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Stories of Sisterhood: My Hero

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

Aparajita Mohanty on how her sister is her biggest soul mate.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook and Instagram will know that the MBRB girls are celebrating Raksha Bandhan by exploring the bond between sisters (Why are we doing this? Find out here). All through August, we will bring you stories about sisters – many of them regular women like you and me; some of them famous, such as the Ranaut and the Phogat sisters. Write to us if you have a story, poem or picture to share about your sister/s, tag us on FB or Insta with sisterly inspiration, and help spread the word by sharing our Stories of Sisterhood

‘Soul mate’ is perhaps one of the most misunderstood words or ideas, in my opinion . I mean it is  nearly always  linked to one’s lover/partner/husband or wife.  So we have these endless quotes, thoughts, theories, and advice on one’s soul mate, all in the romantic realm. I have this weird theory. To me, the guy I love can never really be my soul mate for the reason that I would always want him to know me, see me at my best. Not at my worst or floundering or with my inner light dimmed! Just as I can never allow him to see me with a mud mask or egg pack in my hair. I kind of scorn and  pity women who do so.When I am with my guy, I should look, smell, be fabulous :) He is the love of my life. The one who unhinges me, takes me apart, to put me back together again and again.But he is not my soul mate

Do I have a soul mate then? The one who sees me/has seen me/will see me at my best and my worst? And will never bat an eyelid at my transgressions? The one who will rejoice in my happiness?

Yes, absolutely. My big sister is my soul mate :)

Hers is the voice I hear first thing in the morning, seconds before my  mobile alarm goes off with Robert Plant shrieking divinely ‘Aaanh aaa aaah”. She is the one  that I still want to be talking to, right up to the last minute before I go to sleep.

Madonna says ” your soulmate is the person that pushes all your buttons, pisses you off on a regular basis, and makes you face your shit”. That’s what my sister does too.  She makes sure that I am at my best at whatever I do , standing rock solid and unwavering besides me. Never behind me. She drives me nuts perhaps every single day with her totalitarian advice, delivered in dulcet tones. And yeah, she never lets me get away with any kind of banality which according to her erodes the ‘me’ in me. Why do I listen to her ? Why do I have this complete faith in her ? Because, she is the one who practically has mothered me.

Rising against great personal adversity, my breathtakingly beautiful sister, leads an immensely successful professional life.Her intelligence and drive is balanced out  with her concern and compassion for those marginalized by society. A doctor turned businesswoman , she has not lost the healing touch which made her choose medicine in the first place. I wish I could have seen her when she took the ‘Hippocratic Oath”. She would have spoken the words with her lips, her eyes and her heart.

I had once diffidently asked her, troubled by my inability to conform to hypocritical societal norms and standards, that if not wanting “a house with a white picket fence”, makes me a terrible person. She had smiled and quoted Cummings to me

“may your heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living

may your mind stroll about hungry and fearless and thirsty and supple”

This closeness and attachment between her and me is a huge joke in the family and amongst close friends. I have to hear snide comments from her son, my utterly beloved nephew : ‘ Get a life! Can you even breathe without your sis? “.  My infuriating Dad  waited with unholy glee once , to see whether a little argument between us would erupt into a full blown ‘Mahabharat”.  My Ma asks me sarcastically “Has your Gurudev okayed this ?” , when I get around to doing what she asks me to.

I owe everything I am today to my sister. That voice which I hear in the morning and before I sleep..has kept me young, fragile and obstinate.

This is her and me :

“There were once two sisters
who were not afraid of the dark
because the dark was full of the other’s voice
across the room,
because even when the night was thick
and starless
they walked home together from the river
seeing who could last the longest
without turning on her flashlight,
not afraid
because sometimes in the pitch of night
they’d lie on their backs
in the middle of the path
and look up until the stars came back
and when they did,
they’d reach their arms up to touch them
and did.”  ( Jandy Nelsen, ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’).

A version of this article appears in the author’s personal blog  and in Huffington Post.

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