It is strange that two people born to the same set of parents, brought up in the same house, exposed to various chapters of the same book with the difference of just a year, can have very different memories of what their respective childhoods felt and looked like. I was the child people thought their kids should learn a thing or two from because I was ‘a good kid’. Not only did I score well enough to have my name written on the board on the day of report card collection every year till 10th grade, but I also brought home trophies and the excitement of having received compliments for the way I recited a poem or expressed my opinions in a debate. To make it worse for the kids of the parents who thought mine had done something extraordinary in their previous births to have a daughter like me, I was a calm child- neither a prankster nor obstinate. But Rohan, my younger brother was not among the class toppers, had weaknesses the world could easily witness and didn’t put on a cute fake smile to please the people around him to fall in the category of ‘good kids’. He didn’t contemplate too hard to find his calling and did not put in unnecessary efforts to impress people and despite the beauty his heart is made up of, his childhood was full of ‘is she YOUR sister?’, ‘look at her!’, ‘you should take her help, she is so good!’ and it is a long list I am too embarrassed to reveal. Yes, I didn’t intend to hurt the man I love the most today, nor did our parents pressurize him to be a certain way but I am responsible for the comparisons he was subjected to and the humiliation he must have felt a thousand times, because while my mom would say something about his strengths and try to be a shield for her son, I would just bask in the glory of the attention I got, not worrying much about how damaging it could be for the self esteem of my little brother. I never raised my voice to point out that it was unfair to have a classification system to rate someone’s intelligence, to compare two people who look at the world in two very different ways, to let the marks scored by one sibling conceal the other’s intellect.
Rohan passed his final year examinations last year and is a doctor now. So while I type this, he is looking after the sick in the times we are afraid to touch even the healthiest humans we know. That average kid is capable of healing today, while his good sister is trying to join some confusing pieces to make her professional life attain an understandable picture, trying to figure out what exactly she wants from life.
I would not be surprised if my brother accused me of not being the sister I should have been to him, but he chose to love me unconditionally. I wonder if I could make it look like a cakewalk like he did if I were to wear his shoes, but Rohan has taught me that categories and divisions are created by us, with or without the intention of unnecessarily forcing someone to be a certain way, but kindness and compassion are already there and if you nurture the latter group, you love like my brother does and your sister writes paragraphs for you!