Today, it was different. A tiny firefly had come to greet me goodnight. Of all the places, it chose to sit on the table clock, unperturbed by the ‘tick-tack-tick-tack’ noise it was making. It took me back to my childhood memories, when we used to run behind them hoping to catch them all in vain and even earlier when we used to get scared by their tiny little blinking ‘torches’.
It was a long, long time ago when me and my brother used to share a room as little kids. We used to stay in Mathura (UP) where fireflies were not a rare sight. My brother, who was five years elder, used to frighten me by singing ‘kahin deep jale kahin dil…’ from the movie Bees Saal Baad in a shrill, scary voice whenever he saw fireflies in our room. I used to duck under the quilt, trying my best not to hear what he sang or to see the glowing flies.
A little later, the firefly moved from the table clock and settled itself on a photograph right next to the clock. We were still kids then – I wearing a huge Ray Ban glass on my nose and my brother wearing another equally big glass on his slightly bigger nose sitting hand in hand in front of the majestic Taj Mahal, the symbol of eternal love.
But when we grew a little older, fight and screams were the order of any normal day. It was as if his day wasn’t over without irritating me and mine wasn’t over without bearing with him. But now that we’ve both grown up and live miles apart, the fights are the only thing that reminds me of the khatta-meetha bond that we shared and makes me smile.
He’s a married man now, recently blessed with an angel girl, and I have my job to worry about. I could barely see the clock strike 12 as the fly started to fly again. Maybe it was trying to find its way back home, I thought as I opened the window. I searched for my mobile in the moonlight and typed ‘remember those firefly nights... goodnight, brother’.