Mouths were filled with crisps that made clamorous crunch sounds followed by a quick shiver each time she flashed the only torchlight in that dark eerie room on her face. My sister, Anjali went on narrating, twisting, and turning the plot on our demand as she cunningly planned jump scares once every often. Every October, my cousins and I would look forward to our much-awaited sleepover at her place, those packs of Doritos, and that infamous spooky night. Born in two different families, we had a different sets of parents, had a sibling each but we were inseparable. I never noticed until I grew up, just how much she influenced my choices, be it in books, movies, or wit. People taught me how to use my knife and fork without clattering, how to sit with the back straight and not slouch, how to walk without dragging my feet but my sister, Anjali taught me how to question everything I knew and everything that others said.
I remember my sister ever since I remember myself. It was October again and that evening as I waited for Anjali to arrive, I sneaked into her room but froze on the doorstep gobsmacked. It felt like a different world altogether as those pale yellow walls were now every shade of blue I knew of, the ceiling was covered in stars which glowed and the wooden wardrobe which was my favorite spot to hide when we played hide and seek was now covered with posters and stickers of owls, dragons, and werewolves. Ever since that October, I’ve been hooked on Harry Potter, the paranormal, and the supernatural. No one had ever handed me a book that I ‘enjoyed reading’ so much. I vividly remember her reaching for that tightly packed yellow bookshelf and handing me that heavy dusty hardbound which had a picture of a boy with round glasses and a steaming red train with a banner that read ‘Hogwarts Express’.
It took me six more Octobers to finish the Harry Potter book series but by then I was already addicted to the art of imagining and living in different worlds. I will be forever grateful to her. ‘Who’s the bigger demon?’ she asked. ‘I am!’ I screamed back. This was our chant to help us overcome pain and fear at times such as while going to the loo alone at night when lights started flickering due to the fluctuating voltage and post nightmares when we woke up in cold sweat alone in the dark. She unlocked my imagination and stretched it as far as she could, which has helped me in every step of my life, for now, I keep myself in others’ shoes before I pass comments and my second thoughts are often accompanied by third thoughts. She taught me how to declutter my head and make room for new ideas, to go crazy with colors, and follow my gut rather than being a robot formatted by aunties, uncles, and parents. She taught me how to be ‘me’ unapologetically.
Years passed by, she moved to university, she made new friends and was engrossed in her own life and so was I. Our October sleepovers grew longer gaps however, even today every time one of us buys a pack of Doritos, we text each other the latest horror movie we’ve watched or the latest book we’ve read. She’s twenty-four now and I’m nineteen, yet, whenever we meet we frantically run towards her room; close the curtains; dive into the bed; open at least fifteen packs of Doritos and binge-watch horror movies all day, all night until we pass out. We instantly regret our decision the next morning as we go through a terrible headache but we do it regardless.
I get teary-eyed every time she says that she sees her younger self in me because I feel like I’m nowhere near her. Every time I say something absurd and manage to make her head turn, lighting up her eyes I feel like I’ve achieved something great. In every final credit scene post every horror movie, she made me chant along with her ‘Who’s the bigger demon?’ ‘I am!’ I thought it sounded cool and badass but I never really understood what that chant actually meant until I grew up and started facing difficulties in school, family, friends, socializing, and in life in general. That’s when it hit me like a blow to the chest as I realized that I was in fact the ‘bigger demon’. She upgraded my brain, opened my eyes, and encouraged me to write my own rules, worship my eyes for what they show me, and write my own Bible.
Read other reflection articles by Sneha: (http://reflections.thamescollege.edu.np/?s=Sneha+Dahal)
Read Sneha’s Kathmandu Post articles: https://kathmandupost.com/author/sneha-dahal