I was even more determined to study. I wanted to. I had to. Medical degree was the one and only option I had to finally leave my home. I looked around the room to find a suitable place to sit and study. We didn’t have a dining table. Apart from the mattress bed in the living room there was 4 metallic blue folding chairs.
Sally was watching Bold and the Beautiful on TV. I looked at the TV trying to figure out who married whom this time.
It was interesting to watch Amma coming out every few minutes from the kitchen to watch the program and each time Amma went back, Sally gave a running commentary about how Sally Spectra was trying to steal the designs from the Forrester’s.
“She is so ugly and mean” I heard my sister speaking.
“She is only acting Sally” I replied
“Look at her Nina, Look how ugly she is!”
“You can’t call anyone ugly Sally, She was born that way”
“Yeah right, born that way, Ha! She is ugly and that is a fact” Amma came out holding the spatula in her hand and spoke.
I looked at Amma, She was wearing an old blue nightgown with banana sap stain all over the front, lace around the neck of the night gown was torn, her, hair tied in a tiny bun and she still had patches of hair dye that she applied on her hair on her forehead.
I thought of asking her have you seen your own image in the mirror lately? But I knew that would hurt her feelings. She believes that she looked like Padmini Kolhapuri and who was I to tell her otherwise? Besides why would I want to hurt my mother because she said Sally Spectra looked ugly?
‘She is ugly Nina’ Sensible one spoke
‘Shut up’ I spoke. I didn’t want to judge anyone. But some where at the back of my head I felt Sally Spectra was ugly. I consoled myself by thinking, perhaps that is exactly what the producers of the show intended. Hate the villain who was ugly and huge and had a weird hairstyle and love the polished.beautiful, caring and considerate Stephanie.
All right Nina, that is enough I told myself. You can’t write what Ridge and Brooke did for Microbiology exams! So stop wasting time.
I knew there was no way I could ask Sally to turn off the TV. I thought of going to Liza’s room and study. But that would create further fights. Amma’s room had a table and she had kept all her sewing stuff on it. I didn’t want to be any where near Amma’s sewing stuff, she would blame me for everything that went wrong with her embroidery.
I took one of the folding metal chair and walked to the balcony. Amma was looking at me.
“Going to sit outside and study” I spoke
Amma shrugged her shoulder and I felt she was telling me that ‘you are dumb, so what difference did it make where you sat and studied!”
It was pretty cold outside and the street was quiet. I thought I heard a bike stopping near the corner, so I went near the railings to look out, hoping it wasn’t Arjun.
Nah, he won’t come at this time of the day, I told myself. Then I saw Liza walking towards the house. she looked up and saw me standing. I watched her turning her head to the back and checking. I knew what was going on. I walked inside and stood near the door waiting for Liza to come up stairs.
“Where were you till now?” I asked her as soon as she reached the main entrance
“Who are you to ask?”
“I am Nina Thomas” I replied. Liza pushed me away to enter the living room
“I asked you Liza, where were you till now?”
Amma too came out of the kitchen to see what was going on.
“Amma, ask her where was she till now?” I told Amma
“She had to go for basketball practice” Amma spoke
“Till now? Till 8.45 pm?” I asked Amma
“What is your problem Nina?” Amma asked
“Amma, this is not right, She has to come back home on time. She is too young to hang out with guys”
“Really? Too young to hang out with guys Ah? So It is ok for you to hang out with Arjun ah?” Amma asked
I felt so angry when Amma spoke like that
“Well, I don’t ask Arjun to drop me near the corner, I don’t sneak out behind your back” I replied
I watched Liza entering her room and in the next second she came out
“Who was in my room?” She screamed
I looked at her trying to see what is going on
“Who was laying down on my bed”
“I was” I replied
“How dare you?”
In an instant my sister who was 4 years younger to me came rushing and she slapped me across my cheeks. I jerked my head and my specs flew off my face and fell to the ground.
“kanakkai poyi, ( serves you right), I told you she doesn’t like anyone laying down on her bed” Amma hissed and went back to the kitchen.
I saw Liza walking back to her room. I wanted to run after her and kick her and kill her. It wasn’t a crime to sleep on your sisters bed. I did everything for her. I did everything to make sure that she has a comfortable life and she slapped me because I laid down on her bed?
I knew physically there was no way I could fight with my sister. She was already 5 ft 11 in. My 5 ft 4 in frame wasn’t strong enough to fight her. Besides what was the point in fighting? What was I trying to prove? Who would have stood by me and said laying down on your sister’s bed wasn’t a crime?
I picked up the specs from the ground and put it back on my face. The frame was bend towards one side. I walked out to the balcony, holding my precious microbiology text book in my hand and sat down on the chair. I opened my text book to read. It felt funny to read using bend spects, I tilted my head to one side hoping, I can balance my skewed vision.
“Gosh, you are stupid Nina, how can you tilt your head to one side and expect that would change your skewed vision? Your specs is bend, not your head you moneky” I told myself. I almost laughed thinking about my own stupidity. I removed the spectacles.
Skewed vision! this was all skewed vision.
I did everything for my sisters because I had skewed vision. What I didn’t have I wanted them to have. I did it because I cared.
I used to carry Liza’s and Sally’s school bag and drop them to their school before going to my school.
Kankkai poyi I heard Amma’s voice.
How many times I got scoldings from my school headmistress for missing the morning assembly, because my sisters walked slowly and and never bothered that I would get yelled at for being late.
I used to save all the birthday candies I got in school for my sisters, instead of eating it.
I remembered each and every time I had money and never bought anything for me, instead I bought something for my sisters. I knew how I felt not having things I wanted. I didn’t want my sisters to go through that.
Tears started to fall down my cheeks on to my text book. I didn’t bother to stop the tears. It was all kanakkai poyi. I was a loser after all. what difference did it make if I cried or laughed?