They laugh together, play together and fight together too. They share their clothes, toys and of course, parents. A part of us is incomplete without siblings who play a unique, magical role in our lives — a beautiful bond of friendship that’s made of equal parts affection and irritation. Look back and you’ll find that some of our best childhood stories, etched deep in our memories have a mention of them; because without them — life would be so dull and boring. We asked five creative people what their siblings meant to them and here’s what they had to tell us…
Siblings are…second parents
To Danish Sait, actor, writer, anchor and radio jockey, his sister Kubbra has “been a second parent”. “The absence of dad made mum the breadwinner while my sister took care of me. We share a unique bond where we’re friends, but I do have a code of conduct around her. I remember this one time when she burnt my butt by kicking me onto a boiler. Boy, that hurt,” laughs Danish. Kubbra, an actor and anchor, is older to him by five years but has, “always taken care of him, fed him, finished his homework and played with dolls and his G. I.-Joes alike. I’d even drop Danish off to school before heading to college,” she adds.
Author Meghna Pant is 14 months older than her brother comedian Sorabh Pant and is remembered in the family for slapping him when he was born, “because I’d heard my mother in labour and (obviously) thought that he was responsible for her pain. However, we’ve been best friends ever since. I used to do all his school homework, beat up anyone who bullied him, and edited his novels. He once travelled all the way to another city because I’d left my favourite pair of shoes there, and he even published my first book in 2005,” says Meghna.
Siblings can…fight like cats and dogs
Like in the case of singer Usha Uthup’s children RJ Anjali Uthup Kurian and Sunny Uthup, an HR executive with a top firm in Kolkata. “We have an age difference of just one and a half years and so we get along really well but we also argued all the time. We’ve always done the same things together — went out, played and fought,” says Anjali. Now that they are older and wiser, they bond over the same things — especially family memories. “Since we are out of each other’s lives and are not constantly pestering each other, we get along even better now,” she adds.
Older by three years, Malini Vachani Akerkar is a restaurateur, painter, interior stylist and jewellery designer, while her sister Radhika Vachani is an author and founder of Yogacara Healing Arts. “As children, we did not bond. We were always fighting and I think that’s what brought us closer,” says Malini.
On the other hand, Meghna and Sorabh have had just three-four occasions when they have actually fought. “And that’s a seriously good track record for siblings,” beams Meghna.
Siblings….bond over food
Danish and Kubbra always shared a sweet corn chicken soup, one-by-two. “We still do,” she smiles. “Back in the day, we often escaped from home to buy ice cream,” says Kubbra. In the case of the Uthup siblings, licking cake batter was a fun activity. “There were times when Amma would cook and we would lick the remains of batter clean before the cake went into the oven,” says Anjali.
The Pant siblings were raised in an interesting household. “At our house, chapatis were red because our mother would put beetroot in them, or ice cubes would be green because she’d put spinach in the trays,” says Meghna.
Siblings have…the best memories
Anjali and Sunny’s favourite childhood memory was that of visiting their paternal grandparent’s house in Delhi and the maternal one’s in Mumbai. “The days in Bombay were mesmerising because we had a mixed bag of cousins from all religions and backgrounds. From learning to draw a kollam, eating fresh Mysore pak to playing cricket and going on bus rides with my grandfather…Oh, they were such beautiful days!” smiles Anjali.
Meghna remembers, “This one time when it started raining heavily, while the rest of Mumbai was locked safely at home, we both ran out to Priyadarshini Park, and shouted into the wind ‘we’re the kings of the world’ (Titanic had just released). Everything was always slightly off-kilter. I think our creativity sparks from pushing the boundaries and breaking shackles since childhood.”
Siblings know…each other’s strength & weakness
Anjali admires the fact that Sunny always supports her without overdoing it. “He doesn’t overtly show his love and criticises me where it is important. As for him, he knows he can just pick up the phone and ask for anything and it will be done even before he tells it,” she adds confidently.
Celebrity DJ Paroma Chatterjee’s bother Parag Chatterjee heads a sales consulting company and is 12 years older than her. “When we were young, we didn’t bond at all. At least not me, I was so petrified of him,” laughs Paroma. Now, the two are more like best friends even though they are still exactly the opposite, “We can discuss anything without hesitation. I admire his intelligence. He is extremely well-spoken and has the ability to pull off level-headed conversations with almost anyone. I dislike his temperament though, he can lose it really bad at times. On the other hand, while he appreciates my genuine kindness and perseverance, he doesn’t quite approve of my lack of maturity at handling certain situations,” she adds.
Meghna wishes she had Sorabh’s bravado. “He’s not afraid to fail, or concerned with security — he listens to his inner voice. He decided to become a comic when no one in India had heard of stand-up comedy. Even when he was struggling and facing setbacks, he didn’t give up. Which is why, he deserves all the success that he’s getting now. Today when people stop him for selfies, almost everywhere we go, my heart bursts with pride. Although he’s my younger brother, there’s no one I look up to more and he appreciates that I always have his back, no matter what,” she adds. Sorabh though envies how organised his sister is.
The one thing Malini wishes she had of Radhika is her strength, resilience and discipline of wellness and exercise, while Radhika hopes she had Malini’s generosity and kindness. Kubbra appreciates that she and Danish are honest and vulnerable but regrets reacting too quickly. “We think later. I wish, especially, he had a little more patience,” she says. “I love her energy, she’s incredibly impressionable. I wish I could have her aura,” adds Danish.
Siblings grow…as families
The Vachani sisters spend a lot of quality time together, host regular family dinners, travel, hang out like best friends. “We are each other’s confidantes and an extremely close-knit family,” says Malini.
Meghna and Sorabh now meet at least once a week, take family vacations together since their kids are almost the same age and are conscious to be there for each other’s big moments, professionally and personally. “Sorabh was always immensely devoted to family, but he’s now become devoted to his phone. He’s always on social media or receiving calls. I’m aware that it’s par for the course, but I do miss his full attention,” says Meghna.
“As kids, Danish and I bonded like crazies. Now that life has become busy for both, we speak on the phone to discuss work, relationships, celebrate each other’s success and revel in each other’s joy. Both of us have taken different paths to arrive at our respective destinations. We’re happy for each other. That brings us closer,” add Kubbra who admires her brother’s sense of unapologetic humour.