People who have grown up with a brother or sister at home will have innumerable memories. Those which hold the power to moisten your eyes and curve your lips. Those that are a gateway to reminisce about your childhood days, innocence, childishness and a carefree life where the only commitment was to eat, study and sleep. Once the 3 boxes were checked off, we had a life of our own. Stealing siblings food, threatening or blackmailing them to keep our secrets, doing jasoosi and eavesdropping their conversations with friends, performing a victory dance each time when they were punished, behaving like a head of the family on the absence of parents and infinite cherished moments. Those moments, which we would love to re-create, the ones that had made our family bond stronger, and our present asli duniya (world)much lighter.
Being born with a considerable age gap, graduates the first born directly to an “elder one” right from age of 5, epecially during every fight. It doesn’t matter if first born is just 10yrs old or younger one is well above 35 yrs, the younger one remains the small one/chinna paiyan for god knows how long. Only the parents can answer such out of syllabus questions.
My not-so-tiny sibling used to follow my footsteps and actions in all literal sense. Be it, ordering food in a restaurant, wearing dresses, oh yes he cried for my paavadai (HE did) , wanting color-color slippers, chilling out with friends, riding cycle etc etc etc and etc. I used to throw tantrums whenever he did that, and ended up being scolded by parents for being such a spoilsport instead of being proud that my brother took me as a role model. Seriously!!! Role model!!! Parents never suspect our “differently” working brain, ever. They are sweet and naive.
He used to wait till I ordered food and ditto the same dish only to complain that his dish wasn’t the same way as mine, it was either too hot or too much in quantity and would ask for an exchange with mine. He won most of the times, because of that age gap card. Episodes at home were not too far from it. Both of us loved eating from amma’s hands. If it was our favourite he would eat 3 times faster than me. I always excelled in crying than eating faster, hence most of our meal from amma sessions would end with a bawling me. Sharing food was a perpetual problem in our household.
His mathematical skills would shrink if he was asked to share his favourite food. Maggi, Poori-masaal would be shared in 5:95 ratio and chow-chow kootu 98:2. Yes, he disliked some food too.
Coming to that, If I am asked to compare and review the milk supplement brands that had been doing rounds since 1990’s like viva, Maltova, Cadbury, Boost, Horlicks, Bournnvita, complan, Ragimalt I would perform better than our now-foodies, who review all those droolworthy and photogenic food from A to Z restaurants. All thanks to him. His criteria to select a drink supplement was purely based on the freebies they gave out. It just took one shuttle bat, tennis ball, some crappy car, etc for that supplement to shake hands and become friends with our kitchen spices. In a day or 2 he would like just the freebie and not the drink, in-spite of that “mother promise- I will drink this all by myself this time” oath he took every time in front of the store cashier uncle before billing. And I would be sweet talked to drink it, using the same “he is a small boy- he will understand when he grows up” and how we-should-not- waste money counselling sessions.
Stealing food from fridge and leaving behind a sobbing elder sister was a daily scene at our place.
Since he had loved that creepy practice of buying whatever I liked (P.S back in childhood he was a foodie ( theeni pandaram) and so he liked almost everything), we used to store our respective food in different compartments. He inhaled food and I nibbled. Both of our portions lasted for same duration. Till today the mystery of who stole my entire portion remains unsolved, as my innocent parents believe in his gyan that I would have unconsciously finished it.
I wish he was super health conscious, aspiring fitness freak back then too.
Once my father, myself and him went to my mum’s friends place to give them some stuff. They were warm people who extended good hospitality by placing Brittania biscuits in front of us with tea. Courteously my father refused it saying we all were done with our dinner. Also the most important point was that we always had those pillowy white coloured butter biscuits at home and we never liked other biscuits, so my father did not see a point of having them to open the entire packet for us.
But my brother, who did everything different from the usual behavioural pattern, started eating from that plate. Before he was done with 2nd one, we stood up to leave. They politely offered him to take 2 busicuits to eat on our way back. My father cordially denied, only to find his little son pocketing few biscuits in both his shirt and pant pockets. And he innocently looked at my father and questioned “when they are asking me to take it, why are you stopping me” and walked out with that entire packet. For records, he never liked those biscuits and did not eat them too.
Once someone from our neighbourhood had kept his lunch bag outside his house before leaving for work and had went inside to pick up something. As soon as he returned, he noticed his missing lunch bag. The commotion went on for sometime, till people decided to forget that bag and move on with real world. Suddenly my paati found an extra bag at home. The 3 year old sushed her and asked her not to shout as the old man might come back to steal it. She made him understand that the bag belonged to the man and not us, which wasn’t accepted by him. Then after showing the other similar bag we had at our place, she convinced him and returned it back. Isn’t it cute. For my mom this incident has so much meaning attached to it and she frequently brags about her son’s IQ level, quoting this incident even now, probably she might tell his offspring too ( unga appa appa ve avlo smart).
During our physical fights I would have hardly touched him, yet he exceeded Mark Zuckerberg in extending invitations to solve the murder mystery and become police officer.
That always ended up in a sorry state, as both of us were equally punished.
He used to drop me off at the bus stop everyday for the full 4 years of my college life. The distance between the stop and house was short for me to complain and also both of us used to sleep ride. After college, once I rode pillion with him and kept giving him road tips and traffic rules tips all through the way. He was irritated and suddenly stopped the vehicle in a corner of the most busiest road (pondybazar), got down and walked away even before I held the bike. I fell down and the bike fell on me. That was enough to attract the attention of a shocked crowd, who came to my rescue. Two people in the crowd piped in to give me some free advice “We don’t understand how you girls believe such rude guys and love them. This fellow will leave you in the streets”!!. Even though I was hurting, I smiled and told them he was my own brother. They grinned sheepishly and walked away. When I look back today, I miss all those fights, his childishness (not that he has grown up now😎), and bossing around him. I have many more stories to tell, lifelong memories to share. Happy ones, angry ones, poignant ones and those that can easily get lost in the real time, day to day life challenges. I am Grateful to God for giving me such a naughty and angry sibling who is still the chinna payyan of our house, “according to my parents”. May Karma work and God bless you with over dramatic off springs and same God make your nephew a caring, sweet guy well behaved kid.
Except for the picture I drew rest of the images were taken by googling…
Credits to the original sites which had them