Wednesday, November 09, 2016

thirty seven banana peels #27 - sibling wars

For children born before let us say 1990 in India, we can take it is a given that they have at least one sibling. Nowadays, one child per couple is becoming very common (something I am very glad about). That has spawned debates about whether the child is missing the camaraderie of having a sibling and whether he or she grows up ‘lonely’.

While population is a genuine concern, that last point has a certain validity to it, drawing from my personal experience. Unlike now, I wasn’t burdened with saving the world. I had a brother and that was it. We were 18 months apart, so we were practically the same age.

While I am supposed to recall fond memories, jokes, banter and everything else that points to picture perfect nostalgia, my first big picture of our time growing up is always the fights. We fought all the time. Verbally, physically. It did not get bloody, but it was vicious from our point of view. I will say 80-20 in my favor. The fights almost always ended with my brother crying and my mother stepping in to ‘resolve’ the fight. She had a one-size-fits-all solution, which was to thrash the guy who wasn’t crying.

What triggered the fights? You name it. Who gets to read the comic first, who gets to play the video game first, if we did play a two player game - the bickering and the cheating, cricket fights, food fights. Looking back, I note all this with amusement. I presume he will look at it with amusement too. I think it is fair to say at that time these fights were a big deal.

We also had our friendly moments. We were confidants for our secrets. I recollect after we went to bed, we used to chat for long about trivia of our lives those times. Occasionally, our parents would catch wind of our tête-à-têtes and come to our room to ensure we sleep like the good boys we were supposed to be.

We never had deep bonds. I was never the go-to guy for him and vice versa. If I had met him in school or college, he probably would have been an acquaintance or may be even a friend. We wouldn’t have been close friends. Our relationship was the consequence of two lives juxtaposed in the same living space for 20+ years.

But I can assure you - it was never short of liveliness and drama. His relationship added a certain richness to my childhood growing up. It would have otherwise been lesser than what it was, and is.

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