My brother and I have been together for 22 years now, and the fact is, excepting minor misunderstandings or disagreements, we have hardly fought. Now why I had to state this fact, I do not know. Does this have any semblance to my story below? Not necessarily.
My younger brother, Maheshwaran aka Bablu as we fondly call him, was born on 23rd February 1996, 38 months after I did. He is 22 now, tall(er), well-built and handsome, all comparatively. He graduated last year with a bachelor’s in Electrical & Electronic engineering and doing well for himself now in Chennai, India. I am here, almost 5500 miles away in Dublin, Ireland, writing about him for the first time. The blog post is only a highlight. It might reveal insights none had known until now, and that includes my brother himself.
Bablu has always fared better than me in most ways. He scored more marks in school, secured a university seat on merit, hit his first century in cricket before I could reach mine, won more accolades and trophies and solves puzzles faster; while I was a good but not great pupil at school/college and could only enter a reputed university on a management quota. I strongly believe he’d beat me in IQ by quite a distance.
But above all, I have begun to realize how much of a blessing he has been. He has honored me with many “firsts”, which only an elder sibling could relish.
The first step into parenthood:
Until my 7th grade, I had obviously been childish, irresponsible and happy-go-lucky. I used to cycle to school daily with a group of friends. While riding back home in the evening we had a habit of going on cycle races. We all rode recklessly, extremely fast. I remember falling off the bike once with a severe injury to my elbow.
Come 8th grade and Bablu was upgraded from an autorickshaw to his own cycle to go to school. I was assigned the task of guiding him along the way. Bablu, along with a couple of his schoolmates and my cousin Karthik were under my supervision. I had to ensure the safety of these four lads. Thereafter, I avoided driving rash and there came my first step into adulthood. This travel-guide job went on for another three years, after which both my brother grew up and I had changed schools.
The first step into mentorship:
Bablu is stubborn. He does not express much and to know what goes through in his mind is a huge ask. Due to this nature of his, our cricket coach had difficulty coaching him. He’d listen to everything the coach has to say but at the end of the day, it bore little fruit. One fine day when the coach’s irritation reached its summit, he summoned me and said, “Look, I’m tired of coaching him. He is seldom expressive and does not listen to anyone but you. I give you two months, train him. Let’s see what you make out of this boy.”
I knew little cricket myself and I had to train my brother. We started training at home, at the academy, played for hours together where I’d bowl and ask him to bat with a single stump instead of a bat. We’d discuss more cricket than ever. He was a quick learner and improved multifold in a short span. The same summer, he went to score his first century and eventually be selected in the under-13 districts team. My first success as a well-wisher.
What have I learned from my brother?
- Humility: I quite enjoyed the privilege of being elder of the siblings and that had built an egoistic character in me. We would play carrom, chess, and cricket among other games and we exchanged victories and losses. My ego wouldn’t accept defeat; I’d make a huge fuss and thrash the carrom board. I was occasionally wild. When I would have temper tantrums, my brother would look at me helplessly, for the poor boy had no means of escape. I am his elder brother, he had to respect. How sick of me? Later when I grew up, I began to realize the mistake I’d made and yet, how humble my brother was.
- Sacrifice: Only because he knew I’d not accept defeat easily, I have seen him giving up on many occasions. How he learned the art of compromises and sacrifices, putting relationship ahead of a game at the tender age of 10, only he’d know. I don’t come anywhere close. Additionally, I owe a confession. I had a habit of chewing pen lids and once on seeing one, my dad demanded us to accept it and I observed silence. So, I won my dad’s trust and Bablu was blamed. Surprisingly, he kept mum, but I am sure he’d have known who the culprit was.
- Honesty: During our school days, whenever I hadn’t performed well in an exam, I would just lie to my parents that I’d done well. My analogy was to not dishearten them and face it when the scores come. But, he has never done that. He’d come straight home and simply say “I haven’t done well, might only scoreless.” I advised him to follow my style and he replied, “It is fine, anyway we have to face the consequences when the results are out, so I better be accused of one blip rather than additional blame of lying.”
“People always want you to do well, but never better than them.” Parents are one of the only few people who’d not be jealous of your achievements and if you cannot be a parent yet, be a brother. I have learned the art. Every day in every way, I get better, and a large chunk of the credit goes to Bablu. If I am at least tad nicer as a person now, I owe a lot of it to the little master.
Us siblings, especially brothers don’t express our liking for each other, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of it. This post is dedicated to all such siblings. Share the love, let your kinfolk know what you feel.
What is your one takeaway from this? Do share your feedback by commenting on the post, or shoot me a personal message. Your feedback helps me write better.
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