You want something? Like, want it really bad ASAP? And it’ll harm none?
Here’s what you got to do!
Sounds extreme? It sure is. But, come on, desperate times call for desperate measures!
You’re ready to protest? Well, you better get yourself a slogan.
You’ve got a slogan? Well, you better mug it up.
You’ve mugged it up? Well, you better go into parrot mode and start the litany. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between, anytime, anyplace, just start.
That’s my idea and it works.
When I was five, I went to a birthday party. Had fun, raised a tiny hell, and got into a nasty I-know-best argument with a friend. In the end, because none of us was ready to back down, she tried blackmail. She had a brother, while I had no sibling. She could play with him, while I would be alone. So if I wanted to not be alone, I’d better say sorry and submit to her will. What I did was walk off, high and mighty as you please.
When I did that, I was running on a fatal combination of ego and impulse. Her words hadn’t had the effect of upsetting me, not then. But, once I was done stewing, I got to thinking how much I hated being an only child. Alright, I had friends and it wouldn’t be true if I say I was lonely. I had my parents to keep me occupied even if I don’t count friends. But every bond is different and not replaceable. So I wondered what it would be like to have a sister and told my mom that I wanted one. Mind, a sister, not a brother! No offence to all the wonderful guys out there, without you life would lose a color or two (maybe!), but at the age of five, to me you were a bug I’d have loved to squash, burn the leftovers and bury the ash in a dirty, smelly place.
Mom brushed me off. I tried a number of times to talk but neither my mother, nor father was willing to listen. So I decided I’d had enough and it was time for drastic measures i.e. protest, non-violent, of course.
I wrote me a slogan: I want a sister. It took me about ten seconds to mug it up, thirty to run to my mom and no time at all to head boots-first into parrot mode. Throw tears into the mix, it was a done deal. A few days down the line, I got a promise out of my parents that they’d get me a sister.
The days went by with me singing to everyone I was getting a sister and whoever had the bad luck of telling me I should pray for a brother received kicks and snarls from me, literally. I am not particularly proud of it, but I kicked my grandmother because she told me a brother is nicer. A sister would steal my dresses, people said, and a whole lot of other things. I’d simply tell them they were dumb and run to my mom. She always said God listened to kids and if I wanted a sister, I’ll have one.
Not a day went by without me praying once a day, and any time the urge hit me, for a sister. It was a ritual.
Then it was D-Day.
I’ll never forget it as I’d walked into the hospital and the doctor, who loved teasing me on the only-a-sister-will-do subject, congratulated me on becoming an elder sister to a little brother. I looked at her for a while, thinking she was crazy. When she gave me the stern look, I broke into tears, right there in the lobby.
I bet the doctor hadn’t have seen that coming!
She told me she was pulling my leg and my just-born sibling was, in fact, a little girl. My father assured me of the same. I scowled at the doctor and demanded to see my sister. Thank heavens I don’t have a younger brother, he’d have never let me live that one down, crying at his birth, that is.
I was taken to the ward where my mother lay next to a little bundle. I am not clear on the specifics, but I can recall it enough to say that all I saw was that little bundle.
She was so tiny and so red. Nothing, nothing whatsoever, can beat the wonder of seeing her for the first time. Those huge roving eyes of hers, they caught me by the heart.
At seven years, two months and eight days (yup, I counted days!) I was finally an elder sister. My, that was as much a novelty as a responsibility.
I felt big. I had a younger sister, I told myself, I’ll have to take care of her, make sure no one messes with her and if they do they’ll answer to me. My god, to think of all that I’d thought back then makes me feel just a little silly, but mostly it makes me happy—happy because, thirteen years and some months later, my thoughts haven’t changed much.
I’ve loved her since the moment I set eyes on her, and that love has grown with each passing day.
Being an elder sister isn’t easy. It’s a hell of a task, and I’ve loved every moment of it, well, mostly.
Younger siblings, as I am sure many would attest, can be a pest. No one nags better than them. Mom, she isn’t playing with me. Mom, she went out alone. Mom, she did this, she did that. Hell, they have the dramatics down pat.
I couldn’t go out and play with my friends without my sister waddling after me. Couldn’t walk properly, but the little missy had to follow me. I distinctly remember whining about it, but in the end, even if mom relented, the sneaky girl would turn her puppy eyes on me and I was putty in her hands.
She wanted to do everything I did. I liked climbing up a guava tree in our backyard and whenever I did, she’d start scratching the damn bark till I got down. Imagine my audacity to I go up there without her! So I’d boost her up on a low, sturdy branch. She’d start crying. It wasn’t okay for her to be up there alone, she wanted me there too. It was a part of her sister code: sisters stick together. Period!
Memories like that, each one dear to my heart, dominate the pages of my life.
She’s my little darling, my baby sister. It’s a hard task, trying to not let her down ever, because she looks up to me. If she’s sad she runs to me, if she’s happy she runs to me, if she wants advice she runs to me, basically, she runs to me. That’s an honor, a responsibility I’ll never take lightly.
I don’t know how others feel about their siblings, I know I’d give anything to bring a smile on my baby sister’s face. Because there’s no one like her and her smile, to me, is the most precious thing in the world, after her, of course.
Siblings fight. Siblings make up. And you know what, they rock. Hate them, love them, you can’t do without them!