He gently rummaged his quivering hand over her grey strands by way of touching her head, which is a subcontinental tradition followed by elders to give their younger siblings or children their blessings; it’s a symbol of love and respect. He then slightly bent in to kiss her forehead too, as he always did. This was no ordinary woman after all. This was his adorable sister, and he loved her with such intensity that he literally couldn’t shower enough care and affection on her.
Her love for him was akin, for she would peck his cheek gently, rest her head on his shoulder, and stay close by his side lest he should call out her name for want of something – the chemistry shared by these two is legendary. Never have I witnessed such undying affection between a brother and a sister before. They would laugh at each other’s jokes, read the hidden meaning between each other’s subtle quips, and more or less communicate with each other through their eyes, almost as if they were the same soul albeit in two separate bodies. They knew each other remarkably well.
One time when she had fallen gravely ill she fainted due to weakness and even as her offspring surrounded her bedside waiting for a servile directive from her, the first thing she uttered when she came around was to let her brother know that she was okay. This brother-sister duo was so attached to each other that whenever she was visiting him he would tag her along with himself wherever he would go, for the duration that she was staying. No matter where it was – supermarket, car mechanic, shoe store, Sunday bazaar, trip to a relative’s, or visit to the family graveyard – you name it, and she was always with him. Like a shadow emanates from one’s body, this duo was inseparable. They had grown up together, they had seen all the highs and lows in life together and they had been raised with pristine family values; one’s in which they had only learned a lesson of humanity and compassion, and love, nothing else. Both the brother and his sister shared common compassion for others, and humility, and servitude, and forgiveness, and acceptance. And the icing on the cake of their undeniable humanity was their proximity to the Lord.
This brother and sister had inherited a passion for supplicating to the Creator with a commitment and a holy faith the like of which I have never witnessed before. They have both attained such comfort in their incessant bonding with the Master of the Universe that their faith could move mountains. I have grown up with a caricature in my head when it comes to defining this unique siblings love; and that is of him lying on his back, tired by the luggage of life, and her sitting to his side with his calf in her hands by way of therapeutically pressing his legs, both all the while smiling at each other reassuringly.
Age had softened his gait and he was often tired in his legs, while she would never tire of soothing them as long as it provided her dearly beloved brother physical comfort. She would oil his hair and comb it, bring him curd and whey, rub his shoulders, cook his favorite dishes; in short, she would do everything she possibly could in one single weekend to ensure that he left rejuvenated after his occasional visit to her home. But, more than the verdant connection they shared which was apparent to the human eye, there was something unique and mystical about their bonding that could only be felt and sensed by the human spirit. Something that was not visual to the apparent eye.
A laconical conjoining of two souls. They could literally read each other’s minds, sense when the other was in harm’s way, and even communicate through one another’s dreams. All I know is that I have had the pleasure and good fortune of growing up observing this unparalleled human connection. A symbolic embodiment of God’s good grace. Two beings who are different in age and gender, and yet cut from the same thread. A pair of siblings who not only share similar features, genes, and preferences, but are also unified in the soul so sturdily that it radiates the air with a sentiment of compassion, generosity, togetherness, humanity, and pure innocence – my father and his sister, the quintessential soulmates.