Skip to main content

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips

Time flies faster than we can imagine.  A little girl who is the ''music" of our home is now celebrating her birthday, continents apart. Her birthday is on January 6th and it brought back many sweet childhood memories. She is away from home but never far from our thoughts or my heart. 

Geethu and I, as sisters, grew up together and as most of those who know us already will know, we are absolute opposites but we complement each other in a beautiful way. But let me confess, growing up with a super intelligent kid who could breathe, think and talk science and maths like a pro was a traumatic experience for the older sibling - namely, me. It didn't help that she was also one of the best in all types of sports and we had no space to keep all the certificates and prizes she won for her school in different sports categories. Well, I spared my parents the trauma of having to store my certificates or trophies of glory by not having any...lol! 


What I think is most amazing is how my parents have never compared the two of us in any category but they have been quietly proud of the unique strengths we had, which in a strange way, complemented one another. 

Often, at PTMs and other social interactions, I see many young parents compare their children's strengths and weaknesses with other people in front of their kids. Siblings have feelings too when compared and I wish parents respected that. Of course, I am not a child expert here but I do know that I am glad my parents never did that to me.

As my sister and I grew older, our bond became stronger and more mature. We sought each other's opinions on everything that matters to us. We always had opposite opinions on most things, but that has never caused a dent in our relationship. 

Differences apart, there is also an unspoken code that runs true for us as it often does between most sisters - you mess with one, the other is out for your blood - don't even dream of being forgiven. 

I can take criticism about myself but the slightest criticism about my sister - you've had it and you've earned an unforgiving enemy for life. I am being very candid about this here. This is how I am and I think that this is how most sisters are when it comes to each other. 

Now, as we grow older and sillier, not any wiser with each other, we find ourselves sharing every little thing with each other. She has a practical, methodical approach to solving day-to-day challenges. Her time-management and planning skills are amazing. She starts her day as early as 3 AM and is very clear about what to get done at each time slot. We are each other's strongest critics and yet we are much crazier about each other's kids. My sister has the quirkiest sense of humor and the target is usually......well, me. She makes me laugh like no one else and she knows me best. 

I can't help saying that she also happens to be one of the very few people in my life whose love I take for granted. I know that no matter what I say or do, she will stick with me. 


Throughout the years, she has always stood by my decisions and when I went through some of the toughest tests in my life, she gave me the courage to believe that everything happens for a reason and while that reason may not be apparent, it is what will help us to grow and be strong.

My mother always used to long for a sister because there are many things that you can share only with a sister. She used to say that Geethu and I are so lucky to have each other. While we were growing up, we used to scowl every time she said this. But now we say this to our children because we want them to know that they are lucky to have each other and we want the bond between us to continue to grow through our children.

When Adi was born, Geethu's batchmates traveled all the way from Marthandam to Kochi just to see my son. They came as a group to stay at home and they were so overwhelmed to hold a newborn baby and I felt my heart burst with happiness because though I didn't know her friends well, they had undertaken a long journey and come all the way to welcome my baby.

I am still in touch with them because every relationship is sacred in our life and they have a special place in the journey of our hearts.

Life has taught me that people we expect nothing from surprise us all the time. For the same reason, I try very hard to nurture all relationships just as I have seen my father do. If he has helped ten people, probably one person remembers and the rest move on in life without even thanking him. I have seen him remain unperturbed by this. 

While I don't have my father's patience, I do understand that human nature is complex and that no matter how much we try, we always fall short in the eyes of another. You could help someone find a decent job that helps his/her family in a significant way and later find that same person work against you. How others behave is never in our control, how we behave is a reflection of our core human values and that is within our control.

I find that children are different from grown ups - they respond to love and attention, like a flower opens up to sunshine. This is why I want to talk to my niece every day - that she is a miniature replica of me puts me in a fun spot because I feel like I am talking to a facet of myself and having lots of fun! [Do read2016: The Year That Taught Me That Nothing is Impossible]



When my nephew Vihaan talks to me about his school and my niece Aishani calls out my name, every morning when I call her on Viber, I feel an ocean of love swell up within my heart. 

They are mine to love and cherish as much as they are my sister's.



And I tell Adi what my mother once told me, "You are blessed to have each other because this relationship is what will hold you to each other always."

I still miss the daily squabbles with my sister. But you know, it gets difficult to pick fights across continents.


"In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips."  — Whoever said that, you got it right!

Comments

Vishnu said…
Wow, what a testament of the love for your sister, Swapna :) I am not sure I could write a post like this about my 2 brothers ! : )
Krish Govardhan said…
Every word feels like its coming from your heart. All those memories and feelings, along with the quote fits in really nice.
I can't relate to this personally (Only Child!), but I know a few like you and your sister and honestly sometimes that makes people like us a little jealous!
Great title too!

Most Popular Posts

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Why love matters - Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh has an amazing insight to share!

What is love? It means different things to different people. 

Have you thought about it? Do read: POWER OF LOVE

The best way to understand 'love' is to reflect on what it means to you from deep within - soak yourself in the thought of what the word means to you. For a teenager, love is 'crush', for a young person, her boyfriend is her love, for a mother, love is the baby growing every day. For a spiritual seeker, God is Love. 

The idea of 'love' just sparks our curiosity - writers cannot stop exploring the nuances of love. Some of the most beautiful thoughts in poetry are about love. Artists bring to life the loss of wounds and heartbreaks in their portrayal of love. Nearly every film that we see amplifies the emotion of love through complex narratives and songs.


READ: Love means to see one you happy




FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

But what exactly is love? Is it what we see on screen or read about in books?

Love has to be experienced first, right? But how do you know i…

Book Review: Nan Umrigar's Sounds of Silence, A Bridge Across Two Worlds

The year 1978 was a glorious one for Karl Umrigar – a young man who won many prestigious horse races, including the Indian 2000 Guineas and the Indian Oakes. Finally, Karl Umrigar fulfilled his dream – every jockey’s dream– to win the Indian Derby. His name remains in the Indian Derby scroll of honour. 
But just at exactly the moment Karl won, he fell from the horse.  A fall that finally saw the country mourn for him when the headlines of the Indian Express read, “The King is Dead.” Karl Umrigar, the young champion and loved by many, was laid to rest on May 3, 1979.
Karl Umrigar’s Death: Bridge between Two Worlds You can imagine what Karl’s death did to his family, particularly his mother – Nan Umrigar. She says, “Nothing could have prepared us for the darkness that descended upon us – nothing!
While her family tried to pull on with daily routine, Nan Umrigar found herself in such a state of agony and trauma that she couldn’t resume a normal life. She couldn’t let go of her son.
She heard…

What is true knowledge? Dada Vaswani's teaching on knowledge offers a valuable lesson!

These days, everyone is an 'expert' on a given topic and this is most evident on social media.  From make up to nutrition to every topic under the sun including coffee, wine and herbs, there are experts on every social media platform. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it can prove helpful in your quest for knowledge but sometimes these are misleading as well. Not all that shines is gold, remember? So how do you figure out the mark of a person with knowledge as compared to those who proclaims it the rest of the world?
Here is a wise quote from Ruzbeh N Bharucha's book, 'Conversations with Dada Vaswani' offers us a powerful insight about knowledge and what it means.
[MUST-READ: Sage Tiruvalluvar's Golden Advice on Friendship]

                               FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST
Sadhu Vaswani, who is much loved and revered as a spiritual master, shares the crux of what knowledge stands for. True - there is no wisdom greater than this.

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Sage Tiruvalluvar's golden advice on how friendship affects your life

Ruzbeh N Bharucha's latest book, ICE with Very Unusual Spirits, is a book that I have absolutely enjoyed reading. While reading every chapter, I began to contemplate a lot on the friendships in my life, as the book blends in some of the most valuable teachings of Sage Tiruvalluvar and Sai Baba of Shirdi. The essence of the book revolves around true friendship and how it can make us not just more human but it can make us divine beings too.




As human beings, we thrive on friendship. These days, I've started wondering, ''Is there real friendship out there?'' From experiences that span four decades now (yeah, I am that old!), I am beginning to wonder about the authenticity of most ''friendships.'' [Do read: How to Console a Friend who Lost her Spouse]

A friend whom we knew since childhood days invites us home for dinner but when we visit, we don't get served dinner, but popcorn. Our mistake? We arrived in an auto, instead of a taxi (it is a differe…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

How reading books impacts your child's brain

Did you know that reading books impact your child's brain? My father introduced me to the world of books when I was a child. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to read to their children daily, right from birth!

When my son turned two years old, I used to take him every week to the British Library, put him in the children's section where kids of all ages were reading books and just watched over him. 





The impact is what I want to talk about. Spending every Saturday at the British Library perked up his curiosity about books. When he saw other children immersed in picture books and so on, he would wait for them to put down those books, crawl over and try to turn the pages, which wasn't easy because, well, you know, toddlers don't find that kind of focus and balance. But a memorable beginning was made and this was our weekly routine for many years. Gradually, we began reading out books together. This turned out to our bonding time too.

Recently, I read the view…