My Brother’s Keeper

First Person

My Brother’s Keeper

Illustration: Mandar


he big bluebird was pacing. I’d fed him some daal chawal for lunch and he’d gobbled the bowl in big mouthfuls, jumping up and down in his chair. I was afraid that he was going to choke, but when I made the portions smaller, he began to fuss. I couldn’t brook the thought of upsetting him – my little brother dressed in an avian costume – that day.

It was, after all, his first sports day in the “big boy” school. He’d been looking forward to this for weeks, memorising the St Joseph’s anthem the best his broken syllables allowed him to. We had it all planned out. I was going to give him lunch, put him in his bluebird costume for P.T. and then our mother would come back from work and take him to school. But it was already past noon and our mother hadn’t come home yet. The little bluebird was frantic and dangerously close to tears.