I was such a handful that my parents decided not to have any kids after me, making me an only child. So I’ve never experienced a sibling rivalry. I started thinking about this topic while reading Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. The main character, Saleem Sinai, was the firstborn in the family. He was also born at the exact moment of India’s independence from the British – at midnight on August 15, 1947.
The Prime Minister of India writes baby Saleem a congratulatory letter for being born on such an auspicious moment, the letter also states that the Prime Minister expects nothing but the best from adult Saleem. A sadhu (holy person/soothsayer) begins to live near Saleem Sinai in order to keep an eye on him because it is prophesied that adult Saleem will go on to achieve greatness. All of baby Saleem’s neighbors are so fascinated by the timing of his birth that they all take turns babysitting him. As you can see, Saleem Sinai is ‘The Chosen One’.
Meanwhile his younger sister, who is affectionately nicknamed the Brass Monkey, has to light shoes on fire to get attention (I don’t even know her name yet because this book is told from Saleem Sinai’s perspective and he hasn’t bothered to tell the reader his sister’s real name). The Brass Monkey is a mischievous prankster that is not deterred by any kind of punishment. She’s pretty, cheerful, and it’s hard to stay mad at her even if she burns your favorite pair of shoes. She burnt her parents’ shoes, her brother’s shoes, the shoes of her neighbors, she was basically inseparable from matchsticks for nearly a year before growing out of her arsonist phase.
Are your sibling rivalry stories as dramatic as this one?