It was morning. It seemed as if all the people of the city are running to reach their destinations at the earliest to school, offices etc. In this race, two little girls were going slowly for their school. Among them, Reena, who was 12 years old, studied in class 6 and Meena was 14 years old, who studied in class 8. In white full-sleeved shirts, navy blue skirts, red ribbon in hair, white socks, and black lace shoes, the two girls seemed of students from a traditional Hindi medium school. Both were trying to reach their school as soon as possible but it was not possible to run faster with their heavy school bags. Although their house was not far from the Ramadevi girl school. Today, Meena’s socks was lost as usual, due to which both were late. Finally, as soon as both of them reached the gate of their school, the bell rang and both ran and put their bags in their class and reached for prayer.
After the prayer, all the girls had reached their classes. The first period in Meena’s class today was of Varma Maam, who was the Vice Principal of the school and was very strict. Varma madam was taught English literature in the class. Verma Madam asked all the students to take out a notebook of homework done and get it checked and anyone who has not done homework should stand up. Only one student stood in the class and she was Meena.
On seeing Meena, Verma Ma’am became enraged and said – now it has become your habit. Get out of my class and come with your guardian otherwise do not attend my class.
Meena- I did my homework but anyone has torn it in my copy.
Varma ma’am- I can no longer hear the same excuse every day. Get out of my class immediately.
Meena came out of the classroom waiting for the period to end outside the door. This incident often happened to Meena. Meena was a good student, but sometimes she used to get punished for not completing her homework or for being late in school.
On reaching home, Meena told the whole incident to her father. The father assured that no problem, I will go to school and talk. After all, Meena was the elder daughter of Basant Kumar, whom he loved more. At the same time, Mrs. Kumar had more attachment to younger daughter Reena. It was a small family of four members. Reena became stubborn because of being younger in the house and loving mother. While Meena was now entering her youth, her childhood was slowly dying out. Because of this stubbornness, Reena would often get entangled with her sister, Meena would try to solve the problem peacefully. The family income of the Kumar couple was fine, but they believed that we should spend as per the need. They were not frugal but spend as per requirement. Reena always had to bear the brunt. Every new item needed by the children was first taken for Meena, which Reena had to use as she got older. Three years ago, how Reena was adamant to buy a new bicycle for herself, but her mother asked me to ride Meena’s old bicycle. Despite all his efforts, the new bicycle did not come, Eventually, she had to be content with the old bicycle.
Due to her boyhood and old-things label, a strange kind of disharmony was being created in Reena’s mind for Meena. She used to think that she is an old Meena while using old clothes, school books, bags and even more things of her elder sister since childhood. Every member of the house was aware of this and every member used to explain it to Reena, but there is no understanding in boyhood. Poor Reena used to listen to these things from her friends and sometimes from the children of the neighborhood. There were two occasions in the year when she got new clothes, one is Deepawali and the other is Holi. For this year’s school function, Reena was adamant that she needed a new dress, but Mom was not going to listen.
Reena to Mom- I don’t know, I just need a new dress for school’s function.
Mom- My child, You have many clothes, then what is the point of buying new clothes if you cannot use them.
Reena- Mom, those clothes are not new. Meena or I have worn them sometime. I just want a new dress. Meena has a new dress.
Mom – A new dress will not be available. You can wear that yellow dress, Meena has worn it only once.
Meena to Reena – Good, you can do one thing and wear my new dress.
Reena – No need to show much mercy. Anyway, it will be not fit to me. Let it be, this is not for the first time. I will wear yellow dress.
Sometimes Reena used to think that I wish I had no elder sister but rather her elder brother, her life would have been easier. Sometimes there was dissatisfaction in the mind of Reena for one thing or the other. The only thing she was satisfied with was that she had to listen less to the housework, In this case, Meena was more liable.
Time slowly moved forward and the Kumar family began to feel that Meena was now older to be married. This year Meena is in the last year of post-graduation and Reena is in the last year of graduation. Seeing that Meena’s engagement was also fixed. Mother and both of sisters were sitting together. The engagement was to take place after two days. Preparations for the engagement were going on.
Mom- Look how nice this saree is. How good will it look on Meena.
Reena to mom- If I wear this saree.
Mom- This is not going on for your engagement.
Reena to mom- If I was elder, I would have been married earlier.
Mom – god damn. Somebody talks like this too. If you are too hurry, then marry you first.
Reena- No Mom, I was just asking like this.
Today was the day of engagement. Everybody looked fabulous in nice clothes. The atmosphere of the house was very pleasant. Only a few special guests and friends of Reena and Meena were called in the engagement. The engagement was going on. Reena said to her close friend – Look how handsome brother-in-law is there. If I were elder than Meena, I would have been Meena’s place today. How good it is, if you elder in family, then you get the first chance of everything in life. Soon Meena will get married and she will go new home, Where she has to live all her life. I still do not know how long I will have to face all this here. Friend- Yes, you can say so. But, what is reality cannot be changed. Then what to think about what is not .
Suddenly after a few days of engagement, Meena’s health deteriorated starts living. Meena was shown to many doctors undergoing all the medical tests, but everyone was of the opinion that both the kidneys of Meena have failed. She will now have to live her life always doing dialysis which is a painful and expensive process. This incident caused chaos in the whole family. With his loving daughter Meena, misfortune Basant Kumar could not think of this in his dream. Meena’s in-laws also came to know about this and they broke off the engagement also. Meena, which looked like a blooming bud just a month ago, had dried up into a thorn.
It was evening. Meena was resting on the bed in her room. Reena was in the kitchen preparing dinner. The Kumar couple were having a conversation among themselves.
Mom- God sees everything. Till yesterday the same people were sacrifice on our flower-like daughter and today they broke the engagement. Did not even come to see our daughter once.
Papa-The era is like this. What can be done in this? Then we have a daughter like such a problem. Who will support her a lifetime? It is a different matter that they say that the two families remain connected. They want to make Reena as a daughter-in-law.
Mom – What will be the future of our daughter now? If we also marry Reena then who will marry Meena.
Papa – You think about marriage. May our daughter be healthy, that’s a lot.
Mom- Did doctor not give any treatment or any way to cure it?
Papa- No, there is no cure. Either continue dialysis or have a kidney transplant. If anyone gives one kidney, both people can lead a normal life. I asked that if I or you can give one of our kidneys, but they say that we are older and it will not be good for both Meena and us.
Mom- God. What was written with us in our future?
Reena listened to everything from the kitchen. Reena was lost in her thoughts. Initially, when Meena’s health deteriorated, Reena felt a strange satisfaction. But when he came to know about the real situation of Meena, she started feeling disgusted with herself. How much she fell for her personal interests is! She remembered her childhood. She wondered how Mina has always handled her. She has always done the duty of my elder sister, but I have never fulfilled the duty of being a younger sister. I always wanted to be elder than her the lure of some personal things, but growing up does not just mean age, growing up also means greatness. As a child, when I used to suffer a lot of damage to my house, how did Mina take over responsibility? When Mom used to scold us for household work, Meena always used to do all the household work herself. When her best friend’s mobile was broken by me, she broke friendship with her forever because of me. How she always ignored my mistakes. I always misunderstood the tree under the shade of the tree. Reena comes out of the kitchen to her parents.
Mina- Papa, I have decided that I will give one of my kidneys to Meena.
Mother- My child, What are you saying? We are already worried about Meena, now you also want to get involved in this problem.
Papa- We know that you are also worried about your sister, but no decision is taken in haste.
Reena- Papa, this decision has been taken with good thinking and not my haste. Talk to doctor, I don’t want that Meena spend more days in trouble.
Papa – Meena’s life has become difficult. Why are you taking trouble in your life now?
Mother- Meena’s circumstances have become such that no one will be ready to marry her. But that boy is ready to marry you. Why are you wasting your life?
Reena- Mom, I would never like to join such a rubbish boy and family. If something happens to me tomorrow, how much will those family support me? I will spend my life with my sister but I will stay away from such a family. This is my last decision and I do not want to talk about it further.
Saying this, Reena takes food from the kitchen and goes to Meena’s room. Lovingly she puts a hand on Meena’s forehead, which opens Meena’s eyes. Reena tells Meena- Sister, Forgive me. I never took the duty of being a younger sister. Let me also say that I have done wrong to you many times. I used to hide your socks intentionally in my childhood. I was the one who tore your homework from your notebooks. Forgive me of all those mistakes.
Meena- I already knew. That was your childishness. I never accepted it as your mistakes.
After hearing this, Reena starts feeding Meena with her hands.