Meaner than a RATTLESNAKE?

Meaner than a RATTLESNAKE?

Pic: Daksha Hathi

I have supporting parents and adorable grandparents, yet I am very reluctant to go home. The reason ----my brother Karun He is ten years my junior and the most malicious person in our entire apartment building. Neighbors have ostracized us because of his ill temper and foul tongue. “Throw this paste into the dust bin. Get me Colgate Total., if you want me to brush my teeth.” Yelled my brother. The family heaved a collective groan in recognition of the fact that our spoilt brat was up and about. As a baby, Karun had been pampered, molly cuddled and treated like the crown jewels by his three mothers! [His own, his granny, his sister] This, says my pharmaceutical C.E.O father, has turned him into a self centered tyrant. My mother, head nurse at the cancer hospital, calls him ‘little Hitler’. The family’s constant source of embarrassment expects every one of us to be a slave to his whims and fancies. If you don’t oblige, the nasty imp will give you a tongue lashing at the most inopportune moment. He cribs about anything and everything in his environment. You must sample these to understand our misery. “Papa, you are so ordinary looking. Hurry up and become famous. Don’t you want me to be proud of you?”. “Amma, what junk are you feeding me? I want a dietician as my mother, not you.” “I want a younger sister. Gayathri, go away, never come back.” “Grandpa, you fart so loudly. I don’t like it at all. Leave this house at once.” “Grandma, is your god deaf? Don’t recite slokas so loudly, if you want to stay here.” His tantrums scare all our service providers [driver, cook, postman-----] into walking in and out, as unobtrusively as possible. “You stupid oaf, I’ll crack open your skull and put a chip inside, that will turn you into a decent human being.” I screamed, after an encounter with him. Just when Karun was at his nasty best, in walked Geetha.-“Anna, stop shouting, all the babies in the staff quarters are crying.” “You ugly mutt, don’t you dare to call me brother. I don’t want a monster like you for a kid sister.” Retorted my heartless brother. “Me, a monster? No way, I just have cleft lip.” Said Geetha, with a toothy smile. The little girl was as brave as her much decorated ‘military’ father, our building’s chief security officer. She continued her verbal attack on my brother, always with that loving ‘Anna’ before every sentence of hers.

“Karun, you always wanted a younger sister. Adopt Geetha. Help her to look as beautiful outside as she is inside.” The hateful older sister had thrown a challenge. Will he take the bait? Will he become a little less of an ‘asura’?

“You know, cleft lip, is also called hair lip, after a fish.” Announced Karun, at the breakfast table. We were shocked into absolute silence at the turn of events. Days progressed with more gems from my sibling. One day, it was, “Geetha does not have a cleft palate. Only a cleft lip.” Another day, “It’s a congenital defect.” Followed by, “Her facial tissues did not meet, when she was in her mother’s womb. That is the reason for her fissured lip.” “Her hearing needs to be checked.” “She needs a speech therapist.” “Her problem can be corrected with surgery and constant follow up.” We were overjoyed at this slow but steady acceptance of Geetha by my savage tongued brother. The girl had awakened a dormant spark of goodness in him. “Appa, ask your company to fund Geetha’s corrective surgery.” commanded my brother.

Father came back with good news. The company had started clinical trails on a lip sealing medical glue, which would close lip fissures without surgery or scars. Geetha was to be their lucky mascot, if the procedure worked for her! The mascot came home to my brother’s “you look gorgeous.” By her unconditional love and ‘nobody bully me’ stand, Karun had become true to his name. His family looks ahead to happy and peaceful days.

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