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Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

Siblings in flight: From nest to skies

Niharika Tallapaka
The Sidekick staff writer Niharika Tallapaka defines her brother, Nihant, as her best friend and a great role model. She details how her brother leaving for college affected her as she grew up and their bond with one another.

I still remember the time we dropped my brother off at UT Austin.

My mom was holding back her tears when it was time for us to leave. My dad ran in and out of my brother’s dorms, so he wouldn’t seem as upset as he was.

My brother has always been a strong person. I’ve never seen him cry in my life. He sat in his dorm, full of excitement running through him. 

I wouldn’t consider us similar at all. My brother, Nihant, is an extremely smart, extroverted and lovable person. His interests compared to mine are different and without close ties. People would always question how we were siblings when we had such different personalities and views growing up.

My brother is a calm person who never gets angry, and he keeps things peaceful at all times. I, on the other hand, always fall into a troublesome situation and come out of it either upset or sobbing, with the special occasion of both happening together.

It never hit me how much my brother leaving would change things. Maybe it was because I was only in fifth grade and I barely processed what was even happening.

The drive home was completely silent for three hours. My mom was trying not to sob while my dad was busy staring into space. I felt nothing when watching them become so upset.

According to the Washington Post, “When parents or caregivers experience sadness, loss, anxiety and loneliness after their children leave the home — can affect siblings, too, even siblings who are not particularly close.” 

Whenever I mentioned how my brother left for college while I was in elementary school, people seemed to pity me. They seemed to always tie my brother to an immense amount of sadness and brutal loneliness. But I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing.

My brother and I have an age gap of 8 years. That might explain why I never felt any sadness when he left, since I was too young to grasp the situation.

Coming home from school to a sibling-less home was quiet. I enjoyed that. 

Things changed when COVID-19 emerged and we were back to square one.

At this point, I was old enough to have meaningful conversations with my brother. I sat in his room some days, talking about random things. It struck me that maybe I did genuinely appreciate his company.

Over time, my brother being around wasn’t all that bad. Even though we were at such a different place in our own lives, we understood each other. That was until time rolled around where he had to go back to college.

With COVID-19 regulations in place, I wasn’t able to go and drop him off. I stood outside with my mom, hand in hand, waving goodbye, acknowledging that we wouldn’t be able to see him for a few months.

As things went back to normal, I realized that him leaving still didn’t affect me as badly as people said it would. With the distance between us, we both had our own distinct and shared experiences. 

Siblings leaving the household does not always have to be viewed in a negative lens. Being physically distant encourages and fosters independence and development of identities. Over the course of the four years my brother was in college, he experienced a different perspective on life and so did I. While he was out pursuing the career he’d always wanted, I experienced newfound friendships and developed a deeper bond with my parents.

The years went by quicker than ever and before we both realized, it was time for my brother’s graduation. Watching my brother walk the stage, memories hit me unexpectedly. 

I remembered the nights where I would stay up late waiting for my brother to come home, the movie nights and late night car drives. I remembered laying in my room crying about whatever was happening in my life on FaceTime while he told me I would get over it in a day. He was always the person that I needed when my life felt like it was falling apart.

I realized that distance doesn’t necessarily change someone for the worse. People all these years felt upset for me because my brother left for college when I was so young. However, the distance between us had only made us closer and by the end, we became best friends. 

As the graduation ceremony came to an end and he started taking photos, I got my camera out and started directing him where to stand and what to do. After 30 more tries to finally get him to pose and smile right, a woman passed by us with a smile brighter than the sun and approached us.

“By any chance, are you guys siblings?”

Follow Niharika (@niharikaht) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributor
Niharika Tallapaka, Staff Photographer
Niharika is a sophomore and it’s her first year on The Sidekick as a staff writer.

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