Brother O Brother
Brother O Brother
I met her almost a year back. Even though our fathers were friends and we knew each other by names and descriptions given by our respective parents, we had never seen each other. She was 15 and she visited my place along with her parents and elder brother. Her family had decided to settle in from Indore and we were the only ones they practically knew in Delhi. They had purchased a flat just 10 minutes away from ours and my father had invited them all for dinner.
Alia is a bit of a nerd, who is quiet most of the time but she got along well with my elder sister Sana who is a chatterbox. I couldn’t blame her though; since my sister never needed anyone for a conversation. Alia was the typical girl next door; the one you bring home to meet your parents. She was dressed in a black and yellow salwar kameez and wore large glasses which almost covered her tiny face. Even though she is pretty, she never really bothers about the way she looks unlike other girls I had met before. While other girls wanted to look pretty to impress boys and other girls, she was mostly engrossed in her books.
Her brother Amjad is exactly my age and her complete opposite. Our similar interests in sports and adventure brought us close and we became good friends. Actually best friends in a limited span of time. We started hanging out together and even spent the whole day at each other’s house. Mostly, it was me who went to his place. That’s exactly what made me look at Alia from an all-together different perspective. When we first met, I just observed her appearance and ignored her completely. She seemed sweet though, but not worth my type. Amjad is extremely protective about her and I have been given special instructions to take care of her in his absence.
It had actually become a ritual. Whenever I went to their house, Alia would be the one to open the door. Since Amjad was too lazy to get up from his seat and he mostly ordered her around. She greeted me with a salaam and a genuine smile. I repeated her gesture.
It happened every single day. Without fail. After opening the door for me, she would go back to doing her homework while both of us studied or played together. Alia never interrupted us, no matter what we did and remained a silent spectator. Amjad would pull her leg more than often and she would mostly be at the receiving end of our jokes. While I enjoyed the entertainment with him in the beginning, I couldn’t help but pity the poor girl who had always been nice to me. I apologized to her once and that was the first time we actually communicated for about 2-3 minutes.
I was forgiven immediately, Alia being endearing as always. For the very first time in the last few months, I noticed her cute babyish face and long silky hair. She was angelic, a real beauty deep within. Only I never realized it. I regretted not being on my best behavior with her. The next day onwards, I ensured that I turned on a new leaf. I avoided cracking jokes on her and made sure Amjad did the same. Even though the teasing didn’t completely stop from her brother’s side, I was the one who initiated the change. Because of this fresh development, Alia’s smile for me became infectious and intoxicating altogether. I just couldn’t get rid of that smile in my mind. It was as if she was casting a magic spell on me.
Before I knew it, I started looking forward to seeing her pretty face and gorgeous smile every day rather than chatting and spending time with Amjad. I still enjoyed his company though; but what I was now feeling for Alia was way beyond my own expectation. It was complicated since I had a crush on my best friend’s sister. Even if I had to look at her, I had to be careful.
I never lost hope though; since I always found some or the other excuse to speak to her. It didn’t matter if it was for 2 minutes or 1 minute. No one suspected either as our families were friends too. Except my sister Sana. I literally had to bribe her to keep her mouth shut when she caught me staring at her one day.
If Amjad were to find out that I had a crush on his baby sister, I would be dead meat. Not to forget my troublemaker sister had already caught me red-handed. I had to be quick and sly now. Luckily, our Board exams were around the corner and my visits to Alia and Amjad’s house were restricted as a strict indication by my parents. I never stopped thinking about her though. Once, when I had called Amjad on their landline number, Alia had received the call and I wished her the best for her exams which were due to start in 2 days’ time. That’s it! Exactly 2 minutes was the length of our conversation but I didn’t mind the snail’s pace my love story was going at.
Even though me and Amjad met each other at football practice after our exams were done, I couldn’t go to their house since Alia was busy with hers. Now, it was the other way around and he visited my place. It had almost been more than a month since I had last seen her, and I missed her dearly. I missed seeing her pleasant face every single day. As soon as her exams were over, I was a free bird. I still remember that day. I had never been this excited for an Indo-Pak cricket match or even on my own birthday. The joy of meeting her after such a long gap was something else. I made sure I dressed to impress and the beauty in front of me didn’t fail to disappoint either.
Alia looked mesmerizing in a baby pink kurta and churidar. Her smile was exactly the same as I had last seen it. She greeted me with a salaam and I took no time to reply back. While I continued scanning her face, her mother’s voice came from the kitchen.
“Who is it, Alia?” She turned back and then turned to look at me.
“Faisal Bhai is here, Ammi.” She went inside as Amjad came out.
Shock of my life!!!!! It would have been better if she had just shot me in the head. My plans for her and her plans for me were like completely different. While I cursed my bad luck, I couldn’t help but wonder if this girl was actually too innocent or she was taking me for a toss. Who the hell wanted to be her brother? Maybe she was just trying to play it safe in front of her mom and brother. Or maybe she wasn’t. I didn’t sleep for almost 2 days, recollecting and replaying the scene in my mind every now and then.
It’s been six months since she last called me Bhai. I am 18 now and she hasn’t called me Bhai again. Hope she never does. Whatever is going on between us, I have to figure it out. And fast.