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He-My Brother by Elsa Thomas

July 19, 2014

He──My Brother
By Elsa Thomas

MSUTHA0514_1

He looked handsome in a zardozi coloured bandgagla. A silver brooch was pinned to it. He looked nothing less than a prince from an Indian masala flick. He looked perfect. As he walked out of his palatial house, he stopped and turned back. His eyes were searching for somebody. “Where is she?” I made my way out of the crowd, the baraatis. “Come here. You were supposed to walk along with me. Why are you hiding behind?” I reached up to him. “Shall we?” he asked as he extended his arm. The crowd started whispering, “Who is she? What is she doing with him? Why is she holding his hand?” He could hear all of their loud whispers. His stern eyes sent a message to all the whisperers. He led me towards a car in which his mother, he and I were to be driven to the mandap. His mother kept scolding him for having me share the car with ‘her son’ and her. “Please mother, it is high time you accept it all and besides she is not responsible for this.”

She kept cussing at me until we reached our destination. Just as we stepped out, his mother put on a façade of being the happiest woman on Earth. She greeted her folks and the other guests with a traditional Namaste and touched the feet of the elders, seeking their blessings. He got down the car and asked me to stand by him. I felt uneasy after all that had happened in the past forty-five minutes. I tried joining the crowd that thronged to enter the marriage hall. He pulled my hand as I tried to escape his eyes. “Wait here and don’t you hide.” I stood there obediently. His eyes were now soft. He smiled at me in excitement and happiness.

His mother kept a watch on him and her eyes were requesting him to abstain from doing what he was going to do. As we entered the hall, his mother-in-law to be performed some rituals before he could take his place at the mandap. I was with him like a shadow and the girl’s side also tried to play a little game by trying to woo the groom’s relatives to know who I was. He could sense it all and was well aware of my condition too. He could feel the kind of awkwardness I was being subjected to. The priest pundit called for the bride. She followed by her mother and many other girls came out of a room with some flowers and other ritual related items. She sat where she was indicated to sit. She looked like a goddess. She wore a beautiful dress that matched his bandgagla. She looked beautiful, very different from what she looked when I first met her. The rituals began. The priests started chanting some shlokas and mantras. It was time for the most important ritual, the pheras. As his little sister was about to tie the loose ends of a cloth that connected him and her, he stopped her. “Come here. You have to do this for us,” he said to me. Shocked, all the guests whispered into each other’s ears. People accused me of malicious things. I could not hold on any more and when he saw tears roll down my cheeks, he lost his cool. “What is the problem? Is this all because I asked her to do this for us? Then listen to me.” “Stop it! Not a word further”, his mother screamed. He paid no heed to her. “For all those who do not know her, meet my sister, my older sister.”

The crowd went silent for a minute. I could feel the shock on their faces. His mother was left speechless. His bride too stood by him. She knew of me. The guests kept discussing things that were unbearable. Some of his folks knew my truth but kept stressing on the fact that I was an illegitimate child and that it wasn’t my father’s fault but that of my mother’s. “Bad blood”, “like mother, like daughter”, “Her mother is the solely responsible for all this.” He sensed my uneasiness. His eyes were now red with rage. “Oh just shut up. Shut up you all. She is my sister, half-sister in conventional terms. She is my father’s daughter.” His mother was now in tears. She looked at me with hatred. Her eyes were telling me things that I could not stand. It broke me internally but my half-brother, no, my brother and his bride stood by me. “If her mother was wrong, so was my father. If her mother was characterless, so was my father. If she has bad blood in her veins, so do I. I have accepted her, it will be better if you accept her too,” he said looking at his mother.

My stepmother screamed at him for having spoiled the reputation of his late father and for having maligned the family name. He affirmed that anybody who is unhappy with me was free to leave. I could feel the strength in him. He, my brother stood beside me when the world looked down upon me. He, my brother ignored all the allegations that the world bestowed on him for me. What more could I have asked for? The guests remained seated, some in support of my brother; some just to complete their duty of being present there and some who were in wait for some more drama. Somebody’s life was the subject matter of their entertainment. The marriage took place in an uncomfortable air. In spite of it all my brother and his wife were happy. I did the rituals as per their wish.

Today I was recognized by the world in the real sense. Today, I have a new name. Not that of my late father but that of my brother. I was his sister and he my brother. I did not need any other relation to define me.

Copyright 2014 Elsa Thomas
Image courtesy: Google images http://images.styletagassets.com/products/390793/large/MSUTHA0514_1.jpg?1395167322

9 Comments
  1. Kiran K. permalink

    Kudos! Simply well written. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • Elsa Thomas permalink

      Thank you Kiran! I assure you some more of the good read.

  2. Poignant! good wishes Elsa

  3. The Wind was surely better. This had a bollywood masala touch, same like ‘him’. Especially, his words “Oh just shut up. Shut up you all. She is my sister, half-sister in conventional terms. She is my father’s daughter.” looks copied from Bollywood. Maybe, a little hurry up, while writing. The Wind had an elegant flow throughout.
    It was a good start, and the thread of suspense was also kept going well, till the revelation came.
    Keep writing more.

    • Elsa Thomas permalink

      I need honest comments to improve and thank you for giving it. 🙂

  4. Vaibhav Chaturvedi permalink

    awesome story
    n the way the writer has depicted is worth a loud applause
    #hatsoff!!!

    • Elsa Thomas permalink

      Thank you Vaibhav! It is a touchy issue. My idea was to proclaim the innocence of the victim in this episode.

  5. Reblogged this on bychanceofserendipity and commented:
    🙂

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