I have been brought up in such a domestic environment where there was always a lot of cold blood between me and my brother. To begin with, I as a smaller and a much more good looking kid, received lots of adulation from my mother. Then, I was sent to a much better school. Reason being: I was a weaker student, who needed better education to survive.
My brother on the other hand, was always considered to be some sort of a prodigy- one on whom the expectations of the whole kin were there. Looking at his performance in the earlier classes, people thought he’d go to IIT and all. As for me, I suffered from immense demoralization due to the lack of my academic performance. People said, that all my other virtues like kindness and apathy were moot, if I didn’t study hard. And, all his bad qualities like selfishness and everything were forgiven because he was doing well academically.
Somewhere, along the line- I accepted that I was a bad kid. And laughed it out. Every man is made differently, I felt.
The result of all this underlying envy, led to me and him avoiding any talk amongst each other. Except, if it was about some sports tournament, movie or some news issue. Things you can talk about even to a stranger.
The day I reached the age of 16, my father passed away. My brother was in second year engineering then, and it was made clear to him that he’ll have to earn and support my education after 12th. In an attempt, to save some cash I joined a normal Arts course, and soon realized that I couldn’t take it. I was angered by how I had to rely on him for my education, and I did relay it to my mother. I even said, that I will not study at all, but won’t take his money.
However, things never got ugly and somehow everything was managed. Ultimately, I was convinced to take the money. And, he to give it.
Yesterday evening, I saw a missed call from my brother. I didn’t call back. Probably he is calling to ask me on what date he should reserve my ticket to Mumbai.
Today morning, he again called (and I was sleeping). This was not characteristic of him. Could it be that he is wanting to relay some terrible bad news? I immediately called my mother to find out. She found it funny, that I was worried, and told me that my brother had been attending some sort of a ‘life-changing’ seminar for the past few days. Relieved, I joked about how all this seminar scene is old and impractical. One or two days, he’ll feel transformed. After that, he’ll come back to his self.
A couple of hours back, he called (we spoke in our mother tongue, but I’ll try my best to translate. and yes, the italicized dialogue is of my brother’s.”
“Mummy told me that you were scared when I called. What is this? I am your brother, if I call you you’ll be scared.”
“No no. It’s just that usually you don’t call so I was thinking up of all the possibilities.. I called mom, and she said that you attended a seminar and wanted to talk about things.”
(Random conversation about what the seminar was happened.)
“Yes, so I was listening to these people, and felt that I was missing out on a lot of things. I felt like talking to you because, we have never been like what brothers should be.“, my brother said. I thought he was the sort of man, who’d die rather than speak such things.
“I think it is because of our age difference. So we cannot connect to a lot of things.”
“Yes, I always thought of myself as your Guardian, and felt that strict behavior would be the best thing to do. Now, I realised that no- I am not fulfilling my responsibility of a brother.”
“Yes. In 1 and a half years, of my Manipal life I have never spoken to you except the customary Hi and Hello. Always, I called my mother only.”
“Exactly. I don’t think we have shared anything with each other.”
“No, it was always about sports, and other things. If a conversation happened, it happened. Otherwise, no one cared for other’s approval. As a child, I used to hang out with you also, but once that stage of slight independence came, we never talked. It is like that in a lot of families.”
“But, it shouldn’t be. Especially, now that there are only 3 of us. “
“Yes.. I know that I am not a good sheep of the family. And, I have wasted a lot of money. But, seriously speaking I couldn’t help it. I was not made that way.”
“I still think you can do great things. Even, I didn’t like to study, but looking at you being sent to a better school than me gave me that drive to do well at any cost. You were constantly compared, and after a while, you accepted your inferiority instead of fighting it.”
“Totally.. I thought it’s better to be great at something you are good at, than just labor your life to be accepted in the society.”
“I always say good things about you, and how you can do us proud.”
The chat ended soon after.
I felt good, at the graceful and unprepared manner in which I handled the whole thing. And yes, I don’t know whether these seminars are useful for people or not, but it made my week.
The conversation is not entirely accurate but I think I’ve hit the pressure points. Also, I really needed to write this, and get done with.