I was an only child for a long, long time. Suddenly, one close cousin came along, who I thought was the most wonderful thing on earth, and I couldn’t stop being fascinated by her blue eyes.
And not long after, my sister too was born.
She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Her porcelain-perfect skin was only marred by scratches from her long nails on her tiny pink hands. I strongly doubt I went through a ‘the baby’s getting more attention than me’ phase.
Unlike me, she was the healthy baby who would eat everything she was offered, and the friendliest one there was. So much that once when she was four, some stranger was carrying her away from us at Lalbagh and she didn’t as much as raise an alarm.
Rather early on, we’d always share junk food equally. It’s a rule, almost. So every single time I buy a single packet of chips or share a medium pizza with someone else, or even eat a single chocolate bar, I make it a point to tell her and say ‘nyaah nyaah nyaah’. That’s pretty much not happened for months now, given that she’s quit junk food and has successfully convinced me to do the same.
I never seem to go clothes-shopping without her. If I do, I mail her photos of everything in the store and she picks out stuff that has me going ‘Are you crazy?’, but once I wear them, they look and feel so right. Every artsy gene in the family’s ended up with her, I’m on the other hand effectively colour-blind.
She’s the only one who can so successfully push my buttons, be passive-aggressive in such huge doses that I’d want to run away (I was mean to her once when I was in 10th, and she messed up my alarm and I ended waking very late, and was very mad). I’m no less, I say the most hurtful things possible. We’ve fought worse enough to give each other lasting scars.
As we’ve grown up, I’ve found it easier and easier to vent to her more than anyone else, and she gives me the most sarcastic, most caustic assessments. She has a memory for the worst bits of everything, and makes sure to bring it all up every now and then. Including the time I dropped her on her head.
We obviously share a lot in common, but I didn’t realize how much until I went away to NITK and she came to visit me, and folks at hostel were amazed that we spoke the same way, had the same way of making jokes, the same grin, and the same mannerisms. I had never given those things a thought before.
She imitates everyone to the T, especially me, and I grudgingly acknowledge to her that she is one of the most observant people I know. Both of us are a little droll, a little passive-aggressive and caustic with each other, and can never ungrudgingly acknowledge to each other that we liked something the other did, and we never are affectionate with each other, and delight the most in telling each other our diabolical plans to embarrass or murder the other. It seems to me like we have kept scaring, pranking, embarrassing each other so much while growing up that we’ve evolved to watch for the other’s next move two steps in advance.
So yeah, I know she’s not going to read this page by herself; my parents will ask her to when they see this. And then she’s going to be embarrassed by all this stuff about her and me out for the whole world to read, more so since she’s a naturally shy person. I know she’ll call me names for this and find typos and wrong grammar in my writing.
But I’ll still write and publish this piece. And I’ll also wish her a very happy birthday that’s coming up pretty soon.
Because it came really close not very long ago to that not at all happening. I don’t want to go into details.
Henceforth, I never will say anything about how only-children are lucky. I will never ever make bossy mean older sister jokes which I use when I’m down to my last bullet and which are too, too mean to put up here.
I’m glad as hell I have my dear younger sister, with me, abusing me on chat, telling me that the pair of earrings I got are a goddarned waste of money, that my alcohol tolerance practically sucks, and that I should have seen the events of the past few months coming, breaking her head over making a collage of the images I sent her to stick on my wall, telling me I shouldn’t be getting depressed for such lame reasons, I’ve endured so much more, bringing me gossip from her college, telling me my jokes are lame, and that engineering education is all a conspiracy, and dissing my accent as ‘not American enough’.
Little one (who is taller than I ever will be), I can’t love you enough.