Sharing a room with a sibling

Sharing a room with a sibling

…can be a lot of fun.

Through most of our childhood my sister and I shared a room with our grandmoms. We got ours when we moved to a new house. I was in college then. We shared it till I left Lucknow to work in Delhi. We had posters all over the walls – Ravi Shastri, Boris Becker, Karan Kapoor – all our heartthrobs! Our pride, however, was a gigantic collage we had put together with our favourite ads and quotes.

Of course, we had our fights. Luckily we had two single beds which we would push together in times of peace and drag away during war. The memories that stand out, however, are mostly fun ones.

I’d hoped the same for H and N.

Sharing a room is a great way to learn to adjust

Everyone comes with a bunch of quirks and living together helps one look beyond them. Out in the real world we are not always fortunate to have like-minded room mates. Not for nothing did I survive multiple roomies at working women’s hostels (my first one was from Kashmir and my last from Chennai) and then later, the snores of my one permanent room-mate – the Husband :-).

It teaches you to respect boundaries

It helps children understand the concept of ‘mine’, ‘yours’ and ‘ours’, that there are certain things they can share and others which they cannot.

Most of all, it’s a great way to bond with your sibling

My happiest memories are of hours spent with my sister listening to songs of Shammi Kapoor (he was our eternal love) as also Elvis, Cliff Richards, Boney M and the Beatles on an old battered ‘tape recorder’ and mouthing dialogues of Sholay and Maine Pyar Kiya along with the tape.

H and N being of the same age have it a little more tough. Their books are constantly getting mixed up since they’re in the same class. It is a regular affair to find one of them foraging in the other one’s bag despite protests (How dare you touch my bag!), and coming up triumphantly with a lost book (See? I knew it was in there).

There are personality clashes too. N is more careful with her things and more particular about privacy and ‘space’. She likes and respects boundaries. H, on the other hand, can never even perceive a boundary. If he would, he’d probably step right on it!

Things became a bit crazy the time he used up N’s hair colour pens for painting a carton (He was making my birthday gift!). A huge storm, followed. He insisted they looked ‘just like regular pens’, which they actually do. She refused to believe that (Can’t you read?).

Despite all of that they’ve stuck it out together.

However, at Diwali last year, N picked out pink curtains. I have to admit they were gorgeous. However, H absolutely refused to have them in the room. I tried to pacify him with a beautiful blue rug, but he was adamant.

Striking a compromise…

Finally, I emptied out a shelf in my study and moved some of his things. He can now work on his assignments there and call it ‘his’ room too.

It turned out to be a good idea because they can now study in separate rooms and also sort out their dukh dard in some amount of privacy while still sharing a room.

That said, I have to add that nothing, I repeat, nothing can completely rule out fights and arguments. It is built into their systems, I think.

The other day I was busy in the kitchen when I heard them having an argument. Here’s how it went.

N: This is my room, go away.

H: I’m on my bed, the bed is mine.

N: You can come in only at night.

H: I can come in when I want.

N: Then I’ll take your room and you can stay here.

H: Don’t you dare!

N: Just you watch.

I know a stalemate when I see/hear one. With one eye on my bubbling curry I tried to bring about peace, to no avail. Finally, I bellowed out from the kitchen ‘This is MY house and papa’s and nobody else’s. You two don’t own a room, a cupboard, a shelf. Nothing! So there’s no humara – tumhara. Quit fighting.

It was at that precise moment I realised, our door was open and my elderly neighbour was standing right there, listening to only my side of the conversation. And now I’m sure he doesn’t think much of me as a mum.

Life’s not really fair.


Do you remember what it was like to share a room with your sibling? Do you think children, specially of different sexes, should have separate rooms?

36 Replies to “Sharing a room with a sibling”

  1. Hehe This was a fun read. I also throw that sentence at the kids – – this is my house and your dad’s. I am imagining your neighbour’s reaction. I think being twins is even tougher. I shared a bed with me elder sis through childhood and with me brother when I was older. She and I never fought. She was very calm and giving. But my brother and I squabbled constantly. Perhaps that’s why we were never asked to share a room. Imagine how that works have turned out!

  2. Haha…this brought back memories of sharing a room with my sister. We both hated the lack of privacy. I had my desk in our room and she had her desk in our grandmother’s room. Being the older one, I got dibs on the posters in our room but once I left home (she was 16), it was entirely her room, with her posters etc. Since leaving home at 21, I have had my own room even in share houses. When I was with my ex, we obviously shared the room but it was tough! I love having my own space now and only having to share it with the cats! 😛

    1. I love having my own space too and I always managed to make it for myself – even if it was one part of a room I’d do it up with my personal things and give it my character. Since the kids came along things have been topsy turkey. They have a penchant for taking over any space that I want to call my own!

  3. Haha, you are right, they are hard wired to fight, I think it comes with the territory of being siblings. However I think you have managed to reach a decent compromise. 🙂

  4. Aha! This brought back so many old memories. We three sisters have shared a room till I was in college. And after I got married, we moved to a bigger house and they had their own rooms. Mostly, we had fights over occupying other person’s shelves in the cupboard, because we all had so many books and things. We used to talk so much, mostly late in the night and mom had to come from her room to tell us to stop our chatter. Some fun days!! H and N are super cute. And am still laughing and imagining your neighbour’s expressions.

  5. 🙂 brought a smile a BIGGGGGGGG one .. takes me back to my childhood, since my dad was posted in a city chandigarh, so all relatives kids at some stage came to stay with us for studies , as one time it was 6 of us and me and my cousins shared the room 4 of us , it was FUNNNNNNNNNNNNN time i tell you .

    So many arguments and plan making to sneak out when parents were asleep ,etc etc ..

