It’s 3.00 pm. My brother wakes up from his quick afternoon nap that is so mandatory given his “hard” schedule of “attending” 12th-grade college from 8 am to 1 pm 5 days a week. Also, he states matter of factly, “Since I’m building my body at such a young age with those rigorous gym sessions every evening, this sleep is a pre-requisite for my body to build back those muscles through anabolic processes.” I’m impressed with his dedication to watching Beer-Biceps videos on Youtube and recalling the right information at the right time to out-smart me when I ridicule his afternoon “Punekar” slumber.
His Accounts tuitions don’t begin until 4 pm and the venue is a mere 7-minute ride from home. So I suggest, “I’ll wake you up at 3.30 pm.” I get a determined “No, 3 is fine.” reply.
I scream his name using all the strength of my vocal chords, from the living room to bring him back from the astral world where he’s wandered off like the boy in Insidious. He’s a deep sleeper.
And then begins one of the most elaborate processes that I witness almost daily. He opens the closet doors, with a quizzical look on his face. He spends about 2 minutes looking at the options for today. He makes a triumphant selection of a smart orange check shirt and black jeans. He is all dressed up and ready to conquer the world. Then he walks, with a gait that would even put the alpha of pride of lions to shame, towards the full-length mirror that’s plastered on the wall. He checks himself out if that’s even possible. Giving me a glance, as if asking me for my opinion, not that he values it much even in my farfetched dream scenarios, I give him a smile of approval.
The very next moment, he’s back in front of the closet making a new choice. This time it’s a black round neck t-shirt with Captain America’s shield on it and a pair of ripped blue jeans to go with it. The walk towards the mirror is repeated. My mind wanders off to whether Snow-white’s mother was so obsessed with her mirror? But then I’m called back to opine on the new look, and I’m compelled to repeat my smile of approval given my ignorance and lack of clarity in general about what works in styling a human being.
Doctor Strange had a genius of an idea of how to deal with Dormammu in the MCU movie, he trapped both of them in a time-loop to repeat the scene till infinity unless Dormammu agreed to leave Earth and it’s people alone. I kind of witnessed a similar time loop with my brother going through the dress-up routine over and over again for the next 40 minutes, with hair gel and the right pair of sneakers added to the equation making the process even more dynamic now. He owns 6 of them, all from Nike, and all having price-tags I had frowned upon when my dad had swiped the cards at the payment counter.
The final look after all this effort is amazing. But don’t take my word for it, I wouldn’t. I don’t know much. And it’s finally time to leave for class.
My mother arrives from the kitchen into the bedroom upstairs, her eyes widen and she yells at him for creating a mess with the heap of rejected clothes on the floor. Flaring her nostrils reminding me of an angry bird character, she warns, “I’m not going to organise this again.” He gives her a snide comeback of a line like every teenager which I wouldn’t dare to repeat, picks them all up and shoves them in the closet and walks away, leaving the house as if he proved a point or something.
The oceans have calmed down after the storm, they leave me alone in the room, I fleetingly glance into the mirror. I’m in my boss chair, in sweatpants and a white t-shirt that’s stretched out after having been used for so long, and I remember going out to the multiplex in chappals for my 11 pm movie night a million times. Would this ever be the case with my brother? I doubt that. He’d die of shame if he was ever caught in a pair of chappals in the mall I think. I laugh at the scene playing in my head.
I wonder how? Same gene-pool and yet so different.