That night after Maria’s birthday party, Amma was in a bad mood. She was yelling at us for every single thing. The only way to escape the trouble was to sleep and I tucked my sisters to bed and I went to bed. It was very cold outside. From my window I could see the moon shining. I tried to find the stars Appa has shown me, when I was little. Why couldn’t my father be like Acha? It is not that we don’t have money! Appa for sure earns more than Acha. I was tired of blaming my destiny for all the unhappiness in my life. Maria and I are born in the same family, yet Maria gets everything and I get nothing. Why am I so unlucky. I hoped atleast in the future, I would be happy. I so very badly wanted to find someone who would love me and care for me the same way Acha treats Maria. I hoped one day my father would come back and we will have a normal family. I dreamed of the day, I would meet someone who would celebrate my birthday with a cake. Ever since Akkachi left, no one ever baked a birthday cake for me. I wanted a white cake with pink rose flowers.
Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up with a shock. I could hear someone yelling and people running. I looked around me and everything was dark. It took me sometime to find my bearings and realize that I am in Mysore. The first thing I thought was my sisters. I got up from the bed and went to check on Maria. Her bed was empty, I ran to my sisters room. Liza was sound asleep. Sally was sitting on the bed and crying
“What is going on Nina? Why is everyone screaming? I am scared Nina.”
“Don’t worry Sally. I am here”. I hugged her. I could hear my heart going dub dub dub.
“Wait here Sally. I will go and see what is going on”
“Nina, please don’t go. I am scared” Sally was crying
“I will come now. I need to know what is going on”. I was worried about Maria and my mother. I pushed Sally’s hand from my hand and walked out. My heart was beating so fast, I thought I would die. I tried to think of all the ways I can protect myself from gunshots. I listened for the sounds and slowly opened the door to the living room. I was too scared to go out. What if Acha is standing there in the living room with his gun pointed to our door and waiting for me to come out? What if he had already killed Maria and Amma? Is he going to kill my sisters and me too? I suddenly felt so stupid to have opened the door. I shouldn’t have opened the door. I was trying to see what I should do next and I heard Amma speaking to Acha. Phew! I was glad that Amma is alive and I slowly walked in to the living room.
From the living room, what I saw was unbelievable. The most powerful man after the chief minister in Bangalore was jumping up and down on his bed, holding a gun and screaming
“what is going on?” I asked
“Nothing, you go back to bed” Amma yelled.
I had no intention of going back to bed. I watched Amma telling Acha
“Come on, you must have imagined the cockroach. There is no cockroach any where in this house”
“No. I saw it crawling under bed” screamed my unlce waving the gun and all of us took few steps back wards. It took me a few minutes to realize that my wonderful powerful uncle is scared of cockroaches. I wanted to laugh, but my uncle still had the gun. I watched the security guard bringing in the ridsect spray. My mother finally convinced Acha to get down from his bed.
Amma turned around and saw me
“What are you standing there for? Didn’t I tell you to go back to bed?” She screamed. I quickly closed the door and went back to Sally’s room.
“What is going on Nina?” Sally asked me
“You won’t believe it! Acha is scared of cockroaches!”
“really? Is that why he was screaming?” Sally asked me
“yep.. He was standing on the bed, with his gun in his hand and screaming. I think he was going to shoot the cockaroach”
Sally and I laughed so much.
Things are never the way you think they are. The place that I thought would be my home was beginning to be my jail. One evening while everyone was sitting down for dinner, Acha asked me
“Nina, can you get me my pills. It is on the right side of my bed table”. I was glad that Acha asked me for help. I was very jealous of Maria getting all the attention. Maria didn’t look pleased that Acha asked me to get his medicine and said.
“I can get the medicine for you Acha” and Maria got up from the chair.
“Maria, I asked Nina for help. You will help when I ask you” Acha spoke.
Wow! He stood up for me. I so very badly wanted to stick my tongue at Maria. I knew I would get in to trouble, if I did that infront of Acha, so I walked towards the room and just when I reached the door I turned around and stuck my tongue out.
“She stuck her tongue at me” Maria screamed.
“No I didn’t” I quickly walked in to Acha’s room. There were 2 bedside tables on either side of his bed. I couldn’t find the pill box on either side. I was just about to go out and ask Acha where he kept the medicines and I heard him speaking
“aiyyo Your sister is blind as a bat. Look how long she takes to get the medicne. I am sure she doesn’t even know what is a bed side table!”
Maria was laughing and I was mad. I knew what is a bed side table and there is no medicine box anywhere on either side of the table. I marched out fuming and I bumped in to Acha near the door. He was grinning and he started to hug me. It didn’t feel normal. I started to push him and the more I struggled, the more stronger he became. Eventually he let go of me. He was still grinning and he spoke
“bodoh, the medicine is there, see, on the bedside table” I was breathless, angry and upset. I watched my uncle walking to his cupboard and taking the medicines out of the cupboard. I suddenly understood, this is a totally different game and I have no idea, what are the rules. I wanted to tell Amma, what Acha did to me, but I also knew my mother.