Popular and loved among her friends, a teacher’s pet all her academic life, my sister Sophie, carries her name around with a big capital S. As a young girl, she was unanimously voted as the school captain and her fan list could put any rock star to shame. In college, she graduated with flying colors in ‘tronics engineering, and from what I’ve heard, she ran quite a revolution there as well. Today, she is a proud mother of two charming girls, loving wife and a top class professional.
Having spewed all these praises, would it surprise you if I said, she used to be my sworn enemy while growing up? Yes, we were. The worst kind one could find. She calm and accepting of the whole world, found her only source of irritation to be me. Anything I did or said she couldn’t digest. Of course, the feelings were mutual. Mediocre in school and college, I wasn’t someone any parent could be proud of. In fact just the opposite was true. Notorious for my time, robbing spare change from my mom’s kitchen and and forging dad’s signature on poor scoring test papers, my reputation often preceded me. But, where the usual scientifically proven sibling rivalry had to be, there stood a proud me. Yes, in spite of only pure hatred towards her, I secretly reveled in her glory and fame. Here’s why – Except for my folks, the rest of the world, because of our similar looks, assumed that the genealogy carried into character and grey matter as well. Teachers liked me just as much as they did her. I had no dearth for friends, though that had nothing to do with Sophie, she sure gave me ample subject matter to boast about. Where ever she was invited, by sheer virtue of association I got invited too. And since I lacked the wisdom or self respect to refuse such invites, I got to enjoy all the fortunes of the better privileged . Obviously such shamelessness on my part only aggravated the situation further. Her detest increased in multifold and I reciprocated the same with every fiber of my being.
So, how did she transform from the antagonist in my life, to a person I need to speak to or speak about every single day? Honestly speaking, I don’t know. It could have been, when we moved away from each other to study in colleges far away from home. Or, when we sort solace in each other while helping dad fight the big C. It might have been, while we struggled through the usual comical/tragical episodes of a dysfunctional family, or while I stood by her through the agonizing Indian(arranged marriage) process of finding a suitable boy. Or, was it, when she lent a listening ear while I battled with a broken heart or when she let me buy more stuff for MYSELF than she did for herself, while we shopped for HER wedding? I’m not sure.
But, whatever it was that brought about the transformation, I’m glad it happened. Because, if not for her, I wouldn’t have ever known that anyone could actually blow up their entire(almost), first meager paycheck, to buy you a jacket just because you were too arrogant and said, that was all you liked, and she loved you too much, to refuse. At the risk of sounding too sappy I have to admit that, she is my mirror and my very opposite.
I Love you, Sophie. Happy Birthday!!
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