  6. Who is Karan Kapoor? Shashi Kapoor’s son? He was your heartthrob? 🙂

    Okay now, very thoughtful article. Respecting boundaries — I think it’s important (to some extent, of course). And, your neighbor’s timing is bad. 🙂

    1. You don’t Karan kapoor? Yup he is Shashi Kapoor’s son. He starred in Bombay Dyeing ads and was gorgeously handsome – blonde haired, foreign looking (that might have been part of his appeal) titled Dream Lover in the ads. I cannot even remember where I found his poster but we did have one.
      You’re right about the neighbour’s timing :-).

  7. I shared my room with my sibling. My kids don’t. I think they are missing out a lot. Good ole days!

  8. Ha ha! Fun post. Growing up, my brother and I did not have a room. We slept in the drawing room at night and while I picked the dining table to study, my brother was cool with the bed. I did not have a room until I moved to college and then shared with a room-mate. Nonetheless, my brother and I had beds in the shape of an ‘L’. With our heads on the side of the joint, all I remember is conversations. Things from school, friends, songs and books. We fought a lot but not about stuff. He was carefree about his stuff and I was too careful. So he happily let me manage and I was happy to take care. We fought when he ate my saved chocolate or he would play some dangerous game and not let me tell parents.
    I agree that living together makes one flexible and more compassionate too. Lovely post and look at my loooong comment 😉

    Btw – What is a hair color pen?

    1. He ate up your chocolate? That’s a recipe for WW3 in our home. No matter how much I offer to get them another one, the fight will happen!
      Perhaps, in retrospect only the good memories remain with us. I hope that’s what happens with H and N. Somehow our parents had a greater capacity to put up with our tantrums, or maybe we were just more adjusting as kids.

  9. Hhahahahahha..this was hilarious at the end! I could so visualise the neighbour shaking his head and praying for your becharey babies! 😛
    I shared my room with my bro till I got married. He is four years younger. We did have our fights and when we had them, he would say, “Just get married and get the hell out of here. Then that room will be all MINE!” 😛
    He would make fun of everything I did. Right from the way I would wake up hadbadaa key’ when the alarm went off, to the way I gossiped with my friends and how ridiculously girlie we girls were! But, we did have our good moments, too, when we would share secrets, laugh at our cousins who came visiting, or stood up for each other when dad scolded either of us. He isn’t a senti person, and more like a bhidu type of guy. But, I so miss having him around like we used to before I got married. Oh, and we too had posters all over our room. Large size ones of Akshay Kumar, and…I forgot the others! But, that’s one area we always agreed on. Except Sanjay Dutt, all the others were liked by us both.
    Siblings are our first friends, the ones we have with us for a life time! Sharing a room with them, our life with them, during childhood and youth really does teach us so much…and also makes for such precious memories to reminisce about years later!

    1. You sound so cute Shilpa – waking up hadbadake is the sweetest. I do that to date. Somehow the found of the alarm is really alarms me. I just have to get up with a jump to switch it off.

  10. My sister and I shared a room while growing up and we have had our shares of fights there too. I remember every time I wanted the door to the room to be closed while sleeping, she wanted it to be left open a tad bit. And a few years down the line, we switched preferences. I also remember saving her from not being caught not studying because I am was the one who knew when our parents were approaching. But it was fun and I would not trade that for the world. At that point, we both did want our separate rooms but I think it was for the best 🙂

    1. As sisters we had each others backs too. Also, when we’d be shouted at by our parents we’d come back to our room and laugh over it. That was such a huge stress reliever. Despite being their mom, I hope H and N do that too.

  11. Hmm.. we grew up in a small flat. So, there was no separate room for the three of us. So, it was a lot of sharing, adjusting and fighting. But, my sons share a room. They have 6 years age difference. But, I like the way they have their private conversations, favourite music. When I was young, I used to plaster the bedroom walls with posters. I had huge ones of Boris Becker and George Michael. Thankfully, all liked them, though mom creeped out on George Michael. Its fun to share a room with siblings, so many memories.

    1. I remember George Michael with his earring! Oh you loved Bori Becker too? There was the year when he and Steffi Graf had won the Wimbledon – I still remember their poster in one of the sports magazines – Sports Star or Sports World or something. Such memories!
      Because we had less of things we were perhaps, happier.

  12. I completely agree with you about sharing a room. My girls shared a room till they went to college and were all the closed for it . I shared a room with my brother but he got his own when I turned 13. But growing up I often had to move out to accommodate a short stay Guest, once shared a room with my mother’s friend who had to stay on to complete a course. And strangely, used to share my room with my father’s mushroom experiment when I came home for the holidays during my college days!

    1. Mushroom experiment sounds very interesting!
      We had to always make room for guests too. I didn’t like it but that was the way it was and we had no choice. That did teach us to adjust and share.

  13. How sweet of you for doing that? But I’m sure soon enough, he’ll miss his sister.

    My sister and I shared a room until I got married and moved out. While it was good at times when we could drink and watch movies, most of the times it was hell. I’m an OCD freak and she was not so particular about keeping things clean. I’m sure you get the gist.

  14. It is a love-hate story! While we had some great moments, those were few compared to the ones we spent fighting and arguing! I’d still not change it if we had to do it all over again. Crafting, singing, weird conversations, my sister burning the midnight oil while I slept peacefully after planning an all-nighter…you see..sharing a bathroom, now that’s what really ‘stinks’!

  15. I was an only child and didn’t have to share. That wasn’t a good thing; I had to learn as an adult. For same sex siblings I definitely believe in sharing a room. Opposite sex, maybe but only if they are close in age, and I would only do it when they are up to perhaps 7 or 8 years old.

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