Biting into Nipapatus on a cold winter evening makes me want to be a child again. When life followed its pattern.. routine but safe and boring but reassuring. Fighting over Nippatu was a favourite past-time between my brother and I. We would race back from school, race through our homework and then patiently wait by the gate for our uncle to return from his factory. We waited for the hot Nippatus more than his return and the minute we heard his bike we would scramble to snatch the packet from him. This practice continued for as long as my uncle worked at the factory. School, high school and some years in college till acting grown up became more important than indulging in this childish past-time.

Now, years later, as I sit alone on the porch and bite into the hot Nippatus I do not enjoy it as much as I used to as a child. My uncle still gets them for me, but it is me and not Us. I realise now that it was the bonhomie and camaraderie I shared with my brother, that ritual of trying to be the first one snatching the Nippatus and biting into them while snooking the finger at the loser or wagging a tongue that made it so deliciously delectable. Often were the times when my brother would slow down on purpose so I got the first go while he sat on the steps to watch me grin and wave it at him, often were the times when he would save up some for me coz I had fallen sick, often when he would race home missing his last PT period just to beat me to the Nippatu, times when we hid a piece or two from each other and woke up to a midnight snack just to catch the other having a snack too surreptitiously. Of course, both of us would snicker and sleep.

All these shared moments helped us bond for life and now as I sit alone biting into a Nippatu a tear stains my cheek and a smile breaks out on my face. For far though my brother is, I still have these memories to keep me company till he comes back to me and we fight for a Nippatu again.



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