Partha was trying count the people walking outside “Such a wonderful person,” Debjani told Partha. “Who?” asked Partha, still looking out of the window. “Joyce,” Debjani said. “She can really make one understand the real meaning of God, you know.” Partha smiled at her and nodded, before returning to the window.
“Did you like your dinner today?” Partha asked Debjani. She shrugged. “I would have preferred less salt, but it was okay in all.” She looked at Partha and gave a tired smile. “I can only hope that all sisters get a brother like you,” she told him before patting him lightly on his cheek. Partha blushed. “It’s the least I can do.”
Debjani looked around the hall before walking towards a stack of books. “You should clean them up someday, you know,” Debjani said. “Its disrespectful if you don’t clean them.”
Partha rubbed his eyes. If only he had the time. After all, how much was he supposed to do? “I get tired, Didi. I have only so many hours in a day, and those too go in looking after you and Father.” Debjani nodded, even as Partha went on. “Father must listen to these sermons more often too, don’t you think Didi? Although…” Debjani looked back at Partha. “Although?”
Partha let out a forlorn sigh. “He has been looking a bit depressed lately.”
“You mean Dad?” Debjani asked. Partha nodded. “He keeps trailing off into darkness. Something’s troubling him, but he wouldn’t say.” He looked at the bathroom. From the bottom of the door, he could see smoke drifting and swaying into the hallway, slowly. Partha sighed, and flourished his hand at the bathroom door.
“See? He has locked himself in the bathroom now. He smokes in bathroom now, Didi. As if we would disapprove. It’s been at least an hour now. He must have finish an entire pack all by himself.”
Debjani rested her head on Partha’s shoulders. Partha turned back to the window. “You worry too much,” she said. “Stop worrying. It will all be okay soon.”
Partha could only smile. “ What do you want for dinner,” Partha asked Debjani. When she didn’t reply, Partha turned back and looked around, and sighed. “Debjani,” Partha called softly. There was no response.
She was gone again.
Why couldn’t she stay with him for a while, he thought. She did this always. She knows how much I need my sister, and yet she does this, Partha thought. Now I will have to think up the menu for dinner all by myself, and again she would complain; what a woman, Partha thought.
Partha already missed her.
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