I stood near the window pane, the first drops of the season splattered against my face. Everything looked so hazy and grey. People running under the broken roofs of the shops, rickshaw-walas covering up their vehicles, big umbrellas covered up the pathways, the vehicles passing from the road formed ripples in the small puddles. I closed my eyes, and felt the cool breeze against my face; the rain reminded me of so many things, the night I was taken to the hospital I remember it thundered strongly. A hot tear trickled down my cheek.
“Aarti?” my mother called me. “Dinner’s ready.”
“Yes ma, coming.” I quickly wiped my tears, closed the window and rushed down.
My house is fairly large; it’s a two storey building, situated a little away from the bustling life of Kolkata. This house is my priceless possession, maybe for the fact that I have spent my entire childhood here or maybe because I almost died saving it.
I pulled up my chair, and sat on the dining table. I felt something weird in the atmosphere; my mom and dad were exchanging glances, there was a sheepish grin on their faces.
“What is it?” I asked irritably.
My dad cleared his throat and said with a proud smile, “There is a proposal for Simran.”
I looked at Simran, a slight smirk on my face. I raised my eyebrows at her, and surprisingly she blushed. I couldn’t control my laughter.
“What?” she said accusingly.
“Nothing.” I said smiling. I looked at my parent’s, “So what does the guy do?”
“Um...he’s completing his MBA.” My mom said putting down the glass of water.
“Is he from-“
“No, they’re from Bangalore.” My dad answered before I could complete the question.
I nodded my head, “Dad? mom?” my expression turning serious.
“Yes?” my dad said with a mouthful of rice.
“Have they asked for-“
This time my mom cut me, “A bike. That’s all.”
“Aarti we understand, but do you realize how difficult it was to find a good family for Simran after your divorce?” my dad said, trying to finish it quickly.
I couldn’t understand what they were trying to say, Simran wasn’t getting proposals because of me? Were they really sending Simran into a family greedy for dowry? I couldn’t let that happen. Not again.
“Ma, you can’t do this to Simran.” I said, nodding my head vigorously. “I can’t let you do it.”
“Do what?” Simran said with a look of annoyance.
Of course she didn’t know anything, when I got divorced with Dev, she was at Stanford University completing her graduation. When she came back, no one felt like bringing up the topic.
“Dad, you are not accepting this proposal.” I said pressuring every word.
“Why not?” Simran said loudly banging her fists on the table, “Who are you to decide?”
“Your elder sister.”
“Elder my foot.”
“Mind your tongue Simran.” My dad interrupted.
I was already hurt, I swallowed hard. I didn’t want to start crying in front of my whole family.
“What is it that I don’t know?” she said, “All I know is, she is a divorcee and the reason I did not get any proposals, and now that I do, she is jealous.”
I couldn’t take it anymore; tears were streaming down my face. I pushed my chair back, and ran up the stairs to my room. I slammed the door shut behind me, buried myself in the pillow and cried. It felt like all the scars had become fresh once again, all the bitter memories recollected in my head. I lay on my bed a long time, until there was a knock on the door. I rubbed my hands quickly over my face, and got up to open the door. It was mother.
Without saying a word, I turned my back and lay on my bed again. Mother came and sat beside me, she put a hand on my head. It made me feel like a child, but for once I liked being a child, free of all the worries, tensions, and problems, unaware of the cruelty and selfishness of the world.
“Aarti, Simran didn’t mean anything.”
“I know ma.” I said avoiding eye contact
“We can’t make Simran sit in this house forever. And after your divorce-“
“How does my divorce affect anything?”
“People never blame the boy Aarti, all they say is the girl must have a problem. And then it comes on Simran, she’s your sister after all.”
|Freida Pinto||as Aarti Sahota|
|Camilla Belle||as Simran Sahota|
|Vinay Virmani||as Arjun Sahota|
|Jimi Mistry||as Ayushman Sahi|
|Dev Patel||as Dev Desai|