“Saru, come here, the view from here is breathtaking”, called out Anu, from her perch on one of the slippery rocks.
“Anu, it’s too dangerous. Please come back”, cried Saru thinking that it was bad idea to trek to the mountains when the weather was so breezy.
“Oh don’t be such a spoilsport. Wait, I’ll come there and you can take my hand”, said Anu as she expertly jumped from one boulder to another.
As she reached Saru, she took her hand and guided her down to the rocks, much against the protests of her sister. Saru and Anu were twins. They were also identical to look but many people felt that Saru was the better looking sister among the two. Whenever Anu brought this up to tease her sister, Saru would deny it sharply saying that they were reflections of each other, like looking into a mirror and seeing their own image.
As Anu showed the beautiful sunset, Saru sighed and agreed that it was a most wonderful sight.
“Anu, I wanted to ask, if you have forgiven me for agreeing to marry Rajiv”, Saru said as she took Anu’s hands in her own.
“What’s there to forgive? Rajiv’s proposal had come to me, he and his family had come to our house to see me and fix my marriage. But if he saw you and fell in love with you, it’s not really your fault right? I mean you did not deliberately come in front of him, so that he would fall in love with you? You are prettier than me Saru”, said Anu, touching her own face as if to feel the acne that covered her face and had become the bane of her existence.
“I know that you liked Rajiv, didi*. I should not have accepted his proposal but mom and dad were indignant that such a good proposal should not go wasted. And Rajiv is a good guy”, Saru’s voice trailed off as she realized that her eyes were wet. Ever since she accepted Rajiv’s proposal the guilt of breaking her sister’s heart was eating at her soul.
“Oh, come on! Ever since we were born you were the one who got all the attention. I tried so hard to match up to the expectations you set, but nothing was good enough. “Oh, how sweetly Saru sings” , “what a good cook Saru is”, “what a brilliant student Saru is”, “how pretty Saru is”. It’s always been you. But I never expected you to fall so low. Never mind! Rajiv is mine and he will remain mine.”
Suddenly Anu pushed Saru with the back of her palms. As Saru’s body fell over the huge boulders, she could hear her anguished cries. Anu ran as fast as she could, shouting for help. Of course she knew that by the time anyone came for help, Saru would be long dead.
As Anu lay on her huge bed in the night, she remembered, when they were kids she and her sister would curl up together in the same bed and talk all through the night, finally falling asleep during dusk. It had been 15 days since Saru’s death, and people had accepted Anu’s words about Saru tripping over the slippery rocks and falling down the steep mountains.
They tried to console the heartbroken and deeply distressed Anu. But Anu’s soul was rejoicing. Finally she was free from that fire of jealousy that burnt in her soul.
As the cool breeze blew through the windows Anu felt a light touch on her shoulders and she turned back to look. There, curled up against her was Saru but her body seemed to be twisted and bloody.
“Anu, my dear sister, it’s me Saru….”
*didi= 'Sister' in Hindi