No Borders Presents: Loving Ourselves, Loving Each Other: Kiran & Kanika

  Valentine’s Day Series

 Kiran and Kanika Gandhi are sisters. Kiran, also known as Madame Gandhi, is an electronic music producer, drummer, artist and activist. Her music career and activism focuses on female empowerment and fourth-wave feminism. Kanika live in Montpelier, Vermont where she works for the Agency of Agriculture and runs the state’s pesticide program. She also runs a high school volleyball program in the fall.

Tell me the story of how you met. What do you remember thinking about one another?

Kiran: I was 4 years old when Kanika was born! Kanika very quickly became my support system and bestie. She’d go where I go and we’d do so many different activities together. When I was in high school and she was in middle school I’d always ask her to come sleep in my bed even though we had different rooms. I used to get scared at night and I loved that she’d fall asleep before me. We’d get bowls of cereal from downstairs and put Friends on and fall asleep. It was so sweet and a memory that to this day affects both of us powerfully.

Kanika: Well, we didn’t meet per se, the universe brought us together in sisterhood. All my memories of my childhood are basically us being inseparable. We were partners in crime from day one and have always been teammates. We still are partners in crime, even though we live on opposite ends of the country, I am lucky that we get to see each other frequently and spend time together.

How would each of you describe your relationship? What’s your favorite thing about your relationship?

Kiran: Kanika is extremely dependable and reliable. She is the sibling who always answers her phone or makes herself available to the rest of the family. It’s really soothing. When I was going through some relationship stuff she’d always answer my calls and talk me through different things. She is hilarious and sweet and very confident in what she believes. She shares my values of looking at patterns in ourselves and others, understanding each other, understanding how our parents affect us, and understanding how to take what is good but leave the rest behind when navigating our own lives. Our relationship is one of deep love, mutual support, respect, and learning from each other.

Kanika: I love that we can be real with each other. We don’t talk every single day, but we talk often and when we do we always make each other laugh till our stomachs hurt. I think because we are really different and aren’t afraid to laugh at ourselves we just have this connection that is filled with pure love and goodness, even if we have disagreements, we are never at war with each other like some siblings can be.

Compliment shower: name 5 things you love about one another.

Kiran: I love that Kanika is giving, hilarious, powerful, passionate, clear and stunning inside and out!!!!!!

Kanika: 1. Her presence – whether it’s a five hour conversation or a five second hug, she always makes me feel like the most important person to her.

2. Her passion – she knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to go after it fearlessly.

3. Her ability to see goodness in everyone (and herself!) – in her eyes everyone has good qualities and she brings them out when she is around people.

 4. Her sense of humor – as I mentioned, we often laugh so hard together that my abs hurt!

5. Her humility – she runs marathons, tours with Oprah, travels the world, gets an MBA (the list is very, very long) but she never gets a big head about her accomplishments. She stays real.

What is one thing you’ve taught/learned from one another?

Kiran: Kanika teaches me not to take any bs from anybody! I’ve taught Kanika how to always ask what is the intention, and how can we lead from the heart! Though she knows that too. Sometimes we just have to remind each other of what we already know ❤

Kanika: I often try to hide my feelings or mask pain I am in but Kiran has taught me to lean into my emotions and use them as a source of power. Both of us have been talking a lot recently about radical honesty and it’s so powerful to work on that with her. I have recently been going through a difficult time and she has been so supportive and offered me so much love and care, which has helped me uncover new emotional depth.

Describe your favorite memory together, one you’ll never forget & why.

Kiran: I really loved a recent memory of visiting Kanika at a cider festival in Vermont. I loved seeing her in her element, I loved the tasting, I loved how fresh and nature oriented everything was. It was so awesome to see her plug into the community that way.

Kanika: There are too many to say FAVORITE but, until she left for college, she let me sleep in her room every night. We would stay up late sometimes and have midnight cereal together just laughing and watching sitcoms and those moments are just so special to me. Sometimes, now, when I can’t sleep, I have a bowl of cereal and put on one of the shows we used to watch and it always comforts me.

In what ways do you support each another? How do you inspire one another creatively?

Kanika: I think we provide a lot of emotional support to one another. It’s always a judgement free zone so we talk about things that are working for us and how we cope with different situations in our lives.

What are some of your love languages?

Kiran: Mine are definitely words of affirmation, physical touch and gift giving! I wonder if Kanika’s are the same since we were raised in a similar way. Acts of service and time spent are lower on my priority list but of course important.

Kanika: Quality time, whether in-person or not, is very important to both of us. That is probably our main love language.

What color and animal do you feel best reflects the other person?

Kiran: Kanika’s color to me is definitely brown. Not only because she went to Brown University for both undergrad and grad school, but also because that color looks good on her, she has turtlenecks and boots in that color, her dog has shades of brown, and she is in nature with brown trees! Her animal is definitely her dog Silvia. It could also be a fiery Aries ram!

Kanika: Kiran’s name means first ray of sunlight so YELLOW is definitely her color. Yellow is also the color of the solar plexus chakra – I think she definitely is a source of strength for me so yellow makes perfect sense. I don’t think this is her animal in general, but from my point of view I think of an owl. She has semi-psychic abilities, I would say, and is always a harbinger of wisdom and truth for me.    

How does your ethnic background / identity bring you closer? How does each of your upbringings effect your relationship?

Kanika: I think being confused throughout childhood was a theme for me. Finding a sense of belonging as a first-generation American took me a lot of time. I don’t have that many friends from childhood to be honest, she was pretty much my best friend throughout. Our upbringing emphasized the value of family and strong family ties. I am grateful to be so connected to her because of this.

What are 5 qualities that you believe are essential to a healthy & happy relationship?

Kiran: Being giving, thoughtful, aware, considerate and actively managing for your own personal health and happiness so that you can show up to the relationship.

Kanika: Honesty (with self and the other), giving and being open to receive love, dedication, independence, teamwork.

Have you ever fought? How do you navigate disagreements? How do you reconcile?

Kiran: Of course! I think we both have an underlying trust in our love for each other though, and I do believe time heals everything. So when we fight, I feel patient, and I also continuously check in with myself to ask my intention and my goals, so that I keep sight of the larger picture and not small wounds along the way.

Kanika: We fight sometimes but it’s more out of care than anger. When we disagree, I tend to retreat into myself. She will often reach out and wait for me to be ready to talk – then she is open and willing to reconcile just through empathy and emotional maturity. She recognizes that I often have trouble making sense of my own emotions, so she gives me space to work through that first and we then have very intentional conversations.

What does your love feel like to one another? When do you feel closest to each another?

Kiran: I feel closest to Kanika when I visit her! I love seeing her life and her flow and getting inspired by it!

Kanika: I feel closest when we are laughing together. It’s honestly so powerful to me to laugh with someone who understands me to my core and has been by my side for my entire life. We bounce our energy off each other and it’s so healing.

If you weren’t siblings, do you think you’d be friends?

Kiran: Yes, we would definitely find each other and learn from our different spirits. Kanika is def spicy and fiery and assertive. I am more sensitive and peaceful and soft. We are good at holding space for each other’s ways, and knowing and loving the other as they are!

Kanika: Even though we work in very different industries and live far apart from each other, I do think we would be friends in real life outside of our sibling relationship. We are both forces in our own right and I’ve even noticed how much overlap there is in our, seemingly different, worlds. I can’t imagine in this life or any future lives I may have, that we don’t inevitably find each other.

By No Borders for No Borders