Tag: siblings

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

The twins are back at school. This year is a bit of leap for them from primary to secondary and the sections have been shuffled pretty drastically. As a result they left all their friends behind. 

A surprise…
However something quite spectacular happened – something that we have successfully avoided for the past 6 years – they have landed up in the same section. This happened only once before when they were in nursery and such was the mayhem they created that the teacher begged us to ensure it never happened again.

Why we never want the kids in the same class
Not only are we worried for the teacher’s sanity, the Husband and I, dreadfully dread the C word – The Comparison. Up until now they have been very secure in themselves and their capabilities. I am afraid to rock the boat. Then there’s the other thing – Competition. The whole world does not matter to them but they compete with each other passionately. This has often lead to tears for one or the other.
But sometimes we have little choice
However, when I suggested I’d get one of them to change their section, in a rare show of extreme bhaichara and solidarity they broke off from their squabbling to protest in unison. An onlooker would have branded us evil parents trying to separate the joint-at-the-hip twins. So we have finally decided to let them be together and watch how it goes.
For now they are sitting together and coming home with new stories everyday, laughing good-naturedly at each other.
– She is the blackboard in charge, he is in charge of the morning prayer.
– While she sits like a lady with back erect and hands crossed (that’s how one should sit in class, says she), he sprawls on his chair (how can we concentrate if we aren’t comfortable, asks he).
– He lost his locker key on day 1, she discovered her key could unlock his locker too.
– She almost dozed off during Marathi class and he nudged her awake.
– She forgot to take her pencil box, he lent her a pen.
He resents it a bit that she gets more than her share of attention from the teacher purely because she is ‘better behaved’ – those are his words, not mine. Other than that it has been largely peaceful.
Change can be good
It’s been almost three weeks. I waited to do this post lest I jinx the whole camaraderie thing. It’s so good while it lasts.
This got me thinking and I wondered what it would be like if I shared a class or a workplace with my sister. I’d like it I think. Maybe that’s only because I don’t get to see enough of her.
What about you? Would you like to be in the same class/office as your sibling? Would it be one big party everyday or would the closeness get to you after a while?
How do you eat your mangoes?

How do you eat your mangoes?

The other day I was watching my kids eating mangoes. The fruit is peeled, stones discarded, then diced into neat little cubes or slices (if I’m feeling lazy). I then leave it in the refrigerator to cool till we get on with lunch. Later, the kids pick the fruit off the plate with fruit forks or toothpicks.

Mangoes in Lucknow have always been plentiful. I had once stumbled upon this quote by Ghalib, Aam meethe hon aur bahut saare hon.
That’s exactly how they always are here.
During the summer our cousins would come to stay with us. Each afternoon all six of us aged 4 to 10, would sit around a tub of mangoes out in the aangan. The tub would be full of water to keep the mangoes cool. We’d be dressed in the barest minimum – vests and slips – as we fished out the mangoes, oblivious to the heat, and competed at amassing the largest pile of guthlis. We’d peel the fruit tooth and nail, quite literally, and bite right into the pulp, delicious juice dripping from our hands, running down our chins and smearing our faces.
One of our favourites was the Lucknow Safeda. If you know anything about this particular variety you’ll know it isn’t meant to be pealed and cut at all. It is more juice than pulp and has to be sucked on, not eaten.
There’s a whole art to getting through this fruit and I’m not sure I’m equipped to explain. Let it suffice that it has to be handled with all the Lakhnawi nazakat you can muster. No, I’m not being a snob – the nazakat is crucial. The thing is the fruit has an exceptionally fragile skin. A little inelegant impatience and you’ll have the guthli shooting right out from the wrong end (of the fruit, of course) splattering you with juice and pulp.
Each time that would happen the expression on the face of the callous offender would be priceless, giving us hours of laughter. What’s worse, he would get an earful from his/her mum because mango stains are the devil’s own work when it comes to getting them off.
Anyway, once you’ve got down to the guthli without accident you scrape it off with your teeth and discard it. Finally you slurp off the remaining juice.
I am sure we weren’t the most sightly of sights, yet it was the perfect way to form strong bonds of shared memories. Perhaps that’s why even though we don’t meet, sometimes for years together, we can take up from right where we left off, the sweetness never varying quite like that of the dussehris, langadas and safeda.

Aam will always remain a very khaas part of my childhood memories.