Sunday, August 22, 2010


The first thing I asked when I saw him was, Maa, is bhai a boy or a girl? I was disappointed that he didn’t look like a doll I was expecting. He was thin, gangly and cried all the time.

Even though he was my long-awaited sibling, I just couldn’t get myself to love him. In one stroke, he had taken away all the attention from me. All of a sudden, my Maa and Baba were just not mine anymore. I was expected to share their love – God, I so resented it.

He was a bright, naughty baby, hopelessly attached to his working Mum. Every morning when she left for work, he would cry his heart out. It broke her heart to leave her baby behind. We had a procession of maids, hired to take care of him. Most of them were characters, though a few of them did love him.

When he was two, I made him drink an entire bottle of Amritdharaa. It used to be a tiny bottle, a drop of it in a glass of water was meant to cure nausea. He vomited non-stop. I stood quietly behind the door, a little guilty, a little scared, watching my befuddled Mum take care of him. Years later, when my sis-in-law (his wife) told me how she tried to smother her li’l sis with a pillow, I almost hugged her in relief.

We used to have a large window in living room, overlooking the street below. The window was his favourite hangout zone and he would often send stuff from our house flying down. The passersby’s would look up in surprise, while I would go running down to retrieve our lost treasures.

He was and still is extremely sensitive. He loved to sketch and had a special fascination for my nose. We loved to make fun of each other and I always won hands down. My victory would not go down well with him and he would react with rage. Both of us would go running all around the house, toppling furniture, me letting out a scream that would put even a banshee to shame and we would end up in fistfights. His sister, six and a half years older to him would get beaten up. But I had my sweet ways of getting back at him. I think it was his 11th birthday, his best friend Mithu had gifted him a large box of mint chocolates. The boys were busy partying in the living room. I opened the box and popped into my mouth the most divine chocolate I had ever tasted. I would run to the drawing room, pep up the boys and run back to the bedroom and devour handfuls of those wickedly delicious things. By the end of the party I had finished the entire box. Needless to say, he was furious and attempted to kill me.

So imagine my surprise, when I see him sobbing helplessly at the eve of my bidaai. There I was, an excited bride, with dreams in my eyes and I see him filled with anguish. Wait, this was not supposed to happen, wasn’t he supposed to feel overjoyed that he will finally get our room to himself, get all my lovingly collected books, the cupboard, not having to fight over the music system? It took me 22 years to realize that my brother actually loved me.

It’s been nineteen years of separation. He is married now and his demanding job keeps him terribly busy. But I still think of his breaking into an impromptu, joyful hippo the pota pota mus mus mus rendition at the first sighting of the majestic animal at the Bangalore zoo, and it makes me smile. All those action movies he made me watch, how we used to gang up to play pranks on others. Why, we even ganged up and made my then fiancé the subject of our pranks. He was far from amused.

We are different as chalk and cheese, he will insist he is the cheese. He never tires of calling me fat (even though am far from that) and loves regaling my daughter with stories of my misdemeanours. He conveniently forgets to tell her how I fought with Maa to jack-up in his monthly allowance and loved pampering him silly when I started working. He is now father to the most adorable baby on Earth. Gia never drools and rarely cries. Her eyes light up when she sees her Dad, but I think she will grow up to be her Mama’s girl.

This Raksha Bandhan, we might not meet and just text each other our wishes. As such, we hardly keep in touch and he NEVER reads my blog, his wife does. Yet, I have tears in my eyes as I write this story of a brother and sister who never need to spell out their emotions yet feel close to each other. Maa, you needn’t worry about us growing apart.


  1. U din't set my ass of fire......on the flip side.....nicely penned!

  2. an awww post!
    your human side revealed!!

  3. Awwwww .. I can actually feel the warmth in this post. The most touching part was his sobbing on the eve of your bidaai.

    I guess this is the story of most siblings in India - they hate each other but they also love each other to bits!

  4. Love this post; can relate to so much of it. :)

  5. Soooper post.
    Yes that is how the brother-sister sister-brother (take which ever you want :P) relationships are. Very well written, could relate so much to it.
    But on the other side it is really fun to have elder sisters :).

    Happy Raksha Bandhan.

  6. @ Stoned...Always expecting the worst!

    magiceye..Yea, after the vampire act it was badly required.

    Kiran...Yea and they forget to tell each other that they still care.

