The blessing of elder sisters
Between my two elder sisters, there is a running joke that I am the wisest sibling despite my age. It's because being the youngest means I get to live through them vicariously, so I draw collectively from their experiences alongside my own. While, personally, I think there's still a long way to go before, I can claim to have surpassed them in wisdom, it's true that my sisters have taught me just about everything I need to know to navigate the world as a young woman. From teaching me the know-hows of the perfect eyeliner wing, to giving me my first lessons on feminism, Apu and Apuni have the antidote to all life has to throw my way.
When it comes to love lives, elder sisters know better than relationship advice columnists. Nusaiba Hoque*, a private O Level Candidate, shares how her sisters helped her end a toxic relationship. "When I was fifteen, I made the mistake of dating a guy who was a lot older than I was. The relationship was unhealthy and there was an imbalance of power resulting from the age gap. My sisters helped me realise how I was being taken advantage of and that I deserved to be treated with more respect. When I finally broke it off with the guy, I was so glad I took my sisters' advice."
Older sisters are also a godsend when you are going through an academically stressful period. Naomi Sharif, a recent HSC graduate from Viqarunnisa Noon School, shares how her older sister, Ornee, has been helping her cope with the gruelling university admission process in Bangladesh. She says, "The networks she had already built in these spaces gave me access to the information I needed to make the right call about my future. While I had watched first-hand when she had struggled through this process all by herself, she made sure the same didn't happen to me."
Lamia Nur Rahman and her sister Farzana have a 10-year gap between them, but still share a strong bond. Lamia, who passed her A Levels from European Standard School, says, "People in my family call me the rebel who paved her own path but few know that the credit all goes to Sadu apu. She's the first woman in the family to take trips abroad on her own with friends, and also made her own choices when it came to important things like career and marriage. I get to be the best version of myself because she already fought the nasty battles for me."
I truly believe I would not have made it so far through life (relatively) unscathed had it not been for Apu and Apuni, and the more I think about it, the more it baffles me how anyone is supposed to function without older sisters to guide them along the way.
*Name has been changed for privacy
Nahian Nawar is a slow reader and a fast eater. Teach her how to be the opposite at email@example.com