In terms of years, she’s about seven years younger than I am. But in terms of being zen and peaceful, she has decades on me.

“So, Akanksha is the older one isn’t it?” Being zen helps I guess ­čśŤ

We are very different. Two ends of the same spectrum though, thankfully. Thankful because this means that even though we’re different, we “get” each other. When I call her up to discuss work and end up ranting for 30 minutes, she “gets” it. When she tells me to shut the fuck up after 30 minutes of ranting, I “get” it too.

There are no dramatic eventful sagas from our childhoods that made our sister-relationship spectacular or dreadful. There were a few but we dissected their entrails long enough and hard enough that they became boring and dry and desiccated and turned to dust.

We work in the same industry. She has her clients, I have mine. Sometimes we work together because the brand believes #RedhuSisters will be a better brand campaign for their product. But mostly, we work separately and drink beer together. We hang out at our parents’ apartment and watch mind-numbing television. We can sit together for hours and don’t feel the need to fill the silence with words. It wasn’t always like this of course. I’ve always felt the need to fill silences with words – a LOT of words. She’s been patient with me for the most part and I have been patient with her. Our relationship has evolved from “we’re sisters” to “maybe we can be friends”.

What I find fascinating is how when we’re at Mom and Dad’s apartment, “You get it.” “No, YOU get it.” is the oft-repeated line when there’s beer or ice-cream to be fetched from the refrigerator. We’re both equally capable of go-getting but we’d both rather the other did it. Especially if it is something that either of our parents wants either of us to go get. Even more so when it’s Dad. We’re less likely to try to delegate if it’s Mom who’s assigning chores. Dad, on the other hand, is open season.

When we are at each other’s apartments, however, we behave quite differently. Which I find even more fascinating than the above. She offers to bake muffins even though I haven’t even hinted toward anything quite as dramatic as baking. ( I don’t bake – I barely cook myself – so her offering to cook feels like a massive obligation and who needs such complications in their life! Will I, now, have to offer to bake muffins when she visits my apartment?! I hope not. ) She has house help so it isn’t hard to get away with asking for food or beverages that require manual labour. But then she does things like cooking / baking her self and I’m always thinking, “WHOA! Wait! No! Why?! Ok that smells wonderful. I can haz extras yes?”

What I find most fascinating, however, is how we behave when we’re at my apartment*. I don’t have house help and I’m not much of a kitchen person, so it’s usually “Let’s order these awesome salads.” And we both gorge on the same ice cream brand and flavour, so that’s never a non-consensus issue either. But then I go and do things like making green tea and nimbu paani**. This is so unlike me – or so I’d like to believe. Manual labour in the kitchen is the Boy’s forte, not mine. I can roast peanuts and live on them for a whole month. I know how to cook but I’d rather not. So, even offering to make beverages that require actual work, is shocking. As I’m asking her if she’d like green tea, the voices in my head are having a field day, “Really?! Green tea?! Do you even know where the jar of honey is stored? And are you sure what you’re going to be making green tea and not regular tea disguised as green? What about lemons? Surely you’ve got some months-old fossilized ones eh?”

Not only do I make the green tea, which turns out decent by the way, I also serve the tea in these cups and plates we haven’t used in years. The nice china-ware. Wedding presents. Box being opened after six years no less. She says she likes the green tea. And the nimbu paani. ( Yes. I made both. ) We go for a walk after this and find a couple of swings in the park and all is well with this scheme of things.

And then she tells me she hated the china.


*This “apartment” is the new place I’ve moved to in Gurgaon. She visits my apartment now. When I was in Noida, she visited maybe a total of six times in six years. I like being in Gurgaon. For obvious reasons ­čÖé

**nimbu paani = lemon + honey + salt + pepper + water