A person’s character is moulded by two aspects: accumulated crumps of experiences over time and sudden epochs like flash floods . The former happens in a subtle way like a breeze, like a gentle brook growing into a river, while the latter is abrupt, sudden, and obvious like a hurricane which leads onto a definite diversion. Whichever douses you decides your destiny and influences your perceptions, attitudes.
My childhood influence, my inspiration, was my brother. He showered me with love and affection unlimited. As an infant, I had always experienced his paternal affection as he sat beside me- watching me, caressing me, and often inviting the wandering attention of my family to me. With me, his frayed tempers gave way to gentle affection which made me warm up to him in no time. He marked every moment of my life. Never a moment flickered past without his presence lighting up my senses: stepping into my new home, my first day at school, my first ride in our new car, my baby sister’s arrival…….. these beautiful glimpses of my past have vivid pictures of him at the forefront. All my family adored him, but he loved me best! He is part of my growing up, party to my happiest moments in life.
The hectic nature of my father’s work kept him on his toes and also, away from us mostly. So, we visited him at his work place occasionally, when he was free at his quarters. On one such occasion, on a bright and sunny Sunday the phone rang incessantly, and I ran to it desperately as if I heard the heart throbbing cry of a damsel in distress only to hear my granny’s intermittent gasps for breath. She was weeping, ranting on unintelligibly and I could feel the thick pale bereaved voice flowing over the phone. My BROTHER was no more! Mother took over quickly, and I could see her eyes reddening; I watched the pure crystal rivulets etch its curves on her check. Slouching towards the wall, she put the receiver onto the cradle with a bang.
That fateful day still looms large in my mind; the pain, the trauma still surfaces at the memory of that day when I bid adieu to my friend and counsel for ever. I had loved him more than myself, and my mourning extended to weeks of solitude behind the closed doors of my room. The untold agony of that 9 year old burnt red eating into his senses and sensibility. I would have given him my life if that would have made a difference, but it couldn’t! That was the first black epoch of my life. I changed, irrevocably.
I understood the laws of life, its transience, its truth; I realized that love is pain in happiness and it needs to be distanced from your heart. For, even when we traverse that blissful phase of love, look yonder at the horizon and you see fate concealing itself for the ambush. I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way, for ever since that wretched day, I stopped loving as I did. I cordoned off my mind with those yellow police tapes you see at the accident sites. Never again had I wept my heart out, never again will I weep!
Life moved on for my dear and near, but it stopped still for me! Their focus was the purpose behind his stay, but mine was more; they replaced him, but I could not! He was my brother, my buddy. Even today his beady eyes, wagging tail, and drooling tongue moves me in my sleep. His blue neck belt that I had held as I paced my baby steps…… gentle woofs of reassurance… none could replace those. The gap he left stands unbridged for life. None may fathom the bond we shared, what he meant to me; none ever since has loved me so- unconditionally, deeply, purely. He was Vicky, my guardian angel.