  7. a traveller.. Glad you did :))

    Muddassir...Tell that to him!! Elder sisters are heaven sent LOL

  8. Even if i dont celebrate Rakhi ( for I do not have a sister), I can feel the emotional touch and longing in your post.. You truly are a great sister..

  9. Beautiful is one word to describe this. Happy Rakshabandan's n i am sure his wife makes him read this n he would feel a proud brother!

  10. Abhishek...Tell him that!!!

    nkr...LOL, the first comment is his :)
    He had no choice.

  11. Incredibly beautiful and heart-warming, Purba. I can't say I relate to this for I'm an only child, but I always wished I had a baby sister when I was younger.
    Your brother would certainly be proud and your mum absolutely does not need to worry!
    Happy Rakshabandhan. :)

  12. hippo the pota pota mus mus mus ???!!! Hilarious !!! And I cannot believe you guys played pranks on Avijit !!! How did you get away with it ???

  13. Happy Rakshabandhan to you D2 :)

    Sug...Oh we did and he sulked, Sulked and SULKED.

  14. Any amount of maara maari,sisters never miss loving their brothers.That is why I always say that women are the real strength of this country.I have not seen such loving sisters in any part of the world.

  15. Purba,

    one of your best IMHO. or maybe I feel so because I really relate to it.

    Till date I am closer to Didi than to my parents!


  16. you made me go back to my childhood Purba :)

    even I use to fight alot with my brother for anything from TV remote to cupboard sharing...

    I have not been with him from past 4 raksha bandhan.... but now I feel that under all that fight so much love was hidden....

    Nice post :)

  17. Oh Purba! The best gift for you and your brother would be if he read this! :) Wife-of-brother, Please get him to read this.

    Talking of siblings, my sister had decided to dump me in a dustbin if I were a boy. Thank Heavens, I turned out this way!

  18. BK Chowla...For most of us family is sacrosanct and our first priority.

    RS...Appreciate your honest opinion.
    LOL @ blog-te-raho

    Sweta...He even used to count the number of dresses I had and then raise a stink :))

    And thank you :)

    mazingout..Really!! that desperate for a sister? So sweet :)

    I made him read it..he had no choice ;)

  19. My elder bro used to love me and I hated him, because unlike others, in my home he was the pampered one.
    I didn't understand how only my parents, among all other parents, loved the eldest more than the youngest.
    A few years back I realized the reason, he never had many years to live a normal life.
    He looked like a movie star with so much innocence on his face, though he could not walk around and I eventually started to love him.
    I always wished for a little sis, too bad mom decided 2 naughty boys were more than enough!
    Love this post. I felt slightly emotional after reading it.

  20. Purba, that was really nicely just the right time.:)

  21. Hey Purba
    I have a younger sis only... who i love to pieces. When we were kids.. i made a salt water mixture and told her to taste it. I said that we had to test some chemical for poison and since she was the adopted child who was found in a garbage can, no one would really miss her. So she did.. sobbing. While i tried keeping a straight face. Then I told her it was a trick and she ran off to tell mom who ofcourse could not for the life of her understand why I would do such things. But I am so glad to know other older siblings who did evil things to their younger siblings. Happy Raksha bandhan!

  22. And your comment tugged at my heart strings, Girish :)

    Amit...Jeez all of you love tearjerkers.

    Curry Spice...ROFL
    We should initiate an "evil siblings" forum.

  23. Sisters. Hmm.

    For this Rakshabandhan, I received, amongst others:

    1. A Harry Potter rakhi, with a Harry so horrendous he looks like Voldermort himself.

    2. A rakhi with the lead character of Paa (I forgot his name). Without fingers. And big teeth.

    I have to wear this to office tomorrow. And no, if you were thinking I can get away with long sleeves, I can't because these rakhis are wider than my hand.

    The only reason Rakshabandhan would have made up for its nuisance value was if it were a holiday.

    And it isn't.

  24. What a lovely and heart warming post! This is Curry Spice's younger sister and although she did in fact do some evil things to me while we were growing up - rest assured I got back at her plenty ~

    1. Handing over her teenage diary to my mom (i regret doing this but it still cracks us up since it had A LOT details about her back then crushes. my poor mom must have died of a heart attack several times reading things her hormone-raging daughter was writing).

