Twenty

When I was little, he was someone who’d always giggle, at me and at every possible thing I did. When I cried, when I laughed, when I fought and even when I had a long list of complaints against him, he never stopped loving me. He’d sit by my bedside and watch while I’d be asleep. He’d sneak peak from his reading newspaper to look at what I’d be upto. He’d place me on his working table while busy with office writing. Memories of the glaring purple cycle he bought me one night, the pretty yellow umbrella that he woke me up to in the morning, the twinkling maroon gown that he gifted me without asking for it. The stubborn kid that I was got all kinds of luxuries to get spoilt furthermore.

It was the day our school results were going to be announced. I was in class three while Sunil had just finished his first year of nursery. Every kid in my class was anxious as to how their results would be, except for the Alva kids. A result day was as usually, just another day for us. We were fortunate to have parents so lenient as ours, I had thought. But mom would be difficult to predict.

‘So this is what you’ve scored!’ It was unfair on her part to let go of my brother and target me alone.
‘Everyone got B+ , not just me’ I tried to defend myself.
‘I don’t want your old rotten answer’ and she went on scowling at me till I started crying and till she was tired and till my dad rang the doorbell.
I was standing, with tears rolling down my cheeks and all over the face. Inclining against the wall, both my hands taking turns in wiping the tears. How my brother sat on the bed and gaped at me, at my mother and now at my father who had entered the room.
‘What’s the matter?’ he asked tossing his bag onto the bed which fell beside my brother and how at that point of time I wished it fell directly into his face.
‘Look at your daughter’s performance’ my mom was real mad at me.
Dad got his hand the marks card, his face smiling as he went through my grades. He was controlling his laugh when he learned that the quarrel was over my marks.
‘It’s ok. B+ is a good grade. It’s more than A and A+ . So you should be happy.’ he said, moving not too far from where he was, trying to be funny.
I was least concerned of anything, I had started crying and I had to just continue doing so, it just had to go that way.
And I noticed that my mom had still not stopped nagging, I could barely understand her words amid my sobs except for the part when dad got his share of accusations.
‘You don’t cry, Sheethal. I’ll set up a beauty parlour for you!’ he smirked at me.
My tears bygone as mom left the room saying ‘That’s better’
Little brother was snoring. Things were back to normal.

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