‘Her’ Brother has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
I clearly remember that day, when I saw her in a state so vulnerable that I was almost afraid to comfort her with a hug; afraid that she’d shatter into a million pieces if I touched her. A huge part of me ripped itself off my soul and tore down into little pieces just like her shirt. My elder sister, she lay there with a bruised face, with barely any clothes on her.
Every single day after that incident, I tried to envision her the way she was. The way I’d seen her exist. But somehow I miserably failed. I couldn’t lure her with a Bourneville anymore. She didn’t get excited when our sibling song played on MTV.
She had always been quite protective of me; both saved and kicked my ass, as and when needed. We fought like bloody hooligans but were in the same team when it came down to watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S or ordering pizza. We were as stereotypical as one could be. I don’t think I have missed something even remotely as much as I miss that feeling.
I’ve heard maa cry, she is always composed around us but I know she breaks down as the pressure cooler blows off its steam; just so that we don’t hear her sob. Her plight is unfathomable. And papa, he has forgotten how to love, he loved my sister the most. The day she was hurt, he bore the pain too. There is a void—a sense of emptiness—that won’t snub, no matter how hard I try. It breaks me, more and more every passing day. They say, a ‘victim’ loses a part of herself/himself, but on hindsight, there is a family, obliviously losing bits and pieces too.
We share a room, typical middle class household shenanigans, you see. I always found it annoying. Sharing a room with your elder sister, I actually forced them to get us single beds. Ironically, now all I think about is holding her close and repeating ‘it’ll be all right’ on a loop.
Hardly anyone noticed, but she did, that I grew up quickly. She held me the other day, sat me down and reassured me, that it is just a phase and she will come right out of it in no time, while her voice cracked a little.
Do you know how guilty I feel? I made fun of her. Every time she cried after a sucky day. Every time she wanted to sit with me and pour her heart out. I wasn’t there for her; I didn’t want to be there for her. I told her to go find a hobby, and she did. That’s where he hurt her. Every night when I hear her beg him to go away in her sleep, I can’t help but burst into tears and wonder if I was a little sensible she would have never gone to that sick bastard and he wouldn’t have touched her.
I just want my sister back. I want to her to do those weird yoga poses and to make me cold coffee.
I just…want her back. I want to see her toothy smile and hear her horribly loud laughter again. I want to see her cry a river when she watches K3G. I want her to secretly sneak out to smoke a cigarette and then bribe me with her pocket money to keep mum.
Is it too much to wish for?
Lately though, I have seen her move on. Overcome everything that was holding her back. She has started to live a little better. Those stifled sobs are fading gradually. The terrifying nightmares seem to be a history now. I am proud of her and can’t wait for her to start afresh.
Ah, I’ve rambled on enough. Before you ask…
I am her brother. She could be anyone, insert any name you wish. Yes, the one you talk about in hushed voices; her brother whose rape case gave you a topic to discuss when all seemed boring. She is hurting, trying to move on but your pitiful stares drag her back to a reality she does not wish to relive, as she steps out of the security of her home.
I humbly request you to let my sister get back to being herself. For you to let me get back to being who I used to be and to leave our family out of the tea time discussions, or over a smoke.
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