“Don’t grow up, Ela. Wait for me to grow up so that you can marry me one day..” I remember telling him, undoubtedly with a soft blush painted on my otherwise pale cheeks. I don’t remember when I exactly fell in love with him but it was on my sixth birthday when I decided to confess my love for him in front of everyone.
The people scattered around us burst into a fit of laughter, making me wonder what was so funny in my heartfelt words.
“Mini, you can’t marry Ela. He’s like your elder brother..” It was my mom, Roja who spoke with a slight glint of amusement playing in her eyes.
“I have Aadi for an elder brother, amma. I don’t need another one..” My voice came out all pouty. I was on the verge of crying at the thought that my parents want me to see my Ila as a brother when I didn’t want to.
Although I was only six I was clever enough to know that you are not supposed to marry your brother and since the day I found that out, I made up my mind that Ila is not my brother. In fact, I never considered him my brother even though my parents adopted him as theirs after his biological mother's death.
When he saw my tearful brown-grey heterochromatic eyes, then nineteen years old Ila pulled me near him and ruffled my hair playfully. By that time, the elders were back to the boring conversation that was keeping them busy before.
“Hey Mini, don’t cry..” He whispered and wiped my tears with the pad of his rough thumb as he would usually do when he sees me crying and then whispered so lowly that only I could hear him, “I will wait for you to grow up so that we can marry someday, okay?”
“Really?” I asked in a chirpy tone and he nodded. “You promise to marry no one else?”
He chuckled again, “Yes, I promise. I will marry no other woman..”
His voice sounded so very promising to my six-year-old self but now I am old enough to understand that it was just a fake promise he made to me to make me stop crying. However, the promise he made to me that day caused an instant warmth to seep through my tiny body and I can feel it even to this day.
Even after twelve years since that night, I am holding on to his words when he doesn’t even remember making that promise to me.
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