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In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips

Time flies faster than we can imagine.  A little girl who is the ''music" of our home is now celebrating her birthday, continents apart. Her birthday is on January 6th and it brought back many sweet childhood memories. She is away from home but never far from our thoughts or my heart. 

Geethu and I, as sisters, grew up together and as most of those who know us already will know, we are absolute opposites but we complement each other in a beautiful way. But let me confess, growing up with a super intelligent kid who could breathe, think and talk science and maths like a pro was a traumatic experience for the older sibling - namely, me. It didn't help that she was also one of the best in all types of sports and we had no space to keep all the certificates and prizes she won for her school in different sports categories. Well, I spared my parents the trauma of having to store my certificates or trophies of glory by not having! 

What I think is most amazing is how my parents have never compared the two of us in any category but they have been quietly proud of the unique strengths we had, which in a strange way, complemented one another. 

Often, at PTMs and other social interactions, I see many young parents compare their children's strengths and weaknesses with other people in front of their kids. Siblings have feelings too when compared and I wish parents respected that. Of course, I am not a child expert here but I do know that I am glad my parents never did that to me.

As my sister and I grew older, our bond became stronger and more mature. We sought each other's opinions on everything that matters to us. We always had opposite opinions on most things, but that has never caused a dent in our relationship. 

Differences apart, there is also an unspoken code that runs true for us as it often does between most sisters - you mess with one, the other is out for your blood - don't even dream of being forgiven. 

I can take criticism about myself but the slightest criticism about my sister - you've had it and you've earned an unforgiving enemy for life. I am being very candid about this here. This is how I am and I think that this is how most sisters are when it comes to each other. 

Now, as we grow older and sillier, not any wiser with each other, we find ourselves sharing every little thing with each other. She has a practical, methodical approach to solving day-to-day challenges. Her time-management and planning skills are amazing. She starts her day as early as 3 AM and is very clear about what to get done at each time slot. We are each other's strongest critics and yet we are much crazier about each other's kids. My sister has the quirkiest sense of humor and the target is usually......well, me. She makes me laugh like no one else and she knows me best. 

I can't help saying that she also happens to be one of the very few people in my life whose love I take for granted. I know that no matter what I say or do, she will stick with me. 

Throughout the years, she has always stood by my decisions and when I went through some of the toughest tests in my life, she gave me the courage to believe that everything happens for a reason and while that reason may not be apparent, it is what will help us to grow and be strong.

My mother always used to long for a sister because there are many things that you can share only with a sister. She used to say that Geethu and I are so lucky to have each other. While we were growing up, we used to scowl every time she said this. But now we say this to our children because we want them to know that they are lucky to have each other and we want the bond between us to continue to grow through our children.

When Adi was born, Geethu's batchmates traveled all the way from Marthandam to Kochi just to see my son. They came as a group to stay at home and they were so overwhelmed to hold a newborn baby and I felt my heart burst with happiness because though I didn't know her friends well, they had undertaken a long journey and come all the way to welcome my baby.

I am still in touch with them because every relationship is sacred in our life and they have a special place in the journey of our hearts.

Life has taught me that people we expect nothing from surprise us all the time. For the same reason, I try very hard to nurture all relationships just as I have seen my father do. If he has helped ten people, probably one person remembers and the rest move on in life without even thanking him. I have seen him remain unperturbed by this. 

While I don't have my father's patience, I do understand that human nature is complex and that no matter how much we try, we always fall short in the eyes of another. You could help someone find a decent job that helps his/her family in a significant way and later find that same person work against you. How others behave is never in our control, how we behave is a reflection of our core human values and that is within our control.

I find that children are different from grown ups - they respond to love and attention, like a flower opens up to sunshine. This is why I want to talk to my niece every day - that she is a miniature replica of me puts me in a fun spot because I feel like I am talking to a facet of myself and having lots of fun! [Do read2016: The Year That Taught Me That Nothing is Impossible]

When my nephew Vihaan talks to me about his school and my niece Aishani calls out my name, every morning when I call her on Viber, I feel an ocean of love swell up within my heart. 

They are mine to love and cherish as much as they are my sister's.

And I tell Adi what my mother once told me, "You are blessed to have each other because this relationship is what will hold you to each other always."

I still miss the daily squabbles with my sister. But you know, it gets difficult to pick fights across continents.

"In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips."  — Whoever said that, you got it right!


Vishnu said…
Wow, what a testament of the love for your sister, Swapna :) I am not sure I could write a post like this about my 2 brothers ! : )
Krish Govardhan said…
Every word feels like its coming from your heart. All those memories and feelings, along with the quote fits in really nice.
I can't relate to this personally (Only Child!), but I know a few like you and your sister and honestly sometimes that makes people like us a little jealous!
Great title too!

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