‘Tis a brother-sister thing!


Today is Raksha Bandhan, a day that celebrates the special and deep bond between brothers and sisters. A day when sisters tie raakhis on their brothers’ wrists. A day when the brother promises to care for and protect his sister; and also gives her a gift.

A truly beautiful celebration indeed!

In our home, we celebrate this special bond every year. I have the raakhi and other paraphernalia required, ready for my children.

Image courtesy – Dreamstime.com

They stand in front of each other. My daughter picks up the raakhi and ties it on my son’s wrist. They don’t say much. They just high five each other, exchange a quick hug, and go their separate ways.

There is no talk about a gift.

It is business as usual, they are each back in their own world, where the other does not exist. When they do acknowledge each other, they tease each other ruthlessly, argue constantly or ignore each other.

I observe this.

The day has flown past, the sun has already set. My kids are talking animatedly. Very soon, my son comes to me and tells me that he is taking his sister to the mall nearby for a treat, and to buy her a gift.

And before I nod, the two of them are already at the door, arguing about something inconsequential, as all siblings do.

I smile. I walk back in.

Many years from now, when my kids move out of home and make their own lives, these bonds will deepen further.

But this bond, this love – will always be expressed this playfully, through silly arguments, high fives and awkward hugs!

‘Tis a brother sister thing, after all.

Sibling Wars


The school day begins. I am in the kitchen grappling with cooking. I hear loud screaming and yelling. My children are doing what they do best – squabbling.

Sibling wars. One can actually write a thesis on this, and still not understand the dynamics of this phenomenon.

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           Courtesy – http://www.babyart.org

My children have study tables that are at right angles – when both move their chairs backwards and if, by chance, the chairs crash into each other, a war erupts.

You would think that a six seater dining table would have enough room for four people. Apparently not! Both children want the same chair, every day, for every meal. TV shows are a bone of contention, the bathroom is a warzone. The bedroom is the missile room, armed as it is with pillows.

There are unspoken symbols and codes of conduct. There are lists of ‘what you dids’ on both sides, which resurface every day. They cannot agree on food or TV, computer games or books, studying in the same room or sharing resources. Each time they get in the car they clamour for the same seat. They draw invisible divider lines on the car seat, like animals marking their territory, pushing away even the other’s shadow if it crosses this line.

They look daggers at each other,  don’t give way when they cross the doorway simultaneously, hide each others’ things and smile secret smiles of victory.

I watch this sibling-war and remember such battles with my sisters. Watching them as a mom, however,  is aggravating. The best way to handle this constant bickering is to go passive. They get no reaction from me at all. I am blamed for both taking, and not taking sides.

The warring siblings leave for school –  one takes the stairs and the other takes the lift.  The storm has passed and the house becomes blissfully quiet.

In a few hours, two happy faces will come home, freshen up and look at each other, and off they’ll go again.

But the funny part is, if one goes on a school field trip or weekend camp, the other soon starts pining!

Sibling logic baffles me☺☺.