To Sisters, With Love
In a book, titled ‘Siblings’, written by Anna Quindlen, she writes: “I don’t understand how people learn to live in the world if they haven’t had siblings. . . . Everything I learned about negotiation, territoriality, coexistence, dislike, inbred differences and love despite knowledge I learned from [her siblings]. . . . In some essential way, they were my universe, even more than my parents.” True, siblings are the most intimate companions that we have in our lives. We share our parents and most of our closest belongings with them. They have seen us at our best and our worst. Perhaps, they are the ones who are most well-acquainted with our strengths as well as weaknesses. And being our contemporaries, we share a better level of understanding and communication with them than our parents. “A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.” Sisters, irrespective of whether they are young or old, are one of life’s most precious treasures. The ecstasy, the need, the love, the resentments, the deep, abiding comfort that a sister evokes is unparalleled. They can be our best friends and worst enemies!! If she is younger to us, she will be no less than a doll!! It often happens that the coming of a new one in the family gives rise to feelings of envy and bitterness in the older sibling, since the little one gets all the attention and pampering, but as she grows up, the baby sis is a bundle of sheer joy!! Eventually, everything about her becomes a part of our life, be it her pink frocks, Barbies, playhouses, or her celebrity tantrums!! Once both the siblings attain an age of maturity, the age difference diminishes, and they come to co-exist more as friends. Sisters are the ones who will be the first to know who you first crush is, or which class you bunked in school. To explore the entire dynamics of brother-sister or sister-sister relationship is far too complex, but a lot is determined by gender, age, birth order and spacing. For example, the relationship between sisters born a year apart will be dramatically different from that which will be if the sisters were born five years apart. Also, this relationship goes through many changes as sisters’ age. Brothers/sisters, who do not get along very well with a sister during childhood, may grow up to be blindly fond of her, and vice-versa. But the fact remains undeniable that elder sisters are our very first guides, academically and otherwise. We do not simply learn our first alphabets from them, but also the life-values of adjustment, compromise and the like. They are looked up to as role models by their younger siblings. In that way, sisters are the most influential figures in a child’s life. They are our very first playmates, cheering us when we win, and even letting us win at times. They teach us the lessons of sharing, helping our parents, perseverance and sincerity. In a nutshell, they lay the foundation of our moral and spiritual character. All siblings can testify to the fact that at some point in their lives, they have had disagreements with their sisters, and have seen her as an unsolicited intruder, a rival in affections, an unwanted advisor, someone whom we have to “put up” with, but in the end, we are incomplete without them. Through different stages of life, we take clues from them, either directly through open communication or indirectly through observation as to how to deal with life’s expectations. For, sisters are the ones who play basketball/housie with us, encourage us to learn a musical instrument, help us cope with the growing demands of independence, responsibility and accountability. They inculcate in us the need to prioritize and negotiate at every step of life. Parental supervision and/or intervention are not exercised or acceptable in all areas, it is then when sisters inevitably come to our aid. And it is interesting to note, that not only elder sisters, but even younger ones, when they reach a proper age, can help us with life’s grave issues. They often open our eyes to newer perspectives, have a candid dialogue and counsel us in times of turmoil, and make us see the brighter side of things. Leave alone their melodramatic temperament and childlike mannerisms that they often resort to, in order to distract us from our troubles. Thus, we never cease to love and learn from our sisters. The sense of belongingness that they generate is a joy to revel in!! Our home and hearts are filled with so much more colour and life with SISTERS!!