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Why not?’

Her brother never understood. Devayani threw aside the cube, grabbed his tiny frame by the shoulders and shook him hard, suddenly not sure if he mocked her.

‘Because it’s a puzzle!’

Confused black eyes blinked at her. Sahaj struggled free, frowning. ‘It is. I know. A puzzle. And I solved it too. Ow…’ He massaged his shoulders. ‘What did you do that for?’

‘I should be asking you that.’ Devayani pointed at the mess on the floor.

He ignored her and lay down on the tiled floor, propped on his elbows. Orange-green-blue stains shone on his chubby palms and sunshine yellow tee.

‘I’ll tell mom you spoiled your new t-shirt.’

‘Um.’ He was already flipping through Noddy’s new adventure.

‘…Sahaj?’

‘What?’

‘Nothing.’ She began wiping the paint from the floor, beside the Rubik’s cube with its six, bright, painted sides.

© vaidehi patil 2011

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