The two sisters sat opposite each other. It´s ten years since they met and twenty one years since their mothers´ demise.
“How´s Anaya doing?”
“Good. What about Manoj?”
“Good too. Divya, I´m sorry for…”
“It´s okay! Much water has flown under the bridge.”
“I know! But, I realize how you´ve been right all along and me, so wrong.”
“Just leave it, Shilpa!”
“Divya, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.”
“You´re not helping making this conversation any more awkward than it is. Okay, you want to get it all off your chest and mine too! Let´s do it then!”
“I´ve treated you badly, Shilpa and said some awful things about you and your family. Sisters don’t do that to each other. I was so vicious back then and stooped to the lowest low owing to my pride and insecurity.”
Tears streamed down both their faces and for the first time, in a very long time, they hugged each other and took a deep collective sigh. They both felt the guilt vanish from their bodies, no longer entrapping their souls. For the first time in their conversation, Divya felt that Shilpa was right about baring it all open. After all, if they hoped for a restoration in all sincerity, this was the only path towards that goal.
“It came as a rude shock when you turned against me, Shilpa. That hurt the most. It felt like a stab in the back. After all, I looked up to you all these years and suddenly, you showed this completely different side of you.”
Shilpa shut her eyes in regret. When she gained composure and strength, she looked at Divya, saying
“I cannot undo the past. Neither can I run away from it however much I try! And, I´ve realised that I don´t want to either. I missed you, Divya and I curse myself every single day for treating you the way I did. I´m so sorry for breaking your trust and our relationship forever.”
“Bent, not broken!”, smiled Divya.
“And here I was getting so worried about how mad you would be when you see me after so many years.”
“Well to be honest, Divya, I swore to myself that I would never let you back into my life again. After all that I felt for you in the purest form of love, you not only broke my trust and shattered my love for you, but also lost all the respect that I had for you. The mask came off and you were an ugly person to my eyes overnight.”
“I deserved the hate, I guess. Especially since all this mess was started like a torch fire that set aflame the entire forest. There were many times when I wanted to call you and end our cold war.”
“Why didn´t you then?”
“And what has changed now?”
Shilpa shifted her gaze away from Divya and said:
Divya shot a quizzical look.
“Manu has been detected with multiple sclerosis since the last two years. Not only was I nursing a sick husband and trying to salvage our sinking company, I was also suffering from chronic depression. And, I shut myself from the rest of the world. Especially from you, Divya.”
“But, I should have been the first person you called, Shilpa. I am your own sister at the end of the day. I was a trusted well-wisher all these years until our unfortunate rift.”
“Divya, I have to confess that I took our sibling rivalry way too far. All this misfortune is largely my own doing. I couldn´t digest the fact that you always got the better deal. You looked better…”
“Hey, that´s not true!”
“Yes, it was in my own eyes for a long time. Today, I´ve accepted myself the way I am. I feel comfortable in my skin for the first time without feeling the need to compete with my own sister in every possible department.”
“You were always beautiful, Shilpa and you have no idea how much I admired your natural beauty – wavy hair, dusky skin tone, thick eyebrows, luscious hair and eyelashes, sharp features and face cut. I wanted to look like you. Besides, I always looked upto you. Why do you fail to see that?”
“Envy and pride.”
“You were always our parent´s pet. Since you were the younger and smarter one, they subconsciously showered more love and attention to you.”
“That´s not true again, Shilpa. A large part of your reasoning is a figment of your own imagination. Dad was always so proud of you and Mum wanted me to take after your footsteps blindly. You were my perfect role-model in her eyes.”
“Anyway, Manu is still physically immobile. We have tried everything possible to help him get him to walk again. Keep abreast of your social media updates privately made me turn away from you further out of jealousy. Here I was suffering at the hands of fate while you were flourishing. I always took pride in Manu´s achievements and social standing. Suddenly, he was brought to dust..well almost. Besides, our company was on the verge of closure and I was unable to handle the crisis on my own.”
“You should have called me, Shilpa. If family cannot be counted upon in such dark times, what is its higher purpose?”
“I called my friends instead but there are limitations on friendships however close the bond maybe. Anyway, it took me a long time to hold myself responsible for all the damage that I have caused upon myself and my family. My insecurity drove me to turn my back against my own sister, fail to end the rift with her and take her into confidence when my family deserved it the most. In the end, instead of destroying your life, I ended up blowing up my own face. I felt terrible that you were ´Destiny´s Child´.”
“The grass always looks greener on the other side, Shilpa. Each one of us have our own battles. If we sisters don´t act like armours protecting each other from the blows of the world, it is foolishness. There is unity in strength. The thought used to kill me everyday that our parents would be turning in their grave seeing us not communicate at all these years. Ten years is not a trivial period of time. ”
Shilpa hung her head in shame and sorrow.
“Do you know what hurts the most, Divya? Manoj hates me. My own son hates me. He´s known me the best. Watched me, the real person behind the mask in close quarters. I stand judged today by own son. I cannot blame anyone else but myself for our fractured relationship. He detests my duplicity and hypocritical ways. I´ve learnt that I am my own worst enemy and not you, Divya.”
Divya took Shilpa´s hand in hers and said,
“It´s time you stopped blaming yourself for every mishap in your life, Shilpa. It is not good for your health. You have suffered enough already. Manoj will come around someday, I´m sure. As I said at the start, much water has flown under the bride. It´s time to celebrate our reunion. I´m elated to have my sister back in my life.”
I’m participating in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – June 2018