“NU!,” he calls out. Everyday. When he returns. Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not. Mostly, he wishes to tell me how his day went. Family calls me Anu, but he’s the only one to call me Nu. Maybe it’s a nick-nickname, if there ever was such a thing.
I remember the day my mother told me, sitting on the bed, “You’re going to have a little brother.” I was furious. “But I never asked for one!” I sulked and refused to speak to her for a day. Or more.
And the day he was born? Oh don’t even get me started. I was bursting with pride, I would be dancing as part of our school day programme. We had practised for a month, and my mother and I went to numerous stores, looking for a shirt in that perfect shade of pink, to go with my yellow tights. There I was, with a clown’s makeup, excited and nervous. Nobody came to watch me dance. Well, my grandparents did. But let’s face it, I never liked them much. They took me to the hospital and I saw him for the first time. Crinkly and red. What was all the fuss about? I sulked, again. “Don’t go near!” “Be careful” “Don’t trouble Amma!” – OKAY FINE.
The baby came home, and everyone was in raptures. His tiny limbs, his eyes, his wispy hair, his cheeks, they couldn’t stop cooing, wouldn’t stop. I sulked, yet again. And refused to go near him. I’m not sure what happened then. He was swimming all over the floor. He started crawling. He would smile at me, pull my hair. He made noises. Maybe I would come to love him after all, in spite of all the times he bit me and made me get Tetanus shots. The doctor asked me, “Why don’t you bite him back?”, and I looked at him like he was crazy. How could I bite this adorable rabbit with just two teeth?
He was an angry child. Prone to temper tantrums and bouts of anger, with his little fists balled up, and the veins in his face about to burst. Funny thing is, I wasn’t able to bear my parents yelling at him. It made me cry. Looks like my resolve to dislike him had already weakened.
We grew up. Fighting, making up. More fighting.”Don’t keep throwing the ball, I want to study!” “Close the door if it disturbs you!”. Fighting for TV time, fighting to turn off the light, or on. Everyone said to me, “But you are almost seven years older than him, how can you fight with him?”; and that puzzled me. What else were we supposed to do? We created secret handshakes and unspoken codes. We played on lazy summer days and watched every Disney movie there ever was. We cheered for Roger Federer and feverishly read Lord of The Rings. We supported each other against our parents.
He is my brother, the one I named. I will protect him, correct him, teach him, delight in him. For I am Nu, his sister.
Now excuse me while I go get the remote from him, it’s time for my show.