New York is warm and bright now. Many pear trees that line the streets and avenues have suddenly started to bloom. The city has a different feel. I was sitting on the steps in the Carl Schurz Park yesterday soaking in the sunlight when I saw two siblings racing on their skateboards. The one who was ahead was grinning and motioning the other one to speed up. The other boy was sulking and dragging himself to keep pace with his brother.
I remembered the time of my childhood when I used to play with my older brother, George, who always outpaced me in every race. I grew increasingly jealous of him as he kept moving up the scale of progress in academics and sports and won dollops of appreciation from mom and others in the family.
He always encouraged and supported me. I never let him help me no matter how grim and hopeless I felt. I was always finding faults with him and exaggerating them in front of folks to embarrass him. We had our squabbles but he was the first one to forgive.
I remember when mom served us bitter cup of Joe with sweet Danish rolls in the evening; I would finish mine hurriedly and run with his. He yelled at me while I enjoyed the sadistic pleasure.
One evening everything changed between us. It was a day I can never forget in my life. We had received our final semester results, I was in the eighth grade and George was in his tenth grade. As usual I was expecting him to get a pat on his back as my results were too average to qualify for their attention.
But, there was an unusual silence at the table, my brother barely ate and willingly passed on his Danish sweet roll to me. I noticed he was down and somehow it did not make me happy.
Later, in the evening, I went up to his room and was shocked to see him crying. I ran to him and hugged him. He held me, a lone tear escaped my eye; He told me he had not cleared the semester and felt terrible for upsetting mom.
Ideally, it was the moment for me to rejoice but somehow I was disappointed. In that moment I was there for him and as we hugged I saw my mom smiling at us from behind the door with tears in her eyes. It was indeed a memorable family moment when I grasped the simple fact that all you need is a moment of realization and a hug to overcome the bitterness in a relationship.
I never troubled him after that during our coffee and Danish time.
When love is enclosed within the thick shell of ego we miss the reality. The truth behind all the bittersweet relationships is just that. Simple! Isn’t it?
I looked at the two scooter athletes who were racing in the park on this bright afternoon and smiled to myself. They will have their moment of realization too, till then let them have the fun of this bittersweet sibling rivalry.
The one behind kept fretting while his brother was beckoning him. He refused to take his help.
Love & Joy,