April 30, 2010

Sibling Inequation

The other night, I had nothing to do. My sister was working on her term-paper, and I was trying to enjoy the drizzle, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and munching on lemon-biscuits. The very fact that she and I were in the same room was a rare occurrence, not because we are estranged or are not fond of each other, but because despite lodging under the same roof, we lead such stark contrasting lives, that our paths hardly cross, which is weird in a city like Calcutta, where everyone knows everyone and she and I are separated by just three academic years, and have been in colleges whose students’ lives entwine quite often- J.U. and Presidency. We do chat once in a while. But on an average day, our interaction stays limited to three sentences in the morning, four at night.She and I have always been remarkably different people. Despite fundamentally advocating to similar views, having been brought up in the same atmosphere, we are as dissimilar as siblings can get. For most of our childhoods, she and I attended the same school. Throughout school, she was the quieter kid. She had fewer friends and she stuck to books and cartoons longer than I did. She was always a class-topper and retained that position with unflinching grit, never for once letting it out of her kitty. I, on the other hand, got along famously well with all of my classmates, I was definitely more outgoing, and more popular among my peers. I had my books and cartoons as well, but I shifted to Prime Time Television sooner than her. Though neither of us was particularly fond of the teachers in our school, she definitely avoided trouble with greater adroitness than I ever did. I was always at loggerheads with my teachers, most of whom found my presence in their classes severely distressing. Academically, I managed to retain my position within the Top-Three of the class and topped my class several times as well. However, Priyadarshini Goswami always remained a steadier example of a scholar for younger students of the school. We did certain things alike though. We hated returning from Calcutta after vacations. We collected Pokemon 3-D figures and tazos, shared a distaste for Mathematics, and I replaced her as the school’s safe-bet for Extempore/ Debates/Creative Writing Competitions.
She passed out of school with an all time record-high percentage of marks in the science stream (Sample: A ‘99’ in Physics) and went on to take up English for her graduate course when the norm was Medical/ Engineering for Science Students. This was another one of the few similarities between the individuals that the two of us are, that when I too passed out of school with a decent enough percentage, I wanted to follow her example and take up English too. But my destiny sent me into the Vortex of Economics and well, since then, we have grown further apart.
She and I have hardly ever had mutual interests. She hated Bollywood movies, while I went gaga over them. She was the first woman (and the only one, for a long time) I knew who hated Shah Rukh Khan. Neither did she ever realize my passion for World Cinema. Yes, we read the same kind of literature – Marquez, Ray and the Victorian Era, but she reads a lot more than I shall probably ever be able to fathom. I thrive on Country music, Queen and The Beatles, on Vintage Rock, and lot of obscure stuff, on 1960’s Bollywood music- Geeta Dutt and Lata Mangeshkar while she has been, for a long time, been unyieldingly devoted to Death Metal, Thrash Metal and all the other brutal musical genres. Back in our childhood, she and I would vote diametrically opposite sounding songs of a particular soundtrack our favorites from the soundtrack. Also,throughout our childhood, we were surrounded by non-Bengali people who she always disliked. She hated the language Hindi and never cared to learn to speak it.On the other hand, many of my best friends were Punjabi/Gujarati/Marwari and I got along with them effortlessly. Infact, my knowledge of Punjabi was far greater than hers though she was the one born there. And I've always adored Hidni. On an aggregate level, she was always the more 'phoren maal' and my inclinations have always been chiefly 'desi'.Also over time, we have changed remarkably as people. Ever since she joined college in 2006, she opened up progressively. And after I relocated to Calcutta in 2007, I started mellowing down. Now I find it quite difficult to make conversation with a stranger. In other words, my social awkwardness is slowly reaching its pinnacle while she has almost completely erased off any such un coordination.So, the other night, we spoke for a long time. I got to know a lot about her life, her boyfriend, her music, her clique, her addictions. And we both had another epiphany regarding how different our lives are and how little we know about each other despite seeing each other speak on the phone, move around, work on the Internet and have dinner everyday. I still can’t relate with her life at all and I’m sure neither can she with mine. Yet, despite the love-hate relationship we’ve shared, the obvious rivalry that follows, and the mutually-acknowledged nonchalance about each other’s day-to-day affairs, I definitely am very fond of her and I know she feels the same about me.

Trivia: She and I often joke about how she should have been born a boy and I a girl.


Riddhi G.D said...

This has got to b my favorite post by you.
Ever. I know exactly what you mean over here.

Anobik said...

I have 2 elder sisters and we are as wide apart we could afford to be. Not that we hate each other but.. don't know.

Anyway nice post. Bravo!

Ritwik Goswami said...

@Riddhi: Certain things about my sister are like you too. Like the distaste for non-Bangalis.

@Anobik : Thanks for the comment. I'd like to know about your personal Sibling Inequation in detail as well :)

Jadis said...

I'm more *proud* than fond of you.

My little bro's all grown up. :)