You know, Rishi and I weren't always this distant.
But for some reason unknown to me, whenever I hold something dear to me, shit happens. For Rishi and I, shit happened twelve years ago, when our respective parents decided our two bedroom apartment was suddenly too small for our family of eleven.
Our home was renovated, where in the big living room was shortened and an extra bedroom was cut out of the space.
Before this partition business, Rishi and I would sleep in the hallway on our own respective mattresses and whisper about the stupidest things throughout the night. There were times he'd wake me up for midnight snacks and we'd feast on the Hide and Seek biscuits Ma would always store way up on the cupboards; out of our reach.
This used to be an adventure.
Tiptoeing to the kitchen, dragging the old stool from the corner, Rishi picking me up, hoisting me in the air and then standing on the stool himself so that I could retrieve the biscuits. In the end, Rishi would always eat more than me, he'd had a monstrous capacity all along.
But I recall enjoying every bit of it.
He was my best friend.
Eventually, the rooms got separated and he ended up with his mattress in a separate room and I ended up with my mattress in another.
We started to drift apart.
There was always this unspoken truce between the two of us though, for old time's sake I thought. But boy was I wrong.
I was sixteen, and it was one of the many days when Rishi's friends had decided to drop by unannounced. I'd always wondered what he and his friends did behind the closed door of Chacha Chachi's* room in their absence.
*Uncle and Aunt
So I barged in one day.
Rishi and I'd been so close at one point in time that it didn't even occur to me that he might not like it, or that he might feel embarrassed in front of his friends.
He threw me out of his room that day. I wish I could say he threw me out of only his room.
It didn't take long for me to realize that he threw me out of his life too. He had, a long time ago, he was just waiting for a trigger.
I could never call him Bhai again.
And he never looked me in the eye again.
Bade Chachu* has very rightfully claimed the big bathroom. Let's make this clear, the big bathroom isn't big in the literal sense of it. It is called the big bathroom because well, it has a Western styled bathroom.*
*Eldest Uncle of the house
*Indian styled bathrooms need one to...well...squat for performing the needful :p
So like I was saying, he claimed the big bathroom; and him being the eldest son and all nobody questioned him. Nobody cares that the other bathroom is across the living room and it is really very embarrassing to walk out of a shower and have some or the other relative grinning at you; trying to guess what the purpose of your visit to the loo was.
This also means, that Rishi, Chachu, Chachi and Dadi use that one bathroom.
While the other SEVEN of us, adjust with the little one.
No problem at all!
"Vi..." Vedant called softly, and watched as Vidisha stirred in her sleep.
"Viii..." he called again.
"What?" she snapped.
"VIIIII!" he called more firmly.
"WHAT Bhai!?" she snapped up from the bed, her hair wild all over her face.
"Are you kidding me?"
"Sorry." He mumbled, and was almost about to leave when she called,
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah." He nodded promptly.
He did, awkwardly.
Vidisha ran her hands through her hair, as she looked at him questioningly.
And before he knew it, he'd leaned in and pulled her in for a tight hug.
"Bhai?" she asked nervously, her arms twirling around him too out of worry.
"Vi, I'm sorry for being so rude today."
He felt her back vibrate for a response.
Oh she's laughing.
"When did we start apologizing to each other for all these petty things?" she asked.
"You know, though I get annoyed a bunch of times, I really like it when you call me Bhai in public."
Vidisha pulled her head out of his chest as she grinned, "I know, Bhai."
YOU ARE READING
Back To BackTeen Fiction
Vedant Shah. Born into a family full of successful, self made entrepreneurs, struggling to make something equally meaningful out of his life. Meera Modi. A daughter from a household in which a woman holds respect only as a homemaker, fighting again...