My brother, the coward (3)

I have written about Elder Brother (EB), the coward before.  He was one of the greatest cowards that ever lived – or so I thought.  However, it seems that boys in his age group held him in very high esteem.  I had no idea why and EB also had no idea why especially since he had never been involved in any fisticuffs or kung fu kicks with the boys.

As in most places, the boys were mostly organized in groups that were from similar residential areas.  My brother’s group was from a smaller residential area while another group was from a bigger area, Chawama, on the other side of the hill.  The Chawama team liked provoking EB’s group every time they met, except when EB was around.  One day EB came home with a puzzled look on his face.  I asked him what the problem was and he said he had found the Chawama boys roughing up his friends.  EB said he did not say anything but just stood quietly nearby while the fracas was going on.  This abruptly ended when one of the Chawama boys saw EB and told his friends to cut off the rowdiness as ‘fighting is bad’.  The other Chawama boys paused, looked up and saw EB just standing there.  They too quickly agreed that fighting was indeed bad, straightened the clothes of EB’s friends and left quietly.

What did the Chawama boys see in EB?  Why were they so afraid of him? EB wondered whether the fact that he was always quiet and never joined in the messy fights had gotten him the reputation of being a mean street fighter.  I too wondered, because I knew EB’s real side – that of a coward (or so I thought).  Maybe EB was not as cowardly as he portrayed, or maybe he was just afraid of the dark but served a nasty side dish of karate chops to offending bullies on the streets.  I guess we may never know…

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