    2. My sister would never wake up thanks to an alarm. It would go off and she wouldnt budge. I would unfortunately have to get up and turn it off and kiss my sleep goodbye. However, she would wake up from a phone call - and go running through the house to be the first to answer the phone. So, I would call this 3 digit number which upon dialing and hanging up - would call our number back - but nobody would be at the opposite end of the number. lolol - i still cant stop cracking up as I would innocently sit on our couch and watch her jump out of bed, and run like a mad person to the phone and answer it with raging anticipation and then realize that nobody was at the other end of the line. It took her a while to figure out I was doing this to her - haha! so dont underestimate a younger sibling :D

  25. I think the 'evil sibling' forum has begun!!!!

  26. Some things are better left unsaid. To each one his/her own. However, more than the actual interactions it is what is the guiding motivation for them to act which is most interesting. Your narration is able to capture that. gr8 post on Raksha Bandhan day, I would say.

  27. Karthikay...Are your sisters toddlers? Next time do yourself a favour, don't let them shop for rakhi.

    Miss Cultured Purl...Wow girl, you are a genius!! But from I read in your sister's profile, it was you who egged her on to document her passion for cooking.

    Curry Spice...Yo! and who's judging?

    Atul...Yes, you don't always need to spell out your emotions.
    And thank you...glad you liked it.

  28. Yes Purba, I did egg her on to document her passion for cooking - simply coz whenever she would cook for me - it would be absolutely delicious - and when I would ask her how she made it - she would reply, "ummm i cant remember exactly... ummm you can do abc but it wont turn out the same..."
    So the joke was on me. Not only was I eating something absolutely divine - it would be the last time I would get to savor it... thus the blog idea - which I figured who serve as a recipe referral for me. Little did I know it would actually be so great - her talent for documenting things beautifully in pictures really shines through. I guess siblings are also good for things other than evil pranks :D

  29. Your post makes me wish I had a sister but well I have two younger brothers who are the best in the world, they take car of my like I am the youngest despite me being their older sibling :-)

  30. So so so nice...
    As BKC said...women power true power

  31. @ Purl...Both the sisters are extremely talented.

    Shaid..How the hell did you manage that - getting pampered by your younger brothers?

    Jon..Aww thanks :)

  32. That's the funny part. My sisters are a decade older than me!

  33. Purba, a touching post. I have a contrasting story to say. It is about my little princess. You are lucky enough to have a wonderful bro, ain't you?

  34. Kartikay...Ahh, so in their mind you are still the toddler you were.

    Anto...Younger sis? sweet :)

  35. hey Purba,
    Wonder post..i nearly went on tears as I am an elder sister too and has done almost the same pranks..beautifully written.. :)

    You can read about my bro here.

  36. lovely post touching and shows your deep love for your bro...
    I guess that is what matters in the end..

  37. heyithinkthisway ...will be reading your post soon.

    Aww thanks LP:))

  38. I can SO relate to this- i'm an elder sibling too!

    The little funny-naughty instances you've given are touching. Especially the part where you get married and you realize your true love.

    Yes, it's PISSING off when your loved ones don't read your stuff, but i'm glad you both realize the love that exists, however dormant :)

    One question- HOW do you sprinkle to put in your brand of humor so subtly, even in the most serious of posts?!! It's awesome, love your style :)

  39. Hey purba! this showed your soft side. liked it. esp the bidai scene, girls would be girls!!

    btw, a typo in last sentence.

  40. Avi...I should I have titled it "ghar-ghar ki kahani" :))
    About the brand of homour, it's my way of coping with reality.

    Restless...The typo? couldn't locate it!

    And yea most of us have a soft, emotional side to us.

  41. Kamaal ka post...hehhe...and I still do remember this Amritdhara thing. A drop with sugar used to cure don't know how many illnesses.

    Really sweet this post is :)

  42. If I know women, I bet your brother gets the line by line recount of your blog post everyday...he will never need to read it!
    I love this post...especially since I don't have a sisters, 2 of them, are as girlish as I am tomboyish...would have bonded handsomely with one...lucky you!
    I bet you both will find the time as you grow older to re-bond and celebrate siblingness!

  43. Dhakkanz..Thank god, there's someone alive who remembers Amritdhara.

    Nalini... You now have your two sons for company :)

  44. Oh. My. God.

    I had a goosebumby read, and towards the end, there was a lump in my throat. Loved reading it. :)

    SO beautifully and warmly expressed.

  45. new philippines..Always try to

    bustlingwoods...So glad you liked it :))

  46. Hey Purba!! its a lovely lovely lovely post!! I could totally relate to it as i too have a younger brother.And we fight on the same things and have the same issues.but i guess it takes a bidaai to realize he really cares.

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