Do you have an elder brother? What is he like? Conservative and dominating or friendly and humble? If you have an elder brother who is conservative and dominating, I feel pity for you as much as I feel pity for myself. If your brother, on the other hand, is friendly and humble, I will congratulate you, for you have a gem of a brother.
In India, as in the other parts of the world I assume, elder brothers are given great importance. Well, they may not be given as much importance as we give to our father and mother, however in the absence of our parents, the elder brothers (or sisters) play the role of one.
Now, from time to time – that is, on special occasions (which, I must submit, are rare in my case) – I like to indulge in a little drinking. Many people find it difficult to spend their time without imbibing a little on the night of 31st December (the night of the nights). A few days prior to 31st December, friends and neighbours start asking what your plans are for the 31st. When a neighbour asked me the same question, I replied to him saying that I was not doing anything much; I would just sit quietly in my room and have a glass or two of wine and have something to eat with it. My neighbour wanted to say something but he was holding back. At last, when he could hold back no longer, he wished his desire to have a drink with me in my room. That was the 31st of December and I wanted to say goodbye to the year in a high spirit and welcome the coming year with even more enthusiasm. I could have denied my neighbour to have a drink with me by giving some excuses, but then I thought what’s the harm in having a company who will only make the environment livelier while I drink? So, I said that he was welcome. He asked me whether I would mind if he brought in a friend of his. I said I would not. He seemed delighted to hear that. He informed me that he would join me in a few minutes.
After a while, he came to my room. Along with him came his friend and (well, yes, one more person) his brother. I looked at them, they looked at me. I was just about to say, “come, feel at home and make yourself comfortable,” but they did it voluntarily and I saved my words. The neighbour had something in his hand that was wrapped in plastic. When I asked him what it was, he placed it on the table and started unwrapping the plastic and said: “See for yourself, homie.” It was a bottle of Whiskey.
I sat on my chair. The neighbour and his friend sat on two chairs near me, while the neighbour’s brother lay down on the sofa (he didn’t join us). I had prepared salad and made omelette to eat while drinking. The neighbour suddenly had an idea and asked us to wait a few seconds till he returned. The sudden idea of the neighbour was a mystery to me. After about five minutes the neighbour returned and with him he brought a few pieces of fried chicken. “Excellent stuff!” he exclaimed. His friend gave a half smile and his brother seemed sad and occupied with some thoughts.
I had my wine with me. The neighbour and his friend drank Whisky (which I found too strong due to its high alcohol content) and chew on the chicken pieces. The neighbour’s brother looked at us all the while and I thought he wanted to join us. “Come, join us,” I said. But he did not come. I did not know what was stopping him from doing so.
I asked the neighbour: “Doesn’t your brother drink?”
“He does or he does not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”
“Oh,” I said, “he is a good guy unlike us.”
“He is or he is not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”
As we were drinking, suddenly, once again, the neighbour got an idea and he excused himself and said he will come back soon. Right after he moved out of my room, the neighbour’s friend locked the room in a hurry and then what had to happen, did happen. The neighbour’s brother jumped from the sofa and sat right in the chair where his brother was. He poured a glass full of Whiskey and offered his thanks to some god, dipped his little finger in the glass of Whiskey, sprinkled a few droplets and, without even mixing water, he emptied the glass at one gulp. “The chicken,” he said and he had one piece, thereafter he had many more. His elder brother never came back and, after a while, after thanking me a thousand times, the neighbour’s brother and his friend went tipsy topsy out of my room.
Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS