The Brave Kid I Parented

Graphic by Shubhank

I have a younger sister. Completely normal, isn’t it? Everyone (or at least most of us) have a little devil that disrupts our life equation, steals our ice cream, and maintains a firm grip on our new clothes. But my case is rather unique. My graced this earth nine and half years after me. So you can understand what we are like. At the age when I was waiting for the legendary teenage epiphany of the world, my sister was busy making sure she doesn’t divide by a math problem that requires multiplication. Then there was a special situation between us: she was so young that she is like a child I raised myself. Yes, my mom is a working lady and my dad lives in another state, away from home. So it’s two people parenting one another. She’s someone who makes me happier, more open and caring. I, in turn, painted her as me, someone with a very high sense of justice and a fascinating stubbornness. And I could never ask for any better heir for my innate quality, even now all those traits of mine can be seen making an appearance in her now and then.

One such event happened when she was in kindergarten. One day as I went to pick her up from school, I saw something that I will never forget. My sister, standing against a crowd of children. Bruised, sweaty,my sister stood there carrying a vague little caricature on her back as if her life depended on it. The children were pulling her, pinching her, kicking and pushing her, cursing and she was standing there, refusing to budge. Stubborn as ever. I was shocked at how cruel these preschoolers were, bullying a child while a group of adults watched the show. What made me more angry was that someone dared to touch my sister, who is very dear to me. My legs started moving on their own, and in a flash I was in front of her, boiling with rage, pushing two or three fledglings, (I know, not so cool, but I was not  bothered, not then, not now).  

My sister was kneeling, as tears ran down her cheeks, biting her lip to stop them. Behind her was lurking a short and skinny child, with my sister acting like her guardian angel. “Sonu? I called her name softly and she began speaking, “They hit the kid together because she picked up the chocolate they dropped on the floor. I didn’t want her to be hit, di. She is hungry, not a thief.”

Angry beyond my limits at the shoddy treatment of my sister and this child, I pushed three or four kids. This action of mine made the silent audience  enraged and sparked a heated discussion between us. I vaguely remember what happened next. The principal and teachers were  trying to figure out what had really caused the  uproar, forcing the crowd to leave. Long story short, it was so disastrous that my mother was called to rush to school with the parents of other children. They talked about what had happened, who was wrong, who was right. I remember an aunty screaming about how I pushed her baby and we sided with a kid on the street. Street child or not, everyone deserves justice, replied my marvelous mother. 

After an hour of fighting, a group of embarrassed parents were sent home with their children after writing a pledge, and my sister was praised by all the staff for coming to protect the street child. And I, of course, was given an earful for not trying to negotiate and being violent and all that. 

Six months later, she was praised for this act of kindness at her school’s annual event, along with that skinny child from the other day who received a scholarship from the school. And me? I’m still proud, proud of my brave sister, proud that she stood up for justice, and proud of what she will become. After all, this is the kid I parented.

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