When my sister was born, my dad was quite happy. Contented. A few years later, my mom wanted to have another baby. “But we’re doing just fine. Why do we need another one?” My father asked. Now, he wasn’t being rude or anything. Only puzzled. Not that he had anything against a second baby, but…that was his opinion. He was happy with a single child. Not my mom. She wanted another. “I want a boy. And something tells me this time round we’ll have him.”My dad’s a scientist. So you can well imagine his reaction to that ‘intuitive’ sentence. But well, they went ahead and had another one. Me.
My sister was one of the most over-protective big sisters in the locality. “Give him back, your one minute is over.” Yeah, THAT over protective. And as a small kid I’d tag along like a pooh doll wherever she went. And she didn’t mind one bit. She’d bully me, boss over me, give me a dressing down, but in the end, I was her li’l brother, her ‘puppy’ as she’d call me lovingly.
Some boys are destructive by nature. Well....most are. No prizes for guessing what I was. My sister had a doll with lovely hair. One day she returned from school to find Persis Khambatta of Star Trek instead of her beautiful doll. Awash in tears, she ran to mom. When they stood over me, my answer? ‘But it’ll grow right back, won’t it?’
When in her 6th standard, she went away to boarding school. She’s been an independent person all her life and the fact that she’d have to live hundreds of miles away from her parents and little brother did sadden her, but didn’t break her. She wanted to be a dancer. And she’d do anything for it. Kalakshetra, Chennai. She trained in Bharathanatyam (A classical dance) and completed her post graduation after ten long years at boarding school. Of course she visited us twice every year. I think only once dad went all the way to Chennai to bring her home. The next time on, she was on her own. ‘I’ll be fine, appa,” was all she said. My father agreed. He was confident about her. She was his ‘big’ girl.
I myself was in boarding school for 5 years. I’ve never thought about my 'akka' (big sister in our mother tongue) and me consciously. We were a pair of ordinary siblings. We’ve never been very expressive about each other’s love. But during our teens and adolescence she was always there to guide me when I needed a ‘girl’s’ point of view. There’s not been a single raksha bandhan when I’ve not worn her rakhi. Not one. The distance never mattered. Though she’s never lived with us throughout she’s always been there. We’ve had our fair share of childhood escapades. Thrashing from parents. But we’ve never really lived together for an extended period of time.
I guess distance makes the heart grow fonder. And in my case, this distance has always made me respect my sister that much extra. Love her that much extra. To me she’ll always be my loving ‘akka’. And I’ll remain her ‘puppy’. I'm always there for her, and she for me.
Happy Raksha Bandhan, big sis.. And yeah, I received your rakhi, as always. A day in advance.