Why did this calamity in the form of a younger sibling have to befall me?
My mother’s enchanting smile had vanished, and Dad had stopped playing bat and ball with me, from the time Sushant was born.
How I adored my mother’s tinkling laughter. For me, she was the most beautiful woman on earth and my dad was the most handsome man. However, since months together my mother, a coiffeur, forgot to maintain her hair. It was always disheveled with stray curls dropping all over her face
Even as a young boy of six, I could feel that dad’s aesthetic sense of dressing had become conspicuous by its absence. There were days when his elegant tie would dangle on one side and the color of his attire was incongruous.
Kith and kin threw sympathetic glances at Sushant. I could read their expressions. ‘You seem different, ‘ they meant to tell him.
Yes, I knew he was different, that was the reason why I lost my parents’ affection.
My hatred for him grew exponentially.
My parents pampered him, coaxed him to eat, cajoled him to utter words, and kept repeating ma*, baba*, dada*, in front of him.
My epicaricacy knew no bounds when Sushant failed to utter any of those words. But the tears in my mother’s eyes and the vexation in my dad’s face from trying hard not to cry stirred my heart.
For a ten-year-old boy, someone who troubled his parents was evil, and Sushant fitted the category thus becoming the object of my wrath.
With fresh hatred for Sushant, I approached him on my eleventh birthday. Not that I was very keen on giving him the birthday cake, but mom had asked me to do so.
I loathed when he drooled, especially after eating something, but I didn’t have the heart to disobey my mother. If feeding a piece of cake to Sushant was making her happy, I wouldn’t mind tolerating him for a few minutes.
He was seated in his wheelchair near the window when I offered him the creamy cake.
I had never spoken to him or even gone near him in these five years after his birth. This was the first time my mother had asked me to feed him my birthday cake.
He smiled as he smeared the delicacy all around his mouth.
In disgust, I was about to leave the room when I heard something, ‘Daa….daaaa…… daaaddaaa.”
My mother rushed with tears of joy in her eyes. Dad was exhilarated on hearing that Sushant had called out to me.
There was jubilation in the house after many years.
Suddenly I felt a gush of love for my little brother. He had brought back the smile on my parents’ faces.
Not worried about the stubborn stains on my new dress, I hugged him. “You seem different, that is for people to say. Yes, you are different and I love you. Call me dada again.” I playfully nudged him.
His giggles reverberated in the house.
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