In Some Parallel Universe…
“Mom! He called me a cow!” she shouted at the top of her voice, over the railings of the staircase, to the kitchen below.
“No Mom! I didn’t call her a cow! Because she is a fat cow!” I bellowed, imitating her. She became more furious and I swear anybody could have managed to fry an English omelette on the top of her head.
“YOU LITTLE WEASEL! YOU ARE GETTING EXTERMINATED TODAY! AND I SO MEAN IT!” She shouted, lethally waving her hairbrush at me as if that was her lightsaber. I was upstairs and was equally livid with her. She had creased my favourite book, on its cover. She was ever so careless and I hated that!
“Uff! How old are you two! One is twenty-three and the other is twenty-seven for god’s sake! Are you ever gonna grow up or what! I spent thirty years doing this! I can’t take it any more.” The two-storied house rang with our voices. Mostly her and mine. Mom’s was usually quenched beneath ours.
“Mom! It’s her fault! She can’t even read a book without ripping it apart!”
“What the hell! It was just a minor fold and I didn’t mean to do it! You have lost me my nail polish remover bottles countless times! I never find them when I need them” she cried out.
“So, it’s revenge, is it? Did you hear Mom, are you sure this is what you taught her?” I shouted down to Mom.
“Give me a break! Leave me out of it this time!” Mom sighed loudly from the kitchen amidst the clanging of the utensils.
I had just stepped inside my room when I heard quick silent steps. I knew it was her. She wanted to knock me flat on my back for calling her a cow, which by the way, she deserved. My room was never my choice of floor to fight and incidentally, her favourite. I anticipated her motives and dashed for the door to the adjacent corridor. Her room was just across it and I had to get there – to abduct a promising hostage, perhaps one of her favourite dress or lip-gloss – for letting me go! You know girls, they always have a lot of stuff they won’t ever need but still treasure it as if gemstones. When I reached my door I saw her at the top staircase at the other end of the corridor. She obviously thought I won’t hear her tiptoeing.
“Oh you idiot! NOT MY ROOM YOU MONSTER!” she shouted at disbelief.
I smirked at her and broke into a run towards her room and she after me. This was my usual defence and she knew it. I got to her room, pulled open her wardrobe and grabbed one of her dresses. She froze at the door.
“Bhai please! Not that one! I will kill you if a single thread is tampered!” she threatened. Her voice quivered and I picked up the indication instantly. I smirked and began my negotiation.
“Leave me alone then. Say you are sorry you wrinkled my book.” And I took a step forward towards the door where she was still standing frozen.
“Okay! Okay! I am sorry.”
“Say it will never happen again!”
“Okay, I swear it won’t happen again. Just give me my dress back.”
I picked my steps cautiously towards the door, holding the dress like a hostage being used as a human shield. She stood in rapt attention and didn’t take her eyes off mine. I crossed her and after taking a few steps away, I threw the dress at her and ran for the stairs. She tried to chase me but tripped over her dress and – CRASH! She fell on her knees and moaned painfully. I dashed back to pick her up.
“Tell me nobody broke any bones!” Mom called from below. She was thoroughly familiar with incidents like these.
“No Mom, I am okay.” she called back to her.
I put my arms around her gently and picked her up to sit on the floor. She rolled up her pajama she was wearing and rubbed her knee while I examined it.
“Didi, come I will take you to my room and will get some ice.” I said gently with a smile. I melted on the way she didn’t try to blame it on me.
“Naah, I will be fine, just fetch me that tube of pain relief cream from my wardrobe and it will do” she said, massaging her knee.
I didn’t know she kept medicine in her wardrobe but I did as I was told. I rummaged through her wardrobe and my fingers caught something hard. It didn’t seem like a dress, nor the tube of cream she was talking about. I carefully took it out and my eyes went rolling and tumbling, probably out of the solar system. It was the Calvin & Hobbes hardbound collection – Rare edition.
“Tell me you like it! It was very difficult to find, I tell you!” she grinned as she stood on the doorway, fondling a few strands of her hair. I ran and hugged her tight. She giggled away like a little girl.
When I let her go I saw her eyes, sparkling like a little baby, caught on it’s happiest moment.
“After all it’s Raakhi, bhai!” she beamed.
I asked her to fetch my pen from my drawer. I always wrote didi’s and my name on the books.
I watched her as she limped away towards my room, and a while later, it was my turn to treat my ears to a scream. An overjoyed one, of course.
She had been goggling at a beautiful turquoise dress, which was on display in a shop a few weeks ago, and when she had saved up enough and had gone to get it, it was gone.
Well, guess who bought it!
Dear Hypothetical Didi,
If you were my Didi in this lifetime, I swear I would take you for granted, but love you like a gem. I swear I would fight with you every day, pull your hair, shout at you, but be there when you need me and (even if like a pinprick on your neck) when you don’t. World would have been such a different place, wouldn’t it? But I guess, I didn’t deserve you enough. When I think about the limitations, I blame it on God and comfort myself. But the most perplexing irony lies in the fact that, at the same time, the limitations are the exact things, for which, I don’t wish to believe in God. I wish I knew which side I was on. For now, I just wish you existed. I promise I will meet you someday, in some parallel universe…