Friday, July 26, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 75

The Bhambha

A few days ago, my brother Sajid had called me. He asked me how is Giggle Garden doing, how is my husband, how is Munni (that is Farheena) and then in a very loving tone asked “How is our Bhambha?” I was appalled and retorted, “Stop calling him Bhambha. He is 27 year old man and not that curly haired baby crawling on fours to be called Bhambha. I think it is because of you that he acts like a child always and he is not yet married”. Now tell me, who would marry a guy whose uncle calls him Bhambha? My brother is having tough time accepting that Rayyan is no more the baby Bhambha but a grown man. It all started when I was pregnant.
My sister was the last child born in our family. When I was pregnant with Rayyan, we were all equally excited to have the first baby of the next generation. While we were all looking forward to a girl child for reason unknown, there was one person strongly praying for a boy for a silly reason. That person was my brother, Sajid, and the silly reason was that his friend’s sister had a boy and he was bragging about it. Since the day the radiologist had told my sister unofficially that the child may be a girl, his friend would tell him how nice it was for him to have a nephew with whom he play manly sports and other bullshit which actually affected my brother. He would strongly pray that I should give birth to a boy. Finally, when he got to know that he had a nephew, his joy knew no bounds. With tears in his eyes, he picked up Rayyan and showed him to his friend and called him Bhambha lovingly.
 I am not sure how the Lion King makers stole this scene and included it in the movie. It was the same way the Rafiki held Simbha to show to the forest animals 3 years later. He feels Rayyan changed his gender and was on his side from the day he was born as a boy. For our revenge, we dressed Rayyan as a girl and clicked picture with him. He was not aware of it.
My brother loves his family and is a nice person, but his love for Rayyan is something completely different. I think there is an extra chamber in his heart, especially to store that different love for Rayyan.
So far when I see our family group photos, I do not see my brother among us. I was wondering why we were being so ashamed of him that we did not include him the group when I realized he was the only boy in our family and took the responsibility of clicking all the photos for us. He must have been overjoyed to have another boy in the family. We were happy and never told him that when we were old and going through the pictures he would be missing in the group. Most of Rayyan’s childhood pics were also clicked by him. So, whereas we have lot of memorable photos with Rayyan and Farheena, this guy has just a few.
He was very protective and possessive of Rayyan throughout his childhood. If he was busy listening to music or watching a movie, it was very difficult to get him going, but when it came to Rayyan’s needs he would be in action very fast.
In olden days, we would use water from tap for drinking and did not have these modern day filters. We were not sick so often as well. When Rayyan was born, Sajid decided that we should use the bottled water for him and not the direct tap water. I was worried that it would not help him adapt to the world if we became too protective of him but kept quite because if we started a debate on this and my brother would mention the germs in the tap water, I was afraid that my mom would force me to buy bottled water to bathe him as well.
 Once he was preparing for his diploma exams and was studying hard with his friends. Rayyan’s bottled water was empty. As soon as my mom announced this, he rushed to the shop to buy water for Rayyan. Unfortunately, the nearby shops did not have bottled water that day. They were not so common 27 years ago. So he took off on his cycle some 7 km to a medical store to get water for him. Next day he had exams and he was gone from his group for nearly 2 hours. His friend who was studying with him was a bit upset and asked him why he was absconding from studies. When he told him what the emergency was, his friend was aghast and reprimanded him that this was not something right he was doing. I was a bit excited that may be he will put sense into him. He said that children should be given exposure to a bit of germs and infections to build up their immunity. Giving him bottled water will only make him weak. My brother did not argue with him much, so I assumed that may be he has understood what his friend said. As soon as he came inside the house, he declared, “Pisoulo!” which means mad in Nawaiti, our language. “That fellow is so jealous of our Rayyan. Crazy guy thinks I am going to believe everything he says and compromise on Rayyan’s health”.  
Other than my brother, no one has ever accused me of being a very cruel mom to Rayyan. He has some weird memories of my cruelty to the poor child which neither Rayyan nor I can recollect. No one else in my family feels that way either. I can only assume that he must have had nightmares back then and thinks they are real, or it could be the very little disciplinary measures that I had undertaken which must have looked monstrous to him.
Rayyan has had his fair share of freedom and adventures. He doesn’t know that he owes it to his uncle. My mom was very protective of my brother and did not give him much freedom to enjoy his life. Later he got busy with work, family and other life challenges and lost on that fun he could have had earlier. Learning from that, I decided I would never allow my fears to stop Rayyan from having fun. All those adventures in sea, forests and treks are because I learned my lesson at the expense of his uncle.
Like my brother was protective of him earlier, Rayyan has the same feelings for his uncle today. No matter what he does, Rayyan finds a way to defend him. At times we are waiting for Sajid for hours and we start grumbling that he is late, but Rayyan tells us that is the way uncle is. So, you should be ready to wait if you want to go with him. Somehow I feel, rather than having a big uncle as a person who can help and protect him in crisis, Rayyan feelings towards his uncle is like one would have a towards a big baby. He can never say ‘No’ to him like we have difficulty saying no to cute, chubby babies. Neither can he accept he fallacies.
Though they are different people in size, proportion, temperament, understanding and many more, they never have argued ever. Not once has my brother reprimanded Rayyan even mildly. His voice is always filled with love and pride when he is talking about Rayyan, but even to this day he calls him Bhambha. Sigh!


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