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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Growing up with bête noire

Upant Sharma  Chandigarh, January 18, 2014
First Published: 13:42 IST(18/1/2014) | Last Updated: 13:45 IST(18/1/2014)

"It's been a long time since Muna visited home, though he calls regulary," mom told me. He is my elder brother, technical service manager in Aditya Birla Group, Madhya Pardesh, and it was the only discussion with mother about his wellbeing.

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I also had come back home after long, and mom was over the moon on seeing the second apple of her eye. While I changed, the familiar smell and the sound of popping masalas tingled my senses. To break the silence of the home, I put on television to watch the highlights of a 1090's cricket match. She entered the room. "It seems your affection with cricket hasn't waned," she said, and placed a small plate before me. I had been served my favorite idli, piping hot, with sambar and sweet custard that I loved from my heart.

My request for a bigger plate surprised her. "Don't you remember," she said, "This is the plate you'd die to eat from." I ate from the same dish. Dad came late in the evening. He was also ecstatic on seeing his son. Handling over the car keys, he told mother and me to take the motor out for a spin.

While driving, my eyes stopped over an ice-cream vendor who'd grown older with white beard.

Recognising his old customers, he proffered three sticks and showed gratitude with his eyes. Same day, dad took me down to the nearby market and gifted me shirt of my favorite colour.

I had to return to my professional duties the next day. The Following night, I harked back to my last visit home and my heart drove into the memory lanes of childhood. There, I found myself with brother on the same bed, vying for the TV remote. We had dissimilar ideas and tastes. I, a cricket fan, had to compete with a movie buff. Most of our fights would end up in parents' downing the TV shutters to maintain a tranquil atmosphere.

Our battle would extend to the kitchen ground, where at times, a nail-biting match was played between South Indian cuisines versus Chinese food. The umpire always had to bear the brunt of those fierce contests, and would then cook some simple dal (pulses).

Not stopping there, we would fight for the common favourite plate. Out of a missing consensus, the miffed mom would resort to a rotation policy without a blooper; all that by the poor scapegoat to distance herself from the allegations of bias.

During the times, owing to financial constraints, the parents skimped on almost everything to give us "two square meals". Whenever at shop, clothes were brought for only the one who needed. Called it immature conscience, the other would hanker for the same item.

Potent time did those sparring brothers apart. Now, they hardly came face to face, and if that happened, it was only on special occasions. The situation could have been different had I buckled and compromised a bit more.

I solicit all young siblings who often had a tiff, to catch up on this precious phase and make the best out of it; because one doesn't realise when the time goes by, even for a fight.

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