"Give me one more laddu, Mummy," said Deepu when he saw his mother putting a coconut laddu in his plate.
"Deepu, I am giving you the only laddu which is left. There are no more laddus," said Mother.
"But Mummy, Daddy brought half a kilo laddus just this morning. How come there is only one left? Who has eaten the rest of them?" asked Deepu in irritation.
"Oh! I served them to Babli's friends when they came to visit her in the afternoon," said Mother.
"Oh! This Babli has made life so difficult!" murmured Deepu.
"Why do you get angry? We will get you more laddus if you like them so much. Babli is, after all, your younger sister," said Mother.
Eleven-year-old Deepu had a younger sister, Babli. She was 7. Babli was very naughty.
Every now and then, she would indulge in different pranks. "Mummy, Where are my shoes? I am getting late," one morning Deepu called his mother when he failed to find his shoes.
"Look carefully, they must be lying somewhere in the room," saying this, Mother also came in and joined him in searching his shoes. When both of them failed to find the shoes, Deepu put on his sandals. He was about to go out when he heard Babli's suppressed laughter.
"Oh! So, it is your mischief. Tell me where have you hidden my shoes?" asked Deepu as he pulled off the sheet covering Babli as she lay on the bed.
"Oh! I was having a beautiful dream! You woke me up in the middle of dream!" said Babli, getting up.
"Babli, give Bhaiya his shoes. He is getting late for school."
"Mummy, Bhaiya is so forgetful. It was he who had taught Tommy how to fetch his shoes. Maybe Tommy has taken his shoes."
As soon as Deepu heard this, he rushed out towards the small house, which was especially built for Tommy. Tommy was not there but Deepu's shoes were lying there. Quickly, he put them on and rushed to his school.
In the evening, when he returned home, he looked sullen. In the morning, the teacher had fined him 10 rupees out of his pocket money.
Babli felt sad to hear this. She took out all the money she had in her piggy bank. But it came to 7.50 rupees only. Giving this money to Deepu, she said, "You got late because of me. Take this money. I will give you the rest of the money within the next few days."
Deepu's mood became better after this. Just then, his father came home from office. When he was told about the morning incident, he began to laugh.
"Here take these 10 rupees from me. And Babli, you must not indulge in any more mischief. Say sorry to your Bhaiya!"
In this way, Babli would often tease and trouble Deepu with her pranks.
One day Deepu thought that the root-cause of all his troubles was Babli. "Had she not been in this house, I would not have to share anything with anybody. Mummy and daddy would have loved only me."
"Bhaiya, where are you lost?" asked Babli. "Mother has been calling you for long time!"
"Deepu, here take the money and the bag and bring potatoes from the market," said mother.
"Mummy, why don't you ask Babli to bring it," said Deepu.
"She is too small to go for shopping," argued Mother.
Deepu went to the market. On the way, he was thinking that Mother also took sides with Babli.
Deepu's resentment against Babli grew with each passing day. One day he tore off a page of her notebook in anger. When Babli saw her notebook, she felt very bad. Though she knew that Deepu must have done this, she did not complain against him to her parents.
One day Deepu got fully drenched in the rain while coming home from school. By the evening, he had developed high fever.
The doctor came home and gave him some medicines. That night, Babli sat beside Deepu. She kept putting cold strips on his forehead from time to time.
"Go and get some sleep," said Mother. But Babli refused to get to her bed. "I am all right, Mother," she said. She did not to go her room to get some sleep. Babli stayed there to pray to God, for his brother to get well soon.
Deepu's head had been aching terribly. Babli applied some balm on his forehead and massaged it with her tender hands. Deepu felt very guilty over his past behavior.
"How are you now, Bhaiya?" asked Babli lovingly.
"I am sorry, my dear loving sister. I was so wrong in thinking ill of you," said Deepu in choked voice.
"Bhaiya is well now. Mummy, come and see... Bhaiya is all right now," Babli called out to her parents.
Her parents came rushing hearing her voice.
"How nice my sister is! I will never hurt her. I will do everything possible to make her happy," decided Deepu. He felt relieved and light at heart.