June 06, 2010

Where are you?

She watched the kids playing in the park. It was a warm and humid evening, and yet the kids didn't seem to notice. Piya was five years old, and adored her older sister Leela, who was eight. When Leela lost a tooth, Sparsha had found Piya trying to get a tooth off too. She smiled at the memory. That happened a lot these days. When you are old enough to have grandchildren, you have plenty of memories.

Piya stopped in the midst of chasing after her sister, a race she knew she couldn't win, to stare at a flower. It had white around the center and purple on its edges. Purple was Piya's favorite color, although if you asked her, she would say Red, because her sister loved Red. Leela turned around, saw that Piya wasn't chasing her, and walked back to her.

Piya plucked the flower and with a huge smile, presented it to Leela. Leela pinched her, and when she cried out, said, 'That's how the plant felt when you plucked the flower! Don't do it again!' and stormed away to her grandmother.

Sparsha laughed and said, 'I had done the same thing!'. Leela looked at her quizzically, 'But you don't have a sister, ajji'.

The smile left her face slowly as she remembered.

'No, I don't have a sister. It was a friend.'

'Was she a good friend of yours?' Leela was curious. She had never seen her grandma with any friends, apart from the family.

'Yes. We were best of friends for more than 20 years, since we were Piya's age' Sparsha looked away so Leela wouldn't see the tears in her eyes.

'20 years? That's older than Sushit anna!' Sushit was Leela's cousin, and he was the most grown up non-adult in Leela's world.

Sparsha's smile was tinged with sadness.

'What happened ajji? Did you stop being friends?'



'I will tell you some other day, Leela. Why don't you get Piya? She is still apologizing to the plant'

Both of them laughed at the sight.

Leela began to walk away, and turned to pause. 'Do you know where she is now, ajji?'

'My friend? Or Piya?' she teased.

'Ajji! Of course I mean your friend.' Leela could sound so grown-up sometimes. 'What was her name?'

'Meera. I have no idea where she is', and her voice caught in her throat. It had been a long time since she had thought of Meera.

'Piya, come here' Leela screamed out. And she threw her arms around her grandma. Piya joined them a few seconds later.

'I hope you see your friend again ajji' Leela whispered into Sparsha's ear.

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