Thursday, April 6, 2017

Just Siblings

The heated battle left them both breathless. Still, sparks flew from their eyes and hot words waited to be spat out. The intensity of the emotions had drained them of all energies. The ring of fire around them kept well wishers with soothing words at bay.

Finally, Nimrit's husband Param managed to pull her away. Anuj was dragged away more reluctantly. Still breathing fire, Nimrit blasted her husband, but her anger was directed at the now absent Anuj. Anuj, her younger brother, shrugged off the hands that held him and went to his room. His wife Geetha made a face and turned away. Stung, he left the room and headed out.

Slowly, the embers cooled. Night claimed her right to some quietude. She lulled the inmates into sleep. Except Nimrit. The fire still raged and she got up, gently moving Param's arms that encircled her. The fire had also melted the hard rock of her heart and tears flowed freely now. It felt strange to know that she couldn't bury her face in her mother's lap and cry; that she couldn't call her mother and rave and rant into her patient ears; that her mother would not be soothing her with her gentle touch and soft words; or dismiss her with a cutting snub.

She opened the door of her room gently, suppressing her desire to break it open, and walked to the balcony. Night presented herself in cool majesty. The many tiara's she wore twinkled in the sky. The moon played hide and seek as lonely clouds drifted. The beauty was not lost on Nimrit, who held the railings of the balcony and leaned back sighing. The cool air did wonders and she felt her rage subsiding. Tears, though, wouldn't. They came with renewed vigour and shook her body. She leaned forward and buried her face in her hands. Silent sobs shook her. She felt foolish, she was done crying for her mother. But it was not her mother she was crying for!

She felt an arm around her shoulders and straightened with a sharp sound. She turned to look at her brother, who seemed to be battling with his own emotions. Her body went rigid, but he held her firm. Slowly, she relaxed and leaned on his shoulder, one arm slipping around his middle.

"Where were you?" she whispered.

"Where you lost me," he answered.

They remained silent, and then the laughter bubbled. "Ssh...!" they warned each other, but sat down, unable to contain it. They cried some more, as this silliness reminded them of their mother - trying tear them apart when they were fighting, and then rolling her eyes when they made up just as suddenly, without warning, leaving her shouting at them for being such bad siblings!

They sighed in contentment. They had drifted apart because of work, marriage, life in general. But as they sat with their shoulders rubbing, they knew that even in the worst moments, they wouldn't lose each other, the link to their roots, the link to their identity.

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