• Pallavi Rao

Bhaiya

Day11 of #21days21sarees

Lockdown Saree Stories

A pink ghicha saree of Bihar, with a bright pink border. It has a beautiful fall. A saree I could wear through the year.




He said he would meet me at 11.05. I promptly reached at 11. The eyes searched for him in the sky and navy blue sea of uniforms. The 6-year old me stood up on the toes to look towards the other end of the school ground lest I miss him. The steel tiffin box kept shifting from one hand to the other in nervous anxiety. Was I waiting at the right spot? What if he did not come? Had he forgotten?

It was my first day in the new school and bhaiya had promised to meet me during break time.

After what seemed like eternity, I saw bhaiya, walking towards me chatting away with a friend. He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and asked, “kuch khaya-piya?” I looked up at him to offer the unopened tiffin box of jeera aloo ki subzi and paranthas that amma had packed. He however, started to walk towards the canteen, holding my hand. I felt so reassured with his touch that even the ‘Campa Cola’’ they treated me to seemed fizz-less.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was the 5th day of Malaria. Horrible medicines. I was 12 then. I still did not know how to swallow tablets. Daddy and Mummy had a tough time. The kid refused to pop in the medicine, the fever refused to come down. Eventually, dad lost his cool. If he would have ever raised his hand on his kids it could have been that day. He tried everything. You know how it is. Splitting the tablet into two, cheating and stuffing it in a banana, making a horrid Crocin and sugar powder mix , dissolving it in water and expecting the child to have it. Urghh. I resisted. At his wits end, Daddy shouted. I howled.

He came to my immediate rescue and calmed the infuriated parent. “Le legi wo apne aap. Aap dono pehle kamre se bahar jao” he told Daddy and Mummy. Had it not been for him, I would have got that one tight slap my face that day.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The colony guy misbehaved with me. I felt ashamed. Confided in bhaiya.

The next morning, I was horrified to find the guy at our doorstep with his father. The father complained how bhaiya had slapped his son in public without giving a reason why he did so!! Ha ha ha…I can now laugh at it but that morning I was completely zapped. I wanted to step out and tell uncle what his son had did to me and said in public, in the colony. Bhaiya gave me one look. It conveyed two things. One, stay away from this. Two, I will take care of it.

And he did. Interestingly, Daddy became the coolest dad in the world that day, when he calmly told Khurana Uncle-“Ab kuch batameezi ki hogi tabhi maara hoga. Ayinda batameezi nahi karega.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back from the grave yard shift reading the English news at AIR at 6.30, I missed the 7am school bus for St. Mary’s School. I requested bhaiya to drop me lest I get a red mark for late attendance by Jacob Thomas Sir. He refused point blank. No amount of cajoling helped. He said, ‘khud jaa…ye le car ki chaabi.”

I had got my driving licence almost 3 months earlier and was safely practicing on Satya Marg each Sunday. But those were neat, clean, clear, huge roads with virtually no public. But to reach school, I would have to maneuverer through the lanes and by-lanes of the congested Safdarjung Enclave B-6 and B-5 colonies. That too in the morning school rush hour when everybody was in a hurry and the road could accommodate only one vehicle at a time. Nah…I wasn’t taking a chance. Not today.

As luck would have it, there were no autos at the stand. I rushed back. “Please bhaiya…chhod do na aaj” He patted my hand placing the car keys in them once again and disappeared into his room. That pat was reassuring.

It was my first solo drive that day.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

‘Haathi nikal gaya hai, pooch bachhi hai,” he would say in a loop as he touched my needle and canola pricked arm in the hospital bed. It is the end of the tunnel he would reitereate. He pepped me up. Encouraged me to see the bright future that lay ahead. That touch reassured me that all shall be well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As recent as last September, I was in a situation when I felt lost, alone and weak. He asked me time and again if he should come. When I could hold fort no longer, I called on his Dubai number and said, ‘Bhaiya…ajao.”

Six hours later, he was standing beside me. Taking stock of the entire situation. While I breathed in relief. He held me tight ever so briefly, but that was complete reassurance for me.

Through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, through ups and downs. A brother who only knows how to give.

I wanted to be with you on your birthday today C. Rajshekhar Rao but Corona changed the plans. Koi nahi, soon, very soon.

Corona bhi ek haathi hai…jald nikal jayega our sirf poonch rah jayegi.


You might also want to read - Crisis


Till tomorrow. Stay safe. Stay home.







Subscribe to My Blogs and Videos

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

© 2020 C. PALLAVI RAO (cpallavirao.com)