She was beautiful, intelligent, kind and funny. She made heads turn wherever she went, and it usually took people a couple of minutes to fall in love with her personality. Her laugh was infectious, and she knew the exact formula to cheer people up. No wonder everybody loved her. Except me.
I did not know why I hated her so much. Was I jealous of her good looks and charming persona? Or could I not digest the fact that she was so much better than me in every aspect of life? Or was I disturbed by the knowledge that she was adopted?
I was nine when one evening my parents told me they’d be bringing home a little sister for me. Initially cheered by the prospect of having a sibling, I asked them how they knew it was ‘sissy’ who was coming, and not ‘bro’. It was then that they told me that a distant aunt of mine, a widow, had passed away two days ago, and there was nobody to take care of her four year old daughter. That was how Natasha had come into our lives. It was since then that this incredible feeling of animosity had made a home in my heart.
Natasha knew she was adopted, but she was grateful to God for providing her a family that mostly loved her. So what if she had an older sister who despised her very sight? She tried hard to be the perfect daughter, the perfect sister; unfortunately, it was only the former that she succeeded at. While my parents had completely owned her within months, I had spent three years with her before I even began to accept her presence in my house. Yet, Natasha never complained. Everyone has sibling troubles right? She did too, it was not a big deal; she thought. Her God gave her the faith that one day, I’d love her the way she loved me.
She never showed off, even though she had more than one reason to do so. Not only was she extremely witty and kind, but she was also gorgeous and fashionable. No wonder the boys came into her life early on. And no wonder I grew even more hostile towards her.
Let’s face it, which teenaged girl does not like a swarm of boys following her around, who doesn’t enjoy being Miss-goody-Two-Shoes? Until Natasha came into our lives, I was an only kid; but with her entry, not just my parents, but also everybody else I knew, had someone to compare me to- someone exceptionally lovely, at that. Someone who was everything I aspired to be, but failed miserably at. So I began looking at the world as my enemy, and rebellion as my only retreat.
I began writing poetry. I wrote of justice, freedom, envy and darkness- everything morbid. I spoke out through my verses about loneliness and rivalry. The sad stanzas I wrote made me feel worse for myself as I began sinking to abysses lower than any normal person ever would. I wallowed in self-pity and strangely enough, that was the only thing I liked about myself- I pretty much hated myself otherwise. My depression increased with every poem I wrote, with every song I composed. I began demarcating zones in the room I was made to share with Natasha- there was her side and there was mine. I forbade her from ever entering my side. And she always followed my instructions. Or so I thought.
One day, about ten months and approximately fifty poems later, as I plonked my body on my bed after school, I spied a huge envelope on my pillow. There was no name or address on the outside. I tore it open and out fell a slim book and a note. It read:
I know I was never supposed to enter your side of the room, but some months back when mom was looking for a pen in your drawer, a piece of paper flew out of it and landed on my dresser. I happened to read it. It had the most amazing poem I have ever come across till date. It was then that I realized you’re an absolutely amazing poet. I had always noticed you scribbling away in a diary, and so one day, while you were away, I fished the diary out of your drawer and got a photocopy of your poetry and submitted it to this publisher. And you can see the rest in the book.
I’m sorry I did some snooping around and meddled with your stuff. I hope you’ll forgive me. Meanwhile, enjoy your first book. Do have a look at the preface by the newest bestselling writer- she’s praised you tonnes. And remember, I love you and I believe in your talent.
I looked at the cover of the book, ’25 Poems’ and in the place of the poet’s name, I saw mine. I suddenly had an urge to look up at the cross that Natasha prayed to everyday. As my head bowed down in prayer, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to Natasha’s smiling face, her eyes sparkling with tears of joy.
As we then hugged for the first time ever, our tears did not stop flowing. The next thing I did was to remove the table that demarcated her ‘zone’ of the room from mine. I had finally made peace with my ‘real’ sister.