by Anupom Kumar Hazarika
Waiting never comes to an end. A baby inside a mother’s womb waits for the right moment to come out, and then it would wait to grow up quickly and the process of waiting for different things keeps on recurring in its life. There are pauses in our life as well. We cannot deny that. Once your wait for a particular thing is over, somewhere in this world another person starts its most tedious activity of waiting. I have just turned 21 years old. Not a brilliant student, bad at playing sports, moreover inactive in the cultural field. I do not have an amiable relationship with my only elder brother. He is unsparing and crabby. He is not compatible with me. Many are the reasons.
“Why is she not studying? Her exams are quite near.” My caring brother asks mother angrily when he sees me with her sitting before the big television set and he switches it off.
“What sort of thing do you say? We have switched it on a while ago. We never disturb you when you watch cricket,” says my mother in an argumentative way.
My mother does not like our interference when she keeps herself engrossed in watching her favourite soap operas. Failing to argue with someone, he takes recourse to a mood that makes me terrified of him. Sometimes, he throws one or two English words from his mouth to win anyhow. It is funny to see him stressing on words. He does in order to create a strange atmosphere where his voice can rule over my mother’s voice. Once, my brother saw one or two pictures of a good looking fellow on my cell phone.
“Mother, tell sister to stay away from my sight. And, have a look at her phone. Do not give her so much freedom so that she will break your trust one day.” I heard him saying it to my innocent mother the very next day, followed by some made-up stories about my activities. In his narrative, he added some extra ingredients. I could hear him clearly. Hats off to him for being a persuasive story-teller. After a while, my mother came up to me with indigestible “khichdi” which was forcefully infused inside her then empty head.
“What am I hearing about you? Do you not have any shame? Look at your brother what he is doing. Everyone loves him because he is good in academics. What sin have we committed in our previous life that we have given birth to a girl like you?”
My mother burst into tears after delivering her most valuable and emotional speech. I am accustomed to her habit of crying. Her behaviour was not far from surprising me as it was something that I have to deal every day. A quiver of emotions ran inside me. Annoyed, disgusted and embarrassed. I did not know then how to react to it. Yes, I was taken aback when she broke my concentration as I was preparing some serious notes. My
brother was not pretty much sure that I witnessed him on that day intruding in my private things. I wonder where do I live in - a prison house or an asylum? I am not running after a prince charming. Neither after a macho guy nor after a rich hunk. It was a picture of one of my friends.
The internet is always there to guide when I try my luck at cooking. I cooked a new dish yesterday. When my brother reached home and sat for lunch, my mother offered him rice along with it. He ate silently without uttering a single word. He chooses either eating or talking. I cannot do that. I am talkative. So, I always get scolding from my parents for opening my mouth at inappropriate places.
“Who has cooked it?” He asked finally, pointing his fingers at the bowl.
“The amount of masalas is less. The chicken pieces are slightly uncooked.”
It was his critical reply. He has a very sensitive tongue which can figure out what is raw after being cooked. Do you think a piece of chicken meat remains raw after being cooked for about an hour? Do I not know what is raw and what is cooked? The food and his taste made a mismatched couple. Should I post my questions on Facebook? If not-so-good pictures of mine can receive more than a hundred likes, then my questions can bring a shower of comments from my devoted friends. My brother is good in sports, music, cooking and making new friends.
I am tired of his friends who visit our house.
When they come, all I have to do is to prepare tea and cook delicious dishes to feed their hungry and empty stomachs. Mother and I have to do the job of cleaning the dirty cookery and utensils after they leave. One thing that his friends find quite strange is he never introduces me to them. I have not heard him say a single word about me. Of course, there is nothing to talk about me. I am not someone who can be at the centre of everyone’s attention. He is rather ashamed of my incapability. I am a so-and-so. I am not like those girls who get attention from both their classmates and teachers.
I do not know how the distance between us has been created. Who created it? Whose motive was it to separate us? I still cannot figure out the reasons. I feel sad when people remind me of those happy days that we spent together during our childhood. We would chase our own shadows like two wacky lovers. We do not talk much anymore. We do not chase birds like we would do. We do not repeat what we did in the past. I am waiting for that day when the gap will die out, it would be bridged and we would talk with each other like old pals. ***
#Khichdi- Indian dish made from rice, pulses, vegetables etc