I’ve always been a fearful brother to my siblings. It’s that I can’t remember the last time I replied to their questions without showing lines on my forehead and barking ‘come again?’ prior to that. I can easily get away with such attitude since I’m the eldest of three. They indulged me with their silent fright without an urge to complain. They obey me like a trooper does the man present at higher chain of command, they fear me like a prey does the huntsman but they love me for some reason I can’t think of. Given this condition; I thought I was most successful eldest brother. Though I cannot say that I felt satisfied; I never ransacked the possibilities lied on the other side… till now.
I think they ever wondered the existence of a ‘friend’ inside my tough shell. As they hiked closer to discover what they sought; they were pushed away by a sour holler from my side. Yes I know what you are thinking by now; ‘heartless’. I don’t blame you for that.
The youngest one; my brother developed an interest for art. I think he is pretty good at it; much better than many of his age. But I never praised him for that. Once he painted some of my portraits and wrote something sweet about me on top of that. He put those on my study table as surprise gift on my birthday. I scolded him hard for messing my table and made him throw those papers out from window. I think he was hurt because I didn’t see his face for next few days. And the younger one; my sister… she never gathered enough courage to submit the ‘poem’ she wrote about their loving brother after that.
There are many examples that match the above one. It won’t be wise to stimulate your hatred for me any further mentioning those.
Now a day I wonder about the possibilities. I think if they deserve a bit more from me. I think… and my ego stands as threshold against letting them in. Mom told me not to tighten the knot anymore; rope might tear but that’s not my concept of elder brother-ism. Anyways, I experienced something that day while loosened the knot a bit.
Mom took my sister to the tuition. It was my responsibility to look after my brother. He finished study and nagging to take him play but I got a new John Grisham novel and didn’t want to leave. He had no other way to entertain himself except for painting; sitting by my side on sofa. After a while I noticed he started painting on my hand. The context of his painting didn’t fit in the a4 size paper I guess. As I said earlier; they always try to discover the presence of affection inside me. That was a notion. Once I thought to produce a bark but I didn’t. I was exploring the other side and it felt heavenly that day. Soon after that I was his “Rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock” partner. Then he was rehearsing funny ‘Oggy and the Cockroaches’ hindi dubbing playing ‘jack’ and ‘cockroaches’ while I reluctantly played Oggy. As days passed, we did pile of painting together while my novel remained unfinished.
My sister noticed the wind of change and there she was with her diary of poetry and expectation of getting praised. And I couldn’t disappoint her. She deserved that.
Things have changed. Now I respond to their call with line not on my forehead but a curved one on my lips… that you call smile. I don’t bark anymore, no longer I am an agent of terror in their eye and now I have a reason to explain their love for me. That day I let that form of love to paint on my palms and now it has conquered my heart. Now I know; it was a heaven on the other side… the side I live in now.