Friday, October 27, 2006

Sibling Rivalry

My cousin and I grew up together in Delhi; our Mothers were good friends so as families we met very often. Our dolls used to spend the week at each other's houses, we used to make 'Fanta' by powdering orange drops and then mixing it with Soda, we used to cook food in toy utensils over a candle flame, we used to play 'Beauty Parlor' with our dolls where we would be the beauticians and our dolls at the receiving end of our experimentations. She introduced me to the forbidden Star comics, which were a pictorial representation of a romantic story. Then the kiss seemed a repulsive thing - imagine a man and woman exchanging saliva - YUCK! However curiosity about this man woman thing (however yucky it seemed) made us consume quite a few of this disreputable literature before we were caught.

She was the darling of the colony, everybody knew her, and even my Mother would comment that she is such a bright and lively girl. "Why can’t you be more like her?" She would say. While my cousin's mother would say how quiet, reserved and polite I was and she would say "Why cant you be more like your cousin?" and bemoan the various imagined faults that her daughter had. We were oblivious to all these comparisons as we were very young. Later she moved away to Pune and we wrote each other long letters writing about inconsequential things.

My cousin and her parents visited us at times; she grew up to be a raving beauty with umpteen boyfriends. She used to tell me about some of them and their declarations of undying love while her mother complained to my mother about the pitfalls of having a beautiful teenaged daughter who is addicted to flirting. I was the fat bespectacled serious and studious teen who boys did not talk to or looked at so my mother had no such worries. My mother would say "Isn't she beautiful? She has grown up to be so pretty!" while her mother would say "I wish my daughter was more like your daughter? She is so mentally stable and serious about studies".

Somewhere down the line I would hear that how well my cousin draws and sketches, how good she is at writing poetry and so on. I am sure she also heard many of my imagined or real talents from her mother. Perhaps the jealousy crept in somewhere and started showing up. I still remember the first incident where I was thrilled that I solved the Rubik's cube puzzle, my cousin too wanted a shot at it and said she needed to concentrate and went to her room - alone. Voila! She came out with a solved Rubik's cube, however on closer inspection, I found that all stickers had been tampered with and had been moved around to 'solve' the puzzle. She probably felt that she would be compared to me yet again so she felt the need to prove herself in any which way she could.

Somehow things were never quite the same after that and to this very day, after so many years we still are uncomfortable around each other, we may not show it but its there. The other day she invited us for lunch, my Mother waxed eloquent about her artistic capabilities and the way she had decorated her house while I mentally hemmed and hawed and yawned. May be she did but I have this mental block not to recognize anything that she did and to this day I think that she is the most ordinary looking girl in this world while everybody around me thinks she is model material.

Its just one of those things one cannot change...

16 comments:

Prerona said...

funny! i was just thinking about jealousy and how we hate it, see how silly it is, but still we cant really control it ...

beautiful post. ur so collected. u narrate such small incidents so potently :)

Kausum said...

Chatterbai, I was wondering today, its been a long time since you posted something and was wondering where you had disappeared and as always you have written about a small incident so nicely.

Give her another chance, maybe Peer Pressure forced her that one day. Maybe she is wiser now.

Nautilus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nautilus said...

Jealousy has so many avatars...just this morning, a blast from the past reminded me of a very jealous person a very long time ago, and now this post of yours! Wondering if its co-incidence or a sign...hmmmm

ichatteralot said...

@Prerona: With all these spiritual gurus and the newspapers advising us on this and that and how to control our negative emotions - I haven't had much success! Thanks :)

@Kausum: Yes I have been kinda slow these days, a few things are weighing on my mind so less of blogging! I try so hard but dont think it;ll work so I maintain my distance...

@Nautilus: Blast from the past sounds interesting - why dont I have one??? May be you should get in touch with this jealous person? :)

Shreemoyee said...

There must be a way to overcome sibling rivalry, it seems from a time so long ago.

Phoenix said...

Nice post. Cant really identify with it personally, but can understad it still. Everything..er..happens.

Prerona said...

lol and neither me!

ichatteralot said...

@Shreemoyee: Its a pet peeve which I want to nurture! Otherwise I would feel like a saint :)

@Phoenix: I am sure it would not have happened with a male cousin! We women are so strange!

Arunima said...

I was lucky in this regard. No cousin my age to compete with. too young for my big sister to compete with her too.

Di said...

real nice post...sometimes even the best of people tend to go separate ways..

Anonymous said...

nice writting.keep it up. U r very talented.

zypsy said...

as a kid, i was constantly compared with my elder brother, even though he's about 3 years older.

among the things that were cross-checked and compared - report cards/percentages came in first, followed by everything else.

we were both toppers in our respective classes but they always found something or the other to make one of us feel lesser/smaller than the other. fortunately, we somehow managed to ignore it completely once we entered our mid-teens.

zypsy said...

was trying to edit some errors but posted 2 comments instead.

can you please delete the earlier one for me? i'm not able to do it as i've recently changed to the beta version. sorry and thanks:-)

ichatteralot said...

@di: Thanks. True - even the best of friends part

@Zypsy: Its great that you could avoid the uncomfortable feeling that goes with it. Thanks for dropping by! Great to see a new face.

austere said...

Understand. Maybe i would have removed those stickers too.