My friend once expressed the fear of not being able to do justice to their feelings when they get to put them in white and black. I think that thought is penetrating into my soul now but I don’t want it to settle. I fear that this shall be an incomplete account of how dear and invaluable I hold my sister. However, to think of it, the fear is irrational, because of course, I can’t possibly express 19 years in a few hundred words. Thus, dear fear, you can find someone else’s soul to operate on.
Is it possible to have the earliest memory of a person? Someone who’s been with you throughout but the memory of an infant’s brain prevented you from registering them. I can’t recall the hospital room but she tells me that she stood by the door, in wonder, as I probably cried in a bassinet beside Mother. I can’t recall but she tells me that she tried to fit me in her laps but to her annoyance, my head always went beyond their physical space. She hoped that a year later, it would fit perfectly. I can’t recall but she tells me that she constantly attempted to make me a sunny side up (with no experience in the kitchen) until the yolk was perfectly round, the way I’ve always liked it. I can’t recall but she tells me that she made me believe that I was older in years but she was given the stature simply because she was taller. Innocent lies that harmed no one, I guess.
I recall ‘The Golden Goose’ which she tirelessly narrated every night as I stubbornly refused to listen to any other tale from those thin colourful books which put together stories that always ended with a moral. I recall my first birthday present from her, a miniature of our pet dog that I still possess. I recall her picking me up from Nursery school when she was in 3rd grade (we shared the school campus). I recall when she stayed up till really late at night; with me for my History exam preparation (ICSE has a never ending syllabus). I recall how she was always perfectly compatible with my friends and still is. I recall how none of my school projects were complete without her approval. I recall our fights over the television remote but fail to recall anytime, after she won that we watched something that I disapproved of.
In the hostel, we once had a discussion about the hilariously ‘inhumane’ acts that our older siblings put us through. That morning, at 2 a.m., I immediately called up my sister after the discussion to tell her that I had the least to contribute to the topic because she was immeasurably nice to me and laughed that I hadn’t lived my childhood wholly. After about 20 minutes of debate, she reluctantly agreed on the former but was defiant on the latter. Of course, I shall always remain grateful for the childhood that I experienced but she insisted on the fact that I should never doubt it again.
Today, we live in different cities and meet for not more than a month in a year. Not being a phone enthusiast, I fall short of sharing my entire day’s account with her but have become a better listener (though she might disagree). They say that older siblings bring you up better than your parents. I don’t know if that’s true but I can’t find one parameter where my sister has proven to be a lesser reliable person than any other elder of the family. After all, it was they who brought her up and set the standards in the first place.
If you are a younger sibling, it’s probably because your parents wanted a sane child after having some experience with a not-so-sane one because no matter how experienced the older ones might appear to be, their embarrassing tales can’t be matched. We call them names and they (mostly) just smile it off but also prove that many a time, the allotted name is only befitting. Anyway, the success of a sibling makes us a proud soul and their failure feels worse than our own. Older siblings are truly pillars of strength and a constant reminder of who we are and what we endeavour to achieve. They know us better than they know themselves and so we need to remind them that they are worth more than what they fathom. They have given us the liberty to think that our mistakes will be covered but we need to remind them that they are humans too and their mistakes do not lessen our respect and trust in them. They’ve held our hands and helped us choose which path to traverse but we need to remind them that they don’t need to make all the decisions alone and that we can sometimes aid them too. They need to be reminded that they don’t need to be perfect because it’s their imperfections that make them approachable. They need to be reminded that come what may, we shall not trade the role of being a younger sibling for any other and have no one else play their part as well. There is plenty of love in each of us to spread but one of the people who gets it more than the rest is my sister because sibling love is my favourite kind of love.