My dad and Mr. Bartakke were best of friends, which meant that they expected their kids to get along as a house on fire. Unfortunately for me Neeta was my age and an absolute pain. She was tall, skinny, with rosy cheeks and beautiful long hair. In short, she was horribly attractive and she knew it.
She was the apple of her parents’ eyes and sometimes, I wondered whether she was my parents’ favorite too! Both Sona and I had heard long lectures on Neeta’s perfection which was one other reason why we didn’t like her.
My lips drooped southwards as I saw Neeta come towards the car. My dad’s face followed suit when he saw Neeta’s mum behind her.
“Is it okay if I tagged along?” She asked my dad. Before my dad could reply, she got in with her daughter.
“Oh Supriya! What a lovely kurta!” Neeta exclaimed. I scowled at her, I knew she wasn’t being genuine.
So I played along, “Thanks Neeta, your kurta looks great on you.” The problem was, despite the fact that I wanted it to be sarcastic, my comment came as something genuine, because she did look great. That girl could carry off anything!
My dad dropped us off at the main gate and sat through another painful mother-daughter goodbye. This time, I was happy to be there. I sat there with an expression of glee as Neeta’s mum provided her with last minute pearls of wisdom. In my happiness, I didn’t see where I was getting off and I stepped straight into slush. I cursed under my breath, almost forgetting two grown ups who were very much in the mood of giving lectures were watching me intently.
“Pinkoo!” my dad admonished. I saw a look of approval on Mrs. Bartakke’s face. “Don’t you dare,” My dad continued, “Get that slush into my car!”
I snickered a little as Mrs. Bartakke realized why my father was chiding me but my joy was short lived. I put up my feet near the dashboard and wriggled my toes trying to shake the mud off.
“Don’t worry beta” Mrs. Bartakke reassured me. “It’s supposed to bring good luck!”
“Maybe I should offer some to Neeta then.” I smiled politely and pretended to toss my slippers at Neeta.
“Eeeck! Ma!” Neeta jumped out of the car, shrieking.
“Both of you! Get out!” My dad half threw my stuff out of the car and drove away quickly.
First day of college and there we were, dressed like goody two shoes! And frankly speaking, my mum’s theory of wearing salwaar kameez didn’t really seem to be working. As I looked around, the only people I could see walking around in salwaar kameez were timid people, all freshers like me from the looks of it.I could see a bunch of freshers standing in the middle of the ground, surrounded by a bunch of seniors. They looked like a bunch of gazelles waiting to be devoured.
And standing in front of them tapping her foot impatiently was my sister!