“Where did the time go? I am unable to remember the last time we all sat down together just to talk? And do nothing else. Can you think of the last time we were together like this?” Meera spoke excitedly. The three of them squeezed on the same old bed with Veer’s legs hanging by the edge. The youngest one was the tallest now. Naina just smiled busy texting someone. Meera closed her eyes, rubbing the bedsheet with her palms like they were all sitting on some magical sheets. The one that will transport them to their childhood. And then she smiled thinking of late-night conversations over Pepsi and maggie. Putting her phone away, Naina said, “It smells the same here. Isn’t that weird? We should burn some candles.” Meera and Veer burst into laughter watching Naina make faces.
“Honestly, I cannot even remember what I was doing a week ago, so my apologies. I cannot be of any help.” Veer very conveniently slid out of the remembering game. But Meera was in no mood to discuss the present. She had traveled all this way to be with them and immerse herself in good old days.
“I remember this sneaky one drinking all of our Pepsi.” Naina finally looked up from her phone to join in on the conversation, giving Veer ‘the look’.
“Hahhaha…yes, I remember that one night.” Veer smiled looking at Naina. “How old was I? Like 7 or 8?” Naina rolled her eyes saying “Please stop hiding behind AGE, Veer. You drank all of my drinks even on the flight today.” Now Veer was checking his emails very seriously away from the conversation. “I remember you asking me such random questions. Some were extremely inappropriate.” Meera gave them an annoyed look but also took pride in being able to answer them all with complete clarity. “Who else could we ask? Internet was still dial-up back then.” Veer laughed putting his phone aside. Meera relaxed now resting her head on Veer’s shoulder.
“You two were my source of information and family gossip. I was still not allowed to be in the same room when grown-ups were ‘discussing stuff’.” Veer justified a little more.
“Oh relax, neither of us were allowed. I used to sneak in under the disguise of a polite daughter who made tea for everyone. I gathered my information on those 10 trips to bring tea, snacks, water, napkins, etc. I was really good at getting the latest and completely authentic, information.” Meera proudly explained to the little ones. ” And I still don’t like to use the word ‘Gossip’. All I did was collect information from different sources and then share it with just the two of you.” Now Meera lifted her head to give Veer ‘the look’.
“You have done more than that. Come on, spit it out now.” Naina joined in.
Meera winked at Naina nodding her head with pride. “Yes, you are right. I once hid under the bed for over an hour in summers, sweating like a pig, to watch an adult show. And I never got caught. I was so good. But now when I think about it, I don’t understand what could have I watched in Santa Barbara? I mean, really, what was I thinking?”
“You are sick, didi.” Naina pushed Veer’s legs making space for herself to lay down more comfortably gazing at the ceiling fan, moving slowly.
“Ya right, who answered all your sick questions? Me. How do you think I collected information to be able to pass it on, one day. I have done a lot for you two. Dare not forget that. Now please, get me some chamomile tea.” Meera said smilingly looking at no one in particular wondering if she should tell them the truth today, finally.
“Hahhahaha! Chamomile tea? You are old, sister!” Veer and Naina laughed looking at Meera.
“Well, at least this time you won’t steal my tea.” Meera gave him one of her fake angry looks.
“Awww… I love you sister. Happy Rakhi!” Veer lovingly kissed Meera on her head.
“God, can you both be more annoying? Huh! Happy Rakhi. And I am not getting up to make any teas for anyone.” Naina shut her eyes pretending to be tired. “Also, I love you both.”
“Love you both too! Happy Rakhi little ones.” Meera took a deep breath in, trying to take in all the love she was feeling in the presence of these two little ones.