I was 8 years old, it was summer vacations. I was sent off to my aunt’s place 4 days prior to her daughter’s wedding. The pretext, I was supposed to help with the wedding preparations. Aww come on! My parents (dad and step-mom) probably just wanted to get rid of a hyperactive kid for a few days.
The wedding house was busy, noisy, crowded, easy to get lost in. There were a few cousins, mostly older girls who treated me like a baby and discussed girlie stuff which didn’t interest me much. I wasn’t exactly a tomboy either, but I hung out with the boys and helped out a bit here and there, like arranging a few chairs, putting up flowers, garlands etc.
I remember these two guys, they were twins, neighbors, helping out at the wedding. They were 17 or 18 years old and I was always around them.
One day after the morning’s heavy work and lunch, people were settling down for an afternoon siesta. I ended up in the same room, in the same bed, with the two brothers on either side and me in between. This was not odd, I had always slept with my male relatives, cousins and uncles in the same bed and at that age, it was the normal thing to do.
Then one of the twins took off his shirt. Even this was not odd, it was hot summer and most men in Kerala went around shirt-less at home anyway. He then started saying things like, “Your cousin, the one with the straight hair, she studies in XYZ college, right? And she stays in the hostel. Do you know what goes on in the hostels of this college?……..” Now, this was getting fishy. Luckily for me the shirted twin shushed the other, with a worried expression on his face. The shirt-less twin shut up and I don’t remember the rest.
When I look back, I just can’t help being angry with my parents. There was never any communication. There reasons may be numerous, the fact that one of them was a step parent was certainly significant. Maybe the last generation just never discussed certain things with their children. Oh what the hell! I resolve to be a better parent, that’s all I can say.