Fifty nine

My mother came in through the doorway, stirring rice and curry on the plate. Outside, Acacia trees on top of the mound moved towards the wind in silhouette, against the grey sky that had been watching all the horror.
On the plate, my mother continued mixing rice with curry as she sat on the sofa that sat on the red floor. The sofa bore the print of dried leaves against sky blue milieu.
She silently fed us the unevenly pressed rice balls, one at a time.
I sat there with my mouth filled, beside my brother whose mouth was equally filled; the Tv remote held high to his chest with both his tiny delicate fingers.
It had been days since uncle Sudha came home. The quick knocks on the front door had been ceased, I couldn’t recall when was the last time I saw him stand down on the steps in white; shirt tucked into lungi.
He would take one of those grey chairs I have before me, empty and scattered, to watch Tv serials.
I would ask my mother, ‘Where has Siddhi(uncle) gone?’
His room brought in some of the memories through the light blue curtains, where he changed his clothes and slept through the night with shirt off his body. In the room where I had asked him, ‘Can you get me an ink pen? while he tied the long lace of his big shoes to leave for Goa trip with his friends who were from the vicinity.
I had just got promoted to class 4 in school and we were told to use ink pen to write the copy books.
‘Writing in ink pen will improve our handwriting.’ Ida Ma’am would say during her afternoon classes, post lunch, when we’d sit in sweat and sleep.
Until class 4 we wrote in pencil.
I called him ‘Siddhi’, for he was my dad’s younger brother. On random nights, I swept my blanket from where we slept to his, to share his bedspace. He made jokes, and I laughed with him, filling the room with humour. My mother would quietly smile from inside the kitchen.
I thought of him again, while little Sunil sat before me with the red tray on his lap, scattered with toys. As seasons changed, I forgot the fact that the house had someone else apart from the three of us living in the dim light.

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