There was nothing to do.
Nothing worth watching on the TV.
No books to read.
No one to talk to.
There was no point going out either. Commercial street is closed on Sunday and most of the shops on MG Road will be closed for the festival.
How was I going to spend the rest of the day?
If I was at the hostel, at least I could have talked to my room mates.
I seriously considered going back to the hostel. But how will I explain if someone asks me why I came back early?
I missed Arjun. I really, really missed him. I so desperately wanted to talk to him.
Would he come today to see me? I wondered.
One part of me knew he would be busy celebrating Vinayaka Chathurthi with his family. The other part of me wanted him to come and visit me. Because I mattered too. Besides he did ask me before leaving ‘Will I see you tomorrow?’
Every time I heard a bike coming to our street, I ran to the balcony to look outside.
I knew Arjun would come.
After the fourth time I went to the balcony to see if it was Arjun, Amma gave me that look.
The mocking look.
How sad Nina, he didn’t come to see you though it is a Sunday and he should be free on a Sunday and should rightfully spend his time with his girl friend kind of look.
I pretended I didn’t see the look on her face.
I wondered why my mother thinks I am her enemy and waits for every chance to pounce on me so I get hurt.
I considered going to the phone booth and call Arjun.
But then I knew my mother would think Arjun came for a visit because I phoned him.
Damn him. Why doesn’t he want to see me?
Does he not know how crazy my life is? The least he could do is to make it less complicated. No?
‘No’ Sensible one spoke.
‘No?’ I asked her
‘He doesn’t know how complicated your life is Nina. You never told him’
Never told him?
What do I tell him?
That my mother… that my sister…?
I couldn’t tell him that. Not if I wanted him to marry me’
‘Marry? gosh Nina, I thought you didn’t love him!’ Sensible one spoke
‘Love? What has love got to do with marriage? I just want to get out of this mad house. I want to marry him, so I can leave this house.’
‘You don’t have to get married to leave this house Nina’
‘You don’t get it, Do you? I want to belong somewhere. Arjun has such a wonderful family. I want to be a part of his family.’
‘You are marrying him so you can be part of his family?’
‘yes, is there something wrong with that? Do you know his sisters never fight with each other? When his oldest sister gave birth, his sisters took turns to stay with her and help her? For them their family came first. Not something you would see in my family. Right?’
‘you have no idea what you are doing Nina’
‘Shut up’ I hissed. I knew exactly what I was doing. I rather wear tudong and eat vegetarian food than be alone.
I checked the time. 2.30 pm. I knew Arjun would be home any time now. He would have been waiting to eat lunch before coming to see me. I got up from my bed, washed my face, combed my hair.
My hair was looking funny. Few duck tails here and there. I couldn’t do anything about that. My 2nd MBBS part 1 exam will be in Jan and I had to have long hair by then. I wet my hair and tried to smoothen out all the duck tails.
Damn George. If it wasn’t for him, I could have gone and cut me hair and looked proper.
Three more years. I pacified myself. Only three more years. Then he won’t be able to touch me.
3o clock became 4 and I was sure Arjun would be here by 4.30. He must have wanted to have his tea before coming to see me.
4.30 became 5.30.
Amma came out and sat on the folding chair across my bed. She was busy doing the cross stitch.
I pretended to read my story book, cursing my own stupidity for borrowing such a horrible book. No, it was the author himself who was stupid for writing such a horrible book. Then there were stupid publishers who published such crappy books!
Every once in a while, Amma stopped stitching to change to a different colour thread. I could feel her looking at me while threading the needle.
‘You won’t see me breaking apart ma. Sorry to disappoint you. My wold doesn’t collapse if Arjun didn’t come for a visit. Besides I know he is busy celebrating with his family’ I spoke in my head.
By 7 pm, I knew Arjun wouldn’t be coming to visit me today. I was so disappointed. As much as I knew he probably wouldn’t have had time to come and see me, I was also angry with him. How could he not come and see me? I don’t live that far from his house. Do I?
I saw Liza going to the kitchen and I heard her opening the closing the pots on the gas stove.
“What is for Dinner ma?” She came out of the kitchen and asked
“kuntham and kuda chakkram(? Spear and Arrow)”Amma replied
“Huh?” Liza asked
“Aren’t you ashamed? Both of you are old enough to get married and have your own family and you still expect me to cook for you? ninakkokkey nanam ennu paranja vakku adothoode enkilum poovumo?“
“You don’t let us do anything in your kitchen Amma” Liza spoke
“entey daivamey (my god), when did I not let you cook in my kitchen?”
“Have you forgotten? Remember our old house? Remember how you used to chase us out of your kitchen saying whenever we tried to help you by saying we give you oru panikku nooru panii(more hassle)”
“how many years ago was that Liza?” Amma hissed
“If you wanted me to cook, why didn’t you tell me earlier Amma?”
“Don’t you have a stomach? Don’t you know you need food? Must I tell you to cook when you should be taking the initiative?”
“You are crazy Amma. You keep changing your rules as and when you feel like it. I can’t wait to get out of this house”
Liza went to her room and slammed the door.
Few minutes later she came out wearing jeans and t shirt.
“Where are you going at this time of the day?” Amma asked Liza
“Who are you to ask me that?” Liza asked Amma
“I am your mother” Amma spoke
“Then perhaps it is time you acted like one”
Amma got up from the chair and tried to block Liza’s path.
“You are not going out at this time of the day Liza. it is late”
“Try stopping me” Liza pushed Amma to the side , took the key from the key holder, opened the door and walked out.
“Don’t bother coming back home” Amma yelled
“Get lost” Liza yelled as she ran down the stairs.
Amma slammed the main door shut and locked it.
I looked at her wondering when would she finally be happy?
She destroyed chechy’s life, have been trying to destroy my life and now it was Liza’s turn.
There was only one thing I could do.
I closed my eyes and prayed
Please, who ever you are, Krishna, Jesus or Whatever is your name, Please keep my sister safe. Please don’t let anything happen to her.