Bhaiya, Mai Bhi Hu

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That’s why I don’t like coming to markets with you” Arvind looked completely pissed off sitting in a saree shop. “Who takes so much time, Shalini? Do quickly otherwise, I will leave and you come back by cab” there was no stopping for Arvind.
“Arre !! Wait”, Shalini gave a pleading look to her husband. Turning towards the shopkeeper, she said “Bhaiya Ji you are showing me the sarees which are beyond our budget. See if you have some cheaper ones, we are looking for a Raksha Bandhan gift.” Shalini was making strange gestures with her eyes and hands. She looked intriguingly at the last corner of the shelve and said “Don’t you have some discounted stock”
The shopkeeper was about to say something when suddenly Arvind intervened “ Arre!! you might be having outdated stock which is no longer in fashion. My sister is not that stylish,  she accepts whatever we give her.” Arvind was blissfully unaware of the fact that the shopkeeper looked completely shocked. Perhaps this was a wholly unexpected statement from the mouth of a brother. But Shalini got alarmed and tried a vague effort of damage control. “But this lockdown has disturbed our whole year’s budget otherwise we would have bought an expensive saree for her,” she said lamely, not knowing how to finish the sentence.
“Yes sir”, he asked a salesman and within seconds he came up with a pile of, a bit old looking sarees. Shalini very quickly approved one and Arvind paid the bill.

At last, the festival of Raksha Bandhan arrived. A lot of preparations were to be done. Shalini got up early in the morning and since then she had buried herself in the kitchen. She could hear a song playing somewhere “Bhaiya mere rakhi ke Bandhan ko nibhana”. Her lips automatically started humming along with the song. Arvind was busy doing usual chores and their son Sahil was sitting on the plush sofa in the drawing-room completely lost watching a cricket match.

“Sahil, enough of all this now. Get ready and go grab some sweets from the market” Arvind said while sitting, holding a newspaper in his hands. You are a grown-up boy now. When will you understand your responsibilities?”

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“Now what papa?” Sahil got a little irritated on interruption.

“Beta, Until now we had been funding you for the gifts, now that your sister has been married and you too have started earning, you have to manage on your own. I hope you must have purchased something for your sister for Raksha Bandhan.” Arvind said in his characteristic style.

Oh!! Yes, papa, don’t worry, I bought a gift for her the day before. And I am sure she will love that.” Sahil said cheerfully.

“Good beta”, It was a bit unexpected for Arvind. A completely different glow came to his somewhat firm face. He stalled for Sahil to speak up further. But Sahil again engrossed himself into the match. Arvind could not control his curiosity and said “So what have you bought for your sister.” 

Sahil, with complete dislike, switched off the T.V and moved inside his room. Another minute he came back with a packet in his hand. Handing it over to Arvind he said “Papa I have bought a mobile phone for didi”

Arvind’s eyes flashed for a moment. Very quickly he opened the packet. Holding mobile in his hand and muddled with confusion he said. “Is this what a brand new phone looks like”?

“Arre nahi papa, this is a second-hand phone. I didn’t have enough money to buy a new one.”

“What?  you’ll be giving a used phone to Dipti? Have you gone mad or what? How can you even think of this? Arvind’s eyes turned into marbles. Shalini came running from the kitchen with this sudden outburst. Arvind was fuming.” Look Shalini, now your son will give his sister a used phone as a Rakhi gift”. Sahil, don’t think that everything we possess is yours. Your sister has an equal share of our assets. And we can still give her the best of the bests. If this is your thought process then what will you do after us? Throw away this phone or rather give it to someone needy. Here are twenty thousand rupees, go get a new phone and sweets for her” Arvind said, handing over some money to Sahil.

Sahil, without saying anything thrusts himself on the sofa callously.

“Papa, if didi holds an equal share in this house and should be treated well, then what about Bua Ji. Isn’t she the daughter of this house whose owner was Dadaji? You go and ask the shopkeeper for a discounted saree. Don’t you think that she too deserves an honourable treatment”? I was so embarrassed when Rijul told me about this. Before doing this you must have realized that you are going to Rijul’s father’s shop.

Suddenly the sound of the doorbell changed everyone’s attention from the brash comments of Arvind. Leaving both his parents perturbed, Sahil got up to open the door. 

“Arre!! Bhaiya, why did you send a cab for me? You know I wasn’t ready and the driver had to wait for a pretty long time”.Buaji’s voice was quivering while she was entering the house. In Fact, she was happy with her brother’s kind gesture. Arvind looked at Sahil, whose gentle smile made it obvious that it was Sahil who booked the cab for Buaji. Soon Dipti also arrived along with her husband. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, began the much-awaited ritual of Raksha Bandhan. Buaji sang her usual traditional folk while tying the Rakhi on Arvind’s wrist. 

PREET KE DHAAGON KE BANDHAN MEI, SNEH KA UMAD RHA SANSAR

 SARE JUG MEI SABSE SACHA,        BEHEN BHAI KA PYAR

The air in the room became so loving, joyful and overwhelming. Dipti tied rakhi on Sahil’s wrist too while Shalini was busy laying the dining table for breakfast.

After some time, Sahil appeared from his room holding two packets in his hands. Handing over a packet to buaji’s hands, he spoke most endearingly. “Buaji Papa bought this for you and didi this is for you”. He gave the other parcel to Dipti. The parcels were opened without lingering too much, and Dipti squealed with joy looking at the brand new phone. “ I am so happy Sahil. You knew that my mobile was getting old and I loved this brand”

“Bhaiya, why did you spend so much on this expensive saree”? It was Buaji’s turn now. Arvind did not miss seeing water in her eyes. Arvind and Sahil exchanged meaningful looks with a soft gentle smile. 

Time and destiny have their own uncanny ways of showing you the mirror and pulling you down when you think you are perfect. And sometimes this task is done by your own child. Sahil had unearthed many hidden and unexplored dimensions that lay untapped within Arvind.

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