It was a bright sunny day. I was drying my hair in the veranda with an old cotton towel. My hair smelled like fresh oranges and I was just lost in the smell of it when Amma called from inside the house.
“Veena, come inside and help me in the kitchen. What are you doing outside? It is going to rain, you will get wet.”
Rain! Amma has lost it. It is so bright and sunny outside, how can it rain now. Amma and her stupid predictions, I don’t know why she acts like she knows everything.
Amma called again. I went inside to check what is so urgent that she needs me. There was some rice boiling in one pot on the gas stove and few carrots and tomatoes lying on a wooden board next to Amma.
“Come cut these carrots for me. I am making sambhar for dinner. Your brother loves sambhar.”
“Amma, sambhar again. You know I don’t like sambhar. Pravin is not the only one living in this house. I also need food which I like. How many times in week will we eat sambhar because Pravin likes it?”
” Veena, don’t be so adamant about food. You should be glad you are getting food to eat”
I was in no mood to argue with her. From the time Pravin was born, this was the norm in our house. Boys were given a lot of importance in our family. I had seen my Amma go above and beyond to feed my Appa, when he got back from work. I always wondered why on earth does she feed him without eating her dinner. The same was happeneing with me and my brother.
I finished cutting the carrots and went out in the veranda again.
It had started drizzling. Amma was right. Why is she always right? Stupid me to think that Amma can be wrong.
I was lost in my thought of Amma, when my eyes fell upon a boy on a bicycle coming towards our house. I couldn’t really make out who this person was.
He stopped right in front of our gate and called me.
“Hey Veena, Raghu here. I was going to the milk shop to buy some milk and thought of stopping by your place to borrow the history notes from you.”
My heart skipped a beat. I stood there in a state of shock and disbelief. Raghu is at my house. In front of my gate. How did he know where I lived? Does he know, I secretly have a crush on him? Did Sarla tell him that I like him? Does he know, I write love letters in my notebook for him? He has never spoken to me in class. Why is he here now?
He shouted again.
“Hello, I am getting wet here. Can I at least come inside?”
I picked up my thoughts and ran towards the gate to open it. As I was running down the veranda, I completely forgot there were three steps and I put my foot forward only to lose balance and fall down. My two legs split apart and I fell face down on the concrete floor. For a few seconds, I didn’t realize what happened. As I opened my eyes I saw a trail of blood flowing down my face and getting mixed with the rain water forming a stream.
I woke up after an hour, I saw Amma sitting in front of me and Pravin was reading his book in the chair next to my bed.
“Amma, What happened?”
“Veena, don’t move. You fell down in the rain and cut your chin. You got eleven stithies on it. Don’t move otherwise it will pain.”‘
I felt it. I felt a sudden jolt of pain going down from my chin through the back of my spine. As I was about to cry in pain. I saw someone standing near my left shoulder.
“Hey Veena, Raghu here. Lie down and don’t move. Listen to your Amma”
What in the world is happening right now? Why is Raghu here? Why is he holding me and putting me to sleep? Am I dreaming? I was about to sit up straight when he whispered in my ear.
“Veena, I am sorry this happened because of me. But you are beautiful with or without the stitches. Just keep smiling the way you do”
In that moment the whole world stopped around me. The pain vanished and all I could think was, I was glad that it rained.