~The True Treasures~
For all non-Bengalis, before you think I have messed up on my spellings, let me clarify –Didibhai is an endearing term for Didi or sister in Bangla.
A luridly colored purse with flaming orange fur dangled from her shoulders as she hopped away in gay abandon.
“Didibhai…” he called after her in a squeakily cute voice. Didibhai turned.
“What will we play now?” he asked his elder sister, looking up to her with much respect and great awe.
“Come along you,” she ordered, taking his hands in hers and both the kids skittered their way to the balcony.
Didibhai loved to count her treasures and at that stage, nothing was more precious to her than her beloved tazos. Both the siblings sat down cross-legged on a mat spread out on the balcony floor spreading their treasures with much ceremony. The coin-shaped but much larger in size ‘tazos’ that used to accompany the packet of potato chips in those days of yore (as I call them now although they don’t seem so far away in reality) lay spread out ahead of them. A major reason that the inclination to buy wafers and potato chips developed in the kids those days was these tazos. Cleverly marketed by the companies, the tazos had captured the imagination of the little kids, leading to a shoot-up in their sales. While most of the tazos sported static colorful pictures, some of them glittered with twin images as well. Perfectly round, almost like coins and decorated with images of cartoon characters, the tazos were the most prized possessions and the closest to the siblings’ hearts.
“There! A lizard!” Didibhai shrieked and little Bhai’s eyes darted to where she was pointing. Her hand meanwhile had surreptitiously stolen over to his side. A tinkle sounded somewhere but before Bhai’s attention could be diverted, Didibhai repeated, “There! There! Two more lizards have come up!”
While the poor kid looked around for lizards, the sly elder sibling pocketed some of the tazos from Bhai’s side.
“Where are the lizards? I can’t see them!”
“Oh I think they vanished. You shouted too loud and scared them away,” Didibhai said, knowing full well that her word was the ultimate irrefragable truth for her little brother.
By the time he had returned to the tazo game, Didibhai’s pile of tazos was much larger than his. No prizes for guessing how the mischief was managed.
Does the above narrative ring a bell? At all?
You know, it was a pity that you couldn’t count at the time. Had you been able to though, I doubt you, my dear Bhai would have countered my words even then. Such a perfect disciple you used to be! Sigh!
Those were the days! My golden days of reign! What fun I had had!
Looking back on those days, I wonder how things have transformed. Yes, I still call you Bhai, although (I guess it was quite expected!) you have dropped the salutation of Didibhai you had reserved for me then.
Do you remember how we invented games out of thin air? The days of Pokemon and Maggie Hot Wheels racing? The days of playing cricket with plastic bats and housie with plastic utensile? The days of endless Beybladeing ? (Although I later restricted myself to providing commentary as you and your pals ‘let it rip’)
I remember how we gushed at the new stationery, dividing the pens, fancy erasers, sharpeners, scissors and the like into neat piles. Those tall Shaka Laka Boom Boom pencils, egg-shaped sharpeners, huge Goldilocks and Snowwhite books…
Crap…how I miss those days! The days when our biggest problems used to be taking a bath and eating meals. The days when all we needed was our colorful paraphernalia and zero interruption by ‘elders’. The days when all we feared was getting scolded by mother for messing up the room and scattering the toys. Oh how we treasured those tazos, cars, dolls, cutlery and heaven-only-knows-what-not! But I know now what the true treasures were. Moments with you, dear brother…
Yours affectionately (and slyly 😛 )
Here is a little token for you :