One evening…

‘Ay-shan!’ a sing-song voice directs itself at tv-addict Brother, lying on the sofa and watching Toy Story 3 for only the thirty-third time.

He ignores her. L walks over and tucks the walkie-talkie into his side.

‘Don’t do that Laila!’

They argue for a bit over where the instrument should reside. It eventually lies at Ishaan’s feet and Laila talks into her set.

‘Hi Ayshaan…’

‘Hi Pog – and press the button when you talk!’

She pushes a few buttons and tries again.

‘Ayshan…you know…’

Ishaan’s eyes are firmly on Woody & Co.

‘Ayshan…one more shall we talk…’

‘Press the button hard!’ he shouts.

‘I am pressing!’

‘Then keep on pressing!’

‘Alright…’

‘Bye!’

Ok…bye Ayshan…’ she gives up.

Ishaan walks off to get some water. In a flash, L pounces on a stack of cricket cards that he’s left on the sofa, then throws herself face forward onto the bean bag, waiting for him to return and notice.

He doesn’t. A beady, black eye peeks out at him, but to no avail.

‘Ayshan, I got your cards…’

‘Give them back Laila!’ He looks at me for help.

‘She’s only looking Ishaan – she’ll give them back.’

‘Ok fine! You won’t get any chocos then!’ he announces.

Two seconds later the cards are hurled back on the sofa. There is peace and quiet for a bit. Then…

‘Ayshan…lets play on the walkie-talkie…’

There is no response. I feel bad for her and walk over.

‘Lets play jaani,’ I pick up one instrument.

‘But Mama,’ her little voice drones, ‘don’t forget to press the button…’

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