Being The Younger Brother
Well, I have been the younger brother to Manu for the last 24 years and I am quite fortunate to have a brother like him. At times being a younger brother can be a little challenging especially when your big brother is being mean and rude to you which may not be appreciated. On the other hand, the tables might turn in your siblings’ relationship when your big bro stands up for you like a rock. Therefore, never think that a big brother can be a bad influence in your life.
As per my understanding what generally happens is that the older sibling thinks that the younger one has received all the attention and love from their parents. Unfortunately, I completely disagree with this statement because after I was born my parents always gave the same amount of attention and love to both Manu and me, or a little more to me because I was very special!!
However, I believe that each child should get equal respect, attention, and care irrespective of what they are or if their genetic beliefs match with their family or not? To a great extent this would lessen sibling rivalry and any kind of discrimination between siblings.
During the initial stages of my childhood, my brother always helped me to wear my clothes and share his toys with me. These examples reflect a wonderful camaraderie between the two brothers who always had a great time through such activities. This also enhances their relationship and respect for each other. Such exchanges during my childhood made me believe that my pillar of support would always stand by me through thick or thin, for the rest of my life.
For any child who starts his school journey, the biggest luxury is of having a big brother in the same school. During my school days at TSRS in India, Manu was always there for me to help out in fights against anyone who would bully me for my learning differences. He always had a few tricks under his collar to teach the bullies a lesson to never bully me again. At that time, fortunately both of us developed good knowledge and interest in sports like cricket and soccer, we pursued our passion in these sports which helped us to make more friends easily.
During the later stages of our school journey, every success that Manu achieved was like Christmas and Diwali combined together for me. Whenever my brother won any chess or soccer tournament in school I would be at the top of the world! Furthermore, when he started perusing art, as he was very creative, it made me happy for him. Hence for all the accomplishments, my brother achieved in school, I always cherished them with joy. I had already decided that for every decision of Manu, be it pursuing Direction at Shristi College, Bengaluru or going for his Masters in video editing at FTII in Pune, I would support him whole heartedly. Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of how he has evolved as a person over the years.
Ultimately, a day comes when you have to leave the nest, and it did, when Manu left for his higher studies, the separation pang hit me hard. I now realised how lonely and alone I would be in the absence of my Big brother! As now there was noone like him to help me with my petty school problems or with any technical challenges. Though, whenever he was at home for vacations, he would fill the vacuum in my heart, and I would eagerly look forward to these quality times together, however short. Then the time came for me to leave the nest too, and I moved to the US for higher studies. We both became busy in our own worlds, but I would miss our time together. Mother nature had her own plans- and COVID came. Both of us had to come back home as everything was shut down. That one year at home together gave us ample opportunity to be together. Initial days were great, after that our fights started. A point came when we wouldn’t see each other eye to eye! At times I would think why he had to come back, for that matter why did I come back? But this is the beauty of sibling relationships- you fight hard but still you love each other to the core!! This was my greatest learning during the Pandemic!
Has your elder brother ever been a part of your personal celebrations? Yes, my brother has been! at numerous occasions, till date. For example — he was there for all my birthdays (even when my invited friends wouldn’t turn up!) for all my school awards in India and came all the way to the US to attend my graduation ceremony at Maplebrook School in 2018. After all these years of fighting and loving, and at times thinking of him as the most annoying person on earth, I know there is one person I can completely lean and count on and he is my big brother- Manu. I strongly believe that this is a great family value he has inherited which surely be carried forward to the next generation.
In terms of dating relationships, you cannot predict what’s going on when you like a girl during your teenage/adulthood years. That was the time when I would always seek Manu’s advice and I had full faith that he would rescue me when I was in a spot of bother regarding these things. In my situation, my brother used to keep a close eye on me when I started having crushes on girls in school. He would advise me on what to do or not to do which might prevent me from getting into real trouble at that point of time. Recently, he helped me to get over a break-up with one of my girlfriends, he was able to understand my situation and advised me to not get discouraged or disheartened by petty incidents like this and just move on in life and focus on my studies, and who knows with time I might get a better person.
However, when I go down the memory lane, I remember when my brother turned 20 in 2017, I was not there for his birthday as I was in America, for which I always feel guilty. Thankfully, this did not affect our relationship as brothers as he was quite understanding and accepting of the fact that I could not be there for his special day. However, he was extremely impressed and happy about even with my challenges how well I was adapting and settling at Maplebrook which made him real proud and he did not allow me to feel guilty for my absence on his birthday. In the end, I also made it up for him by planning for a surprise virtual birthday celebration last year, where I invited his college friends on Zoom and he was over the moon by what I did for him. This, also made me realize that there is no other way to express your love for someone you care for but doing something like what I did for him last year, let your action speak for your emotions.
According to some of my friends, who always thought that my brother was doing better than me. But as far as I am concerned, I completely disagree with this notion because I never believed in this thought process where I had to compare our lives with each other. Even though we have different interests we are equally passionate about what we are doing, which does not mean that we are competing with each other for anything, we are both happy in our respective fields and hugely respect each other for that. There are petty people in the world who will leave no stone unturned to bring about some kind of bitterness or conflict in relationships, but this becomes the testing time of your personality, do you get swayed or stay strongly grounded? Both Manu and I chose to stay grounded and be there for each other always!
Lastly, today both Manu and I have mutual respect and admiration for each other. I love him dearly and since childhood have had deep admiration for his uniqueness- I mean I remember his magic tricks would always leave me wondering in amazement, his passion for soccer, his intelligent and mind-blowing moves in chess, and redefining the beauty of art through his paintings, are few of his milestones. I admiration grew doublefold when he stood his ground for what he wanted to do in life, even though my parents did not agree to it, but still he chose to chase his dream. Even for me, what he was striving to achieve at that time was beyond my imagination and understanding, but I had faith in him. Despite all the challenges he has faced in the past, I can confidently say that I see him one day climbing the steps and receiving his Oscar for the best Video editor in the world! I can hear the echo of huge applauds across the hall and we standing at one corner clapping our heart out and tears of joy streaming down our cheeks!
In conclusion, I can proudly say that I am really blessed to have a brother like Manu, who is an epitome of kindness, sensitivity, responsibility, helpfulness………… it goes on. At the same time, I hope all younger siblings would be able to relate to my story and try to give as much love to their elder siblings as possible because this is the only relationship that stays throughout your life!