That’s not my story. I couldn’t imagine life without my siblings!

Despite all the sibling quibbling over the TV remote or (perceived) preferential treatment by our folks, or rajai-pulling yudhs as the three of us slept on a massive old style bed, my siblings are my past, my present … and most importantly, my future: my sureshot (can’t count on the kids these days) budhape ka sahara. So it’s reassuring to know that when I kick the bucket, there will definitely be two people by my side, tottering around, trying to hold that bucket from tipping over.


PDA- Public Display of Affection
Pati- husband
Jija- sister’s husband
Rajai- Jaipuri quilted blankets
Yudh- War
Budhape ka sahara- Crutch for one’s old age.