IT started to rain heavily mid way. I was sitting behind his bike. No raincoat. He was riding it. With raincoat. He said something like he was sorry that I was getting wet. I said something like it was okay. Just when a few yards away, I spot a house. Water was gushing out of what looked like a water pipe protruding out of the bottom of the ceiling. Since I was sitting at the back, I could not see his smile. And before I knew it, he strode his bike right beneath that pipe. I was already drenched. I was now drenched in muddy water. Next thing, I was hitting his back with my fists while he was laughing very hard under the crying sky.
I mean how can you NOT hate such a guy? To my extremely heartfelt “missed you”, I get a “bhag ja” in reciprocation. He is a man of actions. I am a woman of emotions. I think words can express, speak, listen, heal. He thinks they are theory without actions. As kids, if I was the drama queen, he was the cult film director. Biologically, he is two years younger than me. But practically, intellectually, emotionally and in every ‘-ally’s I can think of, he is way older.
Jealousy was the first emotion I had felt for him. Being the first child in the family, I liked being the cynosure. I hated the division of this exclusive attention. He had to bear the pangs of revenge for years. To top that, he was cuter. Actually he still is L Maa says I used to resent him so much that once I had bit his tiny finger so mercilessly while he was just a year old.
‘Pikky, andhera ho gaya, andar aaja,’ is how this annoying 4-year old would shout at me from our door while I was busy playing cricket with the boys outside. As a kid, he was the shy one. I was the vivacious. And so he would always want me to stay at home and play ‘cars’ with him. Strange, I preferred cricket and football back then and I wanted to become a journalist. He adored miniature bikes, cars, and soldiers and wanted to become a Policeman. Silly!
I remember how we both used to get ‘gullak’ to save our pocket moneys. I would break it way before it was even half full. He used to keep stuffing it with currency notes till a few started protruding out of it. I felt those notes peeping out his bank teased me. That part was not his fault but then he would showcase it before everyone during Family Prayer time. That’s cruel.
He annoys the hell out of me when he says ‘Maa loves me more’. We have had pillow fights, water fights, wrestling, shoe fights. I love snatching his things, he loves hiding my things. We still chase each other around the house. He absolutely loves it when I hit him coz that’s when he gets the best excuse to hit me.
The eruption of the genetic love took a ‘Eureka’ moment. We went to different schools back then. While playing in his school, an open metal rod had gotten deep inside his left thigh. The rick guy dropped him home in the same condition. The moment I saw the wound, I felt my world tumbling down before my eyes. Maa rushed him to the hospital while I said one of the most earnest prayers I ever have. When we hugged later, I felt as if my breath returned. Later I wrote in one of my friends’ slam books as the Happiest Moment: When my brother returned from the hospital, walking.
Yet I hate myself for one particular instance. Once in 11th grade (he was in the 9th), he came to my class to keep his bag with me so he could stay back and play with his friends in the campus. I refused, not wanting to appear silly to my own friends. I still remember his face. That was the end of the last drop of resentment I had for him. Thank God.
Radio Mirchi auditions was when we both discovered for the first time our ‘work chemistry’. It didn’t occur to me even ONCE that we both would eventually make a great work team and run a production house together. I remember getting all too protective of him when they asked us to write our own scripts for the auditions. I was worried how he would write. So when I walked up to him to help, he read his script to me. I cracked up big time on each of his lines. It was a brilliantly funny script. So when the final phone call came and he was selected, I didn’t even think once about my own selection. Yet he was truly happy only when I got a call too. We both didn’t join Radio Mirchi for two simple reasons: They were giving us shows on Sundays. Two, they weren’t allowing both of us to host one show together. “Host karenge to saath mein sir, warna nahi karenge” is what he told their Producer.
The only thing that I taught him was cycling. He has taught me things even he doesn’t consciously know. He is a great swim coach. He keeps talking to me even when he knows I am not listening and am lost in my own thoughts. He makes me chase him irresistibly. He loves waking me up by – sprinkling water on my face, making weird noises or simply playing guitar. He is the best talker I have ever known. He is a great company and the best movie companion ever. He forgives generously and has a bad memory. And he is practically my bank balance.
Together we have made puppets, organized torturous shows for our audience – our three cousins. We have built landscapes on our little water channel in our garden. We have held paper boat races in muddy waters. We have written, composed and sung the silliest and the most melodious of songs together. We have jammed like mad during power cuts. We have talked about our dreams, crushes, and frustrations for hours at nights. Despite that we are next door neighbours, we text each other at night to communicate very important things like ‘shor mat kar’, ‘nalayak’, ‘radio band kar’ etc.
My brother is the reason why I have never really needed the company of a boy friend. He is a storehouse of blessings. He is one of the top-priority in my Thank You list of prayers. He is a delight of my mornings and the star of my evenings. While he plays guitar and we sing together, he makes me feel – this is it, this is life. He is my best friend in every sense of the term. The biggest thing is he can make me laugh very very hard while knowing fully well how to hold each of my tear. I love him. And I hate it that I do.