Monday, 26 August 2013

My Sword and My Shield

The school ground was teeming with children, parents, teachers, kids, et al. ─ every corner and crevice was chockablock. The who's who among the students were on their toes, rushing about with the last- minute preparations. The sun was blazing down on us, with no sense of mercy. A few hundred selected students, like me, had no choice but get sun burnt. Dressed in our crisply pressed uniforms, we were bracing ourselves up for the most important event of the day: the march past parade. Plus, I had a more important role to play (display) that day. On the other end, the school band was getting its acts together. The harried teachers and the cool PT master were seen busy fixing the flag. The Principal Sister Vera also seemed to be in a hurry; she was preparing for the arrival of the chief guest. Respected parents were trying their best to spot (snatch) the best seat available, just to catch glimpse of their 'under the radar' wards.

I stood there alone; with a lit torch in my hands… the PT master ensured that I was on 'everyone's radar'. Something suddenly shot up my spine then. Was it confidence? May be…I thought. With a burning torch in my hand I stood out from the crowd and looked around at my not-so-lucky seniors and juniors. "I've earned this place for myself," I thought, as I sprinted across the school compound with the lit torch. (Being an all rounder in sports, I had place, position, and praise flowing in abundance). I then proudly positioned myself in front of the group; I was the leader of my march-past group as well. Plus, I had this gold medal to collect. (I had stood first in my class for the 100m dash.)

In no time, prize distribution ceremony was announced. My name was called upon as the winner of 100m dash. With spring in my steps, my airy self scaled the stage to collect the medal. The school principal and the chief guest offered me their heartiest congratulations. My sister stood there among the march past participants silently watching the proceedings. When her name was called upon, she walked up to the stage to collect her medal. As a matter of fact, she too stood first in her class in the sprints.

By the way, she was the school champion: being the frontrunner of our respective classes we were pitted against each other for the final race and she won. I couldn’t take the humiliation. How could I lose to my younger sibling? As deemed fit, I created a hue and cry and put up a fit on the ground. The nuns immediately understood what was happening and took matters in their hands: the race stood cancelled. Thanks to the selfish, sadist in me, my sis lost her medal. How Mortifying? How Awful? You may think. But, did this incident upset her? I’ll never know.

My sister was the elder in the family, though I’m elder to her by a year. Yes, she was the one who won the 100 meters dash, but I was the one who bagged the medal; she was the one who won the prize money for her A grade marks, but I was the one who collected it (thanks to the mistake committed by the higher authorities, for I was considered to be the brighter one); she was one who made it to the school bus stop first, but I was the one who boarded the bus first; she was the one who got to choose the clothes first, but I was the one who grabbed the best pick; she was the one who bailed me out when my vehicle broke down frequently in the dead of the night, while I didn't care to keep the petrol tank filled; she was the one who fed the family on my mother’s absence, while I was left peacefully to feed on my books.

Come to think of it, my sister is a symbolism of maturity and selflessness. She was always mature beyond her years. She always did the hand-holding and shielded me from sorrows of life: when it should and could have been otherwise. Even today she doesn’t confide things in me (I don’t know why?). Her way of managing trouble was to sleep over them; cry over them, when no was around. If that’s not enough, she will figure a way out by talking to her God. Bringing the roof down on non-serious stuff was my forte, not hers. When my marriage was on the edge, her endearing advice to me was, “Jini, mellow down. Keep your rebellious streak in check, because it’s taking your marriage down.” I heard her, for I had implicit faith in her. Who knows me better than her? My marriage was just a year old, while we were blood bond (and still are) for 24 long years. She knew me in and out. While my friends sympathized and shared my sorrow, my sis often snapped at me saying, "Change your attitude and get a hold over your life."

All through the growing years she wore my hand-me-down dresses and hair-clips with no complains. And yes, she was in the good books of all her friends, while I was a loner all my life. Even today, when she has landed a plum corporate job, she doesn't fail to socialize, because friends matter to her. The concept of fair-weather friends doesn’t exist in her dictionary. She stands with them in their thick and thin as she stood by me always. And, today, she's a big support for my parents too.

My sis on the right

If there’s something called rebirth, I want her back, because I want to pay her back. I’ve never tied a Rakhi to her, but she has always been my silent angel flying to me and rescuing from difficult situations - she's my shield and sword.

I want to be her shield and sword someday.


  1. Yes, you sister seems to be the hard act to follow; but it's good you are trying. :) Best of luck.

  2. Thanks Pankti. My sis was out of the ordinary. She didn't mind putting herself on the back foot, just to ensure that i'm on my front foot.


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