There was a brief moment of silence. Like the calm before the storm. May be this was the moment when truth had a chance to be understood and accepted.
Amma was staring at me, so was Maria. I waited for Amma to ask Maria
“Is it true?”
“You destroyed this family” Amma spoke
Phew! Amma finally understood what was going on and she was going after Chechy. I was just about to say ‘Finally you understood the truth!” When I realized Amma was pointing her finger at me and yelling
“You destroyed this family Nina. I wish I never gave birth to you”
“What? What did I do?” My voice sounded squeaky. I didn’t like the sound of my own voice. I wondered what happened to my real voice.
“What you didn’t do? vallaventeyum koodey karanggi nadanno. (roaming with strangers!) You are such a bad example to my daughters. You forget that you have younger sisters. You are supposed to be a role model for them and look at you! pezha! How could you come out from my belly? How could I give birth to a daughter like you?”
I didn’t know what to say. What could I say?
I wanted to ask Amma what role model was Maria playing? How could she agree to what Maria was doing and hate me? What did I do so wrong for my mother to hate me this much?
enthadi, nintey navu eranggi poyo? (swallowed your tongue?)”
I wanted to tell her that I am not sleeping with anyone. I wanted to tell her that I was out the whole day, but I wasn’t with anyone. I went to the library and to the park, that was it. I wanted to tell her that it was she and her wonderful older daughter, who were showing bad example to my younger sisters. But the words never came out of my mouth. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t humiliate myself anymore.
“I am sending Sally to the boarding school. Hopefully she can be saved from your bad influence. ee nashicha kudumbathil ninnu avalenkilum rakshapettottey! (at least she would be able to escape from this mad family)” Amma spoke
It all came back to me. So that was the master plan everyone was discussing behind my back.
“I am going with valia chechy(big sister). You are such a bad influence for me. I wish I never had a sister like you” Sally came out of the room holding her back pack.
“Oh God” Words came out of my mouth even before I had a chance to think. I wasn’t supposed to call God, I didn’t believe in God. But at that moment, I didn’t feel ashamed of myself for calling out for God. I was losing my baby sister. And I knew who was waiting for her on the other side.
“Come valia chechy(big sister) let us go. I don’t want to stay here anymore” Sally spoke
“Sally don’t” I reached out to hold her hand. “Please don’t go”
“Don’t touch me. I am forced to leave this house because of you. I hate you Nina. I absolutely hate you” Sally hissed.
Her words pierced my heart like a 1000 arrows.
How could she talk to me like that? Have I not loved her enough? Have I not taken care of her? Even when I had no money to spend, I still bought her Enid Blyton books..
Where did I go wrong? Maria never even bothered to do anything for her and she loves Maria more than me? Why?
Why? Why? Why? I wanted the answer.
There was no answer. No one ever told me why and I was sick of blaming Karma for everything.
I watched Maria holding Sally’s hand. “Come baby girl, let us go”
Baby girl? That was nice, coming from someone who didn’t even go to the hospital to see her new born baby sister.
“Chechy, will you help me carry my bags to the car?” Sally asked Liza.
Only then did I notice Liza standing next to Amma.
“Sure, baby girl” Liza spoke.
I felt a tinge of jealousy. Not because Sally called Liza, Chechy and Liza called her baby girl. I felt jealous because no one ever bothered to help me carry my bags. I remembered the time I came back from Dubai and how both my sisters refused to carry my bag for me.
“Bye Amma” Sally hugged Amma
Amma didn’t say anything. She just hugged Sally
“Bye Chechy. I will miss you” She hugged Liza.
She walked in front of me as though I didn’t exist. I never did exist in anyone’s life did I?
I wanted to cry. But then I felt, what for should I cry? I didn’t do anything wrong. I did what ever I was supposed to do. I did my duty and I won’t cry. But still tears started to well up in my eyes. I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. So I walked to the balcony.
I saw the driver opening the trunk. Amma was helping Liza to to lift the bags and place them in the trunk. I watched Sally hugging Amma again.
Did I do it? Did I make my younger sister leave out house? Am I the reason why she had to leave Amma and go and stay at a boarding school? Am I?
I knew I didn’t so anything. May be I did. I shouldn’t have let Arjun drop me home. I should have thought that I had sisters. Why didn’t I? Why was I so selfish? I hated myself. I wished I was never born. I wished Amma had never given birth to me. See what I am doing to my sister? She had to leave home because I was such a bad person.
Sally looked up and saw me standing at the balcony. She looked away. Maria opened the door for her and she got inside the car.
I watched Amma wiping her eyes.
Maria closed the door and the driver started the car.
There were things I needed to tell Sally.
I wanted to tell her how much I love her.I wanted to tell her I am sorry for being a bad example, sorry for being so selfish, sorry for making her leave home. But more than all that I wanted to tell her to take care. I wanted to tell her not to be alone with George.
I had to tell her that. I thought of running down the steps and talk to Sally. But it was too late. I watched the car taking a left turn in to the main road. The ladies at the Marwari house were watching us, so did the people at the shops. I saw Amma closing the gate.
Standing there on the balcony, I felt empty, as though I lost a part of me and There was nothing I could do.
Then I remembered. I closed my eyes and prayed
“Lord Please keep my baby sister safe” and the tears started to roll down my cheeks.

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