“There’s no way that I’m going there.” Ahana said, determined of her decision.
“Why?” Reyan asked his sister. He knew that his sister was just faking that she didn’t want to go.
” Bhaiya (Hindi word for elder brother), it’s easy for you to say. You’re a man. You can do anything you want, go anywhere you like, the society’s not going to stop you. That’s not the same for me…”
Reyan interrupted her, “Now that’s just the lamest thing you’ve ever said… Since when did you start caring about the so called samaj (Hindi word for society) ?” He couldn’t believe that his sister was not ready to live her dream because of the society.
“These things sound good only in speeches and debates. Right now, we’re discussing my life. So, I’d really appreciate it if you could just get done with the whole feminism thing…”
“Ahana this is once in a lifetime opportunity! And I won’t let you let go of this chance so easily.” Reyan was determined. He was not ready in any way to let his sister give up this opportunity and then regret it all her life.
“Why are you so determined…?”
“Ahana, do you know how many people wish that they could be in your place? Not everyone gets the chance to work for Manish Malhotra (One of the best Indian Fashion Designers https://www.manishmalhotra.in/) right after they get out of college.”
“I’ll have to go to Mumbai. Do you know how far away it is from here? I’ve never been out of Jamshedpur on my own ever! And you’re asking me to go to a completely new place, all by myself! I can’t. I just can’t.”
“But it’s your dream. Ever since you first sketched that ridiculous dress, you wanted to be a Fashion Designer. And now, India’s one of the best designers is himself recruiting you to work for him. Why are you giving up now?”
“Because I can’t. I can’t go to a completely different part of India and fulfill my dream. And you know that Mom will never agree to this anyway.”
“Well, that’s not something new, is it? Remember when Mom wanted you to major in Science but you chose Arts anyway? You both have never been on the same page. Then why do you expect her to support you this time?” This was true. