Pooja plate with lamp, rakhi and sweets blog post Akshata Shanbhag


During my mother’s pregnancy with my younger brother, the question from friends and family was a constant refrain: “Do you want a baby brother or sister?” Despite lacking a solid reason, my response remained unwavering: “I want a baby sister.”

In the hospital’s reception area, alongside my father, we awaited news while my mother was in the labour room. My feelings at that moment are a bit hazy in memory, but the eagerness to meet my new family member was palpable. Amidst the cold night, the cries of a newborn soon reached us. A nurse approached us with swift congratulations, announcing, “It’s a boy.” Glancing at me, she continued, “You have a baby brother.”

In that instant, I vaguely recall my smile and a glance exchanged with my father. The preference for a sister seemed to evaporate upon hearing I had a brother. We then went to meet my mother and the newest addition to our family.

Round face, fair complexion, rosy cheeks, and an endearing smile – he won over everyone’s heart. Taking him for strolls in the pram with my father became a cherished routine. School friends visiting during breaks often came to see my baby brother, snugly wrapped after a bath in soft white cloth.

With an age gap of six and a half years, a sense of protectiveness always enveloped me. He was my little brother, and I fiercely guarded him from any trouble. Admittedly, he was mischievous, perhaps a trait he still carries today. Our games and antics now seem amusingly trivial, yet they held immense joy for us back then.

Friday lunch breaks at school were ice cream time – I’d buy two Vanilla-Strawberry mix cones. Sharing came naturally with a sibling; his portion would find its place in the fridge. Our bond taught me the art of sharing, whether it was chocolates or laughter.

Holi, the festival of colours, brought us together in vibrant celebration. Mixing colours in water, filling water guns, and dousing each other in hues of joy created memories that warmed us even with lukewarm water in chilly weather.

Our shared childhood and teenage years could fill volumes with happy memories. Those times continue to hold a special place in my heart, cherished beyond measure.

As my brother embarked on higher education abroad, a mix of happiness and sadness engulfed me. His departure left a void, yet his ability to instantly make me laugh remained unchanged. The tradition of Rakhi, symbolising sibling love, never wavered, even across continents. Whether tied in person or delivered from afar, it carries a wealth of affection. His unwavering support has been my constant.

Proud of his accomplishments, he’s grown into an intelligent, accomplished individual. Whether it’s nature or nurture, his wit and smarts are a testament to our shared upbringing. Our friendly banter often positions him as the elder sibling, though he’d argue otherwise.

Though lives took different paths, the sibling bond remained steadfast. Despite the miles, not a day passes without thoughts of him, and I believe it’s reciprocated. Such is the nature of sibling relationships – unique and enduring. An unwavering friend for life, there’s no bond quite like that between siblings. No one quite like you. Much love!


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