Once dinner was over, I rushed to the room and threw the sheets on to Sona’s bed and landed on the bed just as Sona walked in. She made a face at me as she started folding the sheet, avoiding my eye.
For a moment, I stayed silent, willing her to say something. She was a hard nut to crack! Finally, I tried some desperate tactics.
“Sona,” I said softly, half nestled under the blanket, “I heard from Samrat. And I think it’s great.” I watched her carefully.
She acted very cool I must say, “Oh yeah, what did he say?”
It was my turn to go on the back foot, “You know” I said ominously.
“He told you?” She asked giving me the suspicious eye.
“Uh huh..Didn’t you see us talking??” I said, trying to sound convincing.
“I did. Really, how fake can you get Pinku?” She had a crooked smile on her face.
Desperate to salvage my sinking situation I tried to feign innocence ,“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
She laughed at my predicament, “Just as well, you’re too young to get into such things anyway.”
“Hey! No fair! As if you’re one old maid! Whatever you can talk about, I can talk about it too!” I protested vehemently.
This being the younger had its advantages and disadvantages. I kept fluctuating whether I wanted to be referred to as the youngest one or to be treated as a grown up. I mean being the youngest got me out of trouble most of the time and I was pampered and given the first preference whenever Sona and mum went shopping to pick out stuff.. But on the other hand, I was also coddled, expected to stay out of grown-up stuff, explain to my parents all the time that I was no longer a kid.
Triumphant Sona was walking out, her secret still a secret when I made a last ditch attempt.
“You’re my sister and I don’t know what’s happening in your life.” I said in a soft sad voice and turned over on the bed. When all fails, go in for emotional blackmail.
I closed my eyes but kept a keen ear on Sona’s movements in the room. For the longest time I thought she wasn’t bothered. I was just about to give up when I felt her settle down next to me and tap my leg.
“You are my sister.” She said reluctantly. “And you’re right, you should know what’s up. So.” She paused.
I sat up on the bed, I had never expected emotional blackmail to work on her. Mum maybe. Dad was a sucker for emotional stuff. A few drops of tears and a emotional “Daddy!” was enough to melt my dad. They say that daughters wrap their fathers around their little fingers. Whoever said that, was a very wise daughter.
“So Samrat and I.” Sona started clearing her throat, looking pointedly at her palm.
“Yes? What about you guys!” I asked impatiently. My mum used to say that when God was distributing patience, I was probably hiding behind the barn door.
“Wait! Don’t rush me!” Sona glared at me.
“Sorry,” I apologized meekly. I somehow resisted the urge to shake her hard to make her talk faster.
“So, we’re in love. We want to get married.” She declared calmly and then glanced at me to see my reaction.
I raised one brow, “Really? After one date? What’s wrong with you?” I asked cynically.
“I told you, you are too young to understand! Besides, Samrat and I dated before you joined college you know. We split after 3 years and now..” She sighed wistfully.
I could see why my parents were so freaked. Their daughter, the smart, pretty, intelligent, ambitious daughter was talking about settling down before she even finished graduating.
I wasn’t too impressed with her confession. I had hoped it was something more dramatic than this. “So what did mum and dad say?” I asked, trying to show little interest.
“Flipped a lid.” She said as a matter of fact.
I had to laugh, “Did you expect anything else?”
She smiled back at me, “Actually, mum and dad are much cooler than Samrat’s folks. They blew a gasket.”
“Oh! You’re really serious about this?”
“Are you even listening to what I’m saying? You’re useless!” Sona turned away from me exasperated.
“Sona. You’re way too young!” I spoke putting on my grown up act.
“Legally, I’m old enough.” She said.
“You’re crazy! What’s wrong with you!” I couldn’t believe my sister didn’t have any ambitions or dreams she wanted to fulfill before getting tied down.
She smiled at me, “We’re in love, what can I do?”
I rolled my eyes, “Cut the drama. Mom will shoot you.”
“Yeah, you have a point there. But!!” she said, getting all hyper, “Not like I want to get married tomorrow! I was just declaring my intent.”
“Oh!” I settled back down. Now I was confused. What was all the fuss about then? Not like Sona was planning to do something drastic.
“Yeah, you’d think they’d be happy that I am telling them such things!” Sona exclaimed indignantly.
I suppressed a laugh, “Maybe you just caught them off guard.”
“Hope so. The way they are reacting, it’s almost as though I’m getting married tomorrow. Really, I have some dreams and ambitions of my own!” She shook her head a little as she turned off the lights.
I offered her some advice before sleep claimed me,“This too shall pass dear sister.”