My mother called me from somewhere underneath her blanket. When I went to her room, the first thing I wondered was,
“Where’s her head? ”
“You know what, I’ve got this great business idea. “Her voice came from the other side of the bed.
To be honest, I’d far more important jobs to do, like unlocking my phone to check if Dale H has made any moves in our three-day match at chess.com, but I chose to listen to her great idea. That’s how good a son I am.
“I was thinking of designing a full body winter suit, which would cover you from the tip of your hair to the nail of your toe. And it would be skintight to keep you warm.”
“Well, such suits already exists. “I said. In porno.
“Really? Who wears them? ”
“Lara Latex. “I said, and then I realised my mother knew how to search names on google, so I quickly covered it up.
“He’s a superhero. Like Batman. ”
“They have funny names. “She said.
“But I am designing it for common people. Like really common people who can’t afford a stove, for example. It could make me rich. ”
“People who cannot afford a stove would rather save money so that they could afford a stove so that the whole house could be warm. “I said. The silence that followed after suggested that my mother understood my point but didn’t quite like it.
“Check if your brother has reached Katihar. “She said.
My brother was on his way from Kota with 4 large bags. He has travelled that distance before, but my mother was worried for him, because he has never travelled with 4 large bags before. You see, mothers’ worries kind of make sense. I checked the running status of the train.
“It’s budged one and a half station from where it was three hours ago and is right now parked at some godforsaken halt which has a funny name. ”
“Really? Who the hell is driving it anyway? ”
“No idea. ”
My brother’s homecoming, unlike mine, was an event. Boxes of Gulaabjamun were happily perched in the refrigerator and despite it being my birthday, I was not allowed to consume more than a couple of those. They’d got his brand new phone out and already put it to charging so that he could feel special and loved. My mother had, by now, called four of our relatives to tell them how brave he was for travelling alone with 4 large bags.
And my brother did arrive safe and sound in the morning, with all his bags. And wished me a belated happy birthday. When I asked him for a gift, he presented to me an unused bottle of mineral water which he’d purchased on train. I vowed to gift him a pink hanky on his birthday. My mother kind of jumped on him and hugged the life out him. I could hear his bones crack, it was so brutal. Then he asked for his love, his phone and my mother told him to first take a good little bath. My father asked him where his other shoe was.
“Oh I lost it in the train. “He said. They pretended as if it was normal to lose shoes in trains and carried on with further conversations. I faked a stroke but they completely ignored me. Then I went back to Dale H because that’s the only human being who literally responds to every move of mine, and I don’t even know his sex, or anything else apart from the fact that he/she is married and has a kid.
It was rook to C4, attacking my queen. I moved my queen away, to D5.
After all the talking, he fished out a polybag from one of his large bags and threw a shirt at me. It was red and sexy. I looked at him blankly while he stood there with a big smile. Damn. He is love. I would have hugged the bones out of him but it was too cold so I decided to do it later.
He fished out another shirt and gave it to our father. It was blue and it had buttons and a front pocket, exactly like my father wanted. The real surprise came after he fished in his bag for the third time and took out a glitzy slim silvery bracelet watch and gave it to our mother. My jaw dropped and made a hole in the floor.
“Have you started selling drugs or what? “I questioned. He just laughed.
“I saved it.”
My mother hugged him even tigher. I swear I heard a spine fracture this time. The last time I had saved money, it was in a piggy bank, to buy Spiderman trump cards. There was no way he could have saved that much. I mean it’s twenty first century, even oxygen costs, like twenty bucks or something. His polybag must have some magical properties, I told myself. It was a more believable prospect.
When he was done I asked for the polybag. I wished for an iPhone, spelled some charms I’d learnt from this Bengali magic book in std 4th, and fished for it in the bag. Nothing came out. He laughed harder.
I quietly slipped back inside my blanket and played chess for the next two hours while my mother discussed the great business idea of full body winter suits with him.