From the day she entered the household, I followed her around. She was beautiful, her face radiant with the glow of a life-long commitment; a disarming smile on her lips, charming one and all.
The silver anklets on her feet disclosed her whereabouts each time they tinkled. I would unabashedly find my way there and loiter around in close proximity. From a passionate crimson, to a warm sunshine yellow, a rich viridescence to a blushing pink, the myriad of hues she adorned spoke of her newly acquired status.
The colours were in stark contrast to my black.
The same red bangles and the symbolic toe rings which had bound me, seemed to caress her flawless skin flirtatiously as she navigated her way through the maze of responsibilities piled on her. Her eyes gleamed in response to the compliments showered on her by her husband.
Or should I say, my husband?
The husband who had kicked me and demanded. “Get more money from your father!”
The husband who had sniggered at my black-eye. “I like your eye make-up.”
The husband whose kin had declared “We married our son to a loser like you; now pay the price!”
My father had arranged the money; in time for my last rites.
The police had declared it an open and shut case of suicide.
Even as I had struggled to let go of my earthly attachments, an online matrimonial site had found a perfect replacement for me. Prettier and ten times richer. The marriage had been a hush-hush one, and relatives and neighbours were yet to meet the new bride.
But here she was, dethroning me in every way. Her expensive Chanel perfume had overpowered the lingering essence of my favourite jasmine flowers in the bedroom. A tray full of Mac lipsticks had pushed out my loyal lip-balms from the dressing table and even the mattress on my side of the bed had adjusted to her curvaceous frame.
The transition had been unbelievably smooth.
But then, that was Maya didi for you. Sure of what she wanted.
Since childhood, Maya di had always been the leader, and I, her quiet shadow.
“Stick to me and you will be fine!” She would insist.
“I will box your ears out!” She would threaten anyone who harassed me.
But one day, she had deserted me. Rebelling against our conservative upbringing, she had managed a scholarship abroad and left.
Our parents had disowned her. At my wedding, there was no mention of an elder sister.
And next, they had disowned me. At my funeral, there was no mention of my plight.
I am glad I had made that call to Maya di two days before I was pushed from the terrace.
I watched as the new bride added the last dose of poison to the food. Clutching her passport, she tiptoed out of the door.
Sensing my presence, she reassured, “They’ll pay for it, Chhaya. Your Maya di has ensured that. Go towards the light, sis.”
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