A chip on your shoulder

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By 2017-12-03

By Priyangwada Perera

"Hey, malli go and bring me a glass of water," shouted Yohan. Sohan was just walking past Yohan to the kitchen. "Don't you think you forgot something?" Sohan asked his brother. "What? What can I forget? I have not forgotten anything," came the answer. "Think a little, ayya. Are you sure that you did not forget anything amma said?"

Yohan was already getting irritated. "Hey, you little brat, is this some kind of a game? Just bring me a glass of water this very minute!" Yohan's screamed out the last sentence. The more irritated Yohan was, the more calm Sohan acted. "Ayya, you forgot something. You forgot 'please'. You should say, 'PLEASE bring me a glass of water'". Yohan went red in the face. He went red because he was a little ashamed that his young brother had to remind him good manners. But he was also angry, 'how dare this little brat act as if he knows it all'. This boy is too much.

"Are you trying to teach me? You are my younger brother. I don't have to be polite and nice and say 'please' and 'thank you' to you. I did not ask you to bring me a helicopter or a magic box or something. It is just a glass of water from the kitchen. What are you? A royal highness? 'Your majesty, could you PLEASE be kind enough to grant your humble brother a glass of water?' Is that what you expect? Then, you are mistaken, kid. Go and bring my glass of water," Yohan went on and on.

Sohan took a deep breath. "Honourable brother, you also have two legs. Please make use of them and fetch the glass of water yourself," he screamed and ran to the garden before he could hear his brother scolding him. In the garden, he got busy swinging himself to and fro on the newly made swing. "What a good thing Thaththa thought of a swing. Now I don't have to fight to grab a swing at school. How awesome to have your own swing," he thought to himself. But the only sad thing about the swing at home was that there was nobody to push the swing.

The more he thought of that, the sadder he became. Then, an idea struck him. He ran inside. "Ayya, ayya, will you come and push my swing? We will take turns". But Yohan did not even look at Sohan. Their mother happened to walk past them. She called Sohan and said, "He seems to have a chip on his shoulder. You caused it and you have to deal with it".

While mother went back to the kitchen, Sohan inched close to his brother. Luckily Yohan was seated and reading. Sohan checked Yohan's left shoulder. Well... nothing. He crossed to the other side and checked the right shoulder. No chip on that shoulder either. So funny. What does Amma mean? Sohan ran back to speak to his mother. "Amma, there is no chip on ayya's shoulder. I checked both. You seem to have made a mistake."

That made the mother smile. "Darling, 'a chip on your shoulder' means you are angry about something that happened some time ago. Your brother is still angry about you refusing to bring him a glass of water. To get back at you, he would not look at you or respond when you wanted him to play. It does not mean he has a potato chip or some other chip on his shoulder for real," she explained. Sohan was thoughtful for a little while and said, "Yes, that makes sense. But all this 'chip' talk made me so hungry. As if his mother knew the feeling, she appeared with a bowl of homemade potato chips. Sohan offered some to his brother saying "Well, this chip is more crunchy and yummy than what you have on your shoulder." In answer he got a friendly punch from Yohan.

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