I sat beside the phone, waiting endlessly for it to ring. I would have made the call myself, but they probably had not got a connection yet. I went to the balcony again and looked at the adjoining house. The grass was still green but had overgrown since yesterday. The door of the house still had the imprint of the nameplate as dust was urging forward to cover it. The garden seats looked dull and the parking space missed the grey Volvo sedan. The emptiness stretched all the way from the closed garage door to the terrace and the black cast iron gate.

My whole life had been about this neighborhood. Ever since I can remember, me and the twins used to ride our bicycles on the golf course road. As we approached the downhill slope, we used to let go of the pedals and the handle and let gravity win the race for us. Whoever lost used to buy the ice candies for the other two. Then we used to sit at the golf lawns and tear the grass apart till the keeper came and shooed us away.

School was just a mile away from our houses and we used to walk together each day. Arpita and Anandita always wore the same clothes as each other, the same shoes and even the same ribbons.  No one in school could tell them apart, but I always knew. Arpita had a smaller left eye and Anandita had a mark near her eyebrow. But even if my eyes were closed, I could tell from their voices.

They always got away with homework trouble, as they used to start blaming each other in class and start a huge fight. The teacher gave up after twenty minutes of shrieking and wailing. They had mastered the art when we were in first standard. But when they actually fought, they kicked off their shoes and messed with each other’s hair. But the best part was they never used to fight around me. I was the mediator, but secretly I thought I was the queen and they were my two clergies.

They hated their home food and always hopped into my house for dinner. They refused to go until their mother came and dragged them back. We were inseparable for life!

When we were twelve, we tried to drive their father’s car once. Arpi had got the key and we all slipped in together. “Press on the accelerator” “No, changed the gear first” “Oh god, put it in key at least” And she had pressed on the accelerator so hard that we had almost banged into the tree. We had been grounded for a week, no outing and no meeting each other. But in the afternoons I sneaked up to the terrace and climbed over to the terrace next door. Then I sneaked into their room and we all used to eat chips and fries. Those were some lovely afternoons.

I always knew we all would be separated when we had to go to college. Arpi wanted to do a course in Psycology and Anny and me were hell bent on becoming Engineers. We had decided the colleges which we would go to and charted out a plan how we all would meet once a week. We had made pacts on how we would write to each other every week if we went far away and how we would always buy 3 souvenirs from whichever place we were in so that we always had identical pieces from around the world.

And now, they had to leave so suddenly. Even before college started and even before we got our first dates together…

A month passed since they moved, and not even one call! Mom sat me down and explained to me an hour over how people forget and we remain just people they once knew. I did not want to agree, and I still kept waiting. School was not the same anymore and my life certainly wasn’t. I sat down to fill my college forms and I thought of them, I would still apply to the same places we had decided, no matter what.

And as I went to the post office, little did I know a parcel awaited me. I opened my post box and in it was a blue envelope and a small box. In the box was a tiny replica of a bicycle and in the letter they had written – ‘We got three of these as soon as we reached here. You cannot imagine how much we miss you. Getting a telephone connection here is a nightmare; they say it will take another 3 weeks. We are going nuts here…why don’t you come down for a vacation? We will fill our college forms together. Come soon, as without you we will pull each other’s hair out. I had no idea Arpi was so annoying around you. I feel she is turning more devilish every day. Take care yaar, we miss you tonnes…’

A tear trickled my eye and made an impression on the envelope. As I walked home, I could sense how different life was going to be without them, but the essence was to keep them close to my heart, always! I looked at their house, where wild bushes had started growing now. The door was open, I stopped to look inside. A little girl rushed out screaming “I love the house. Let’s move in Mamma.” She turned around and smiled at me and I smiled back. 



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Nice and touching story !!

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12/02/2010 6:41pm

Thanks guys....keep reading!

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Hi Lovya,
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you are yashi's sister rite?
Apeejay saket ?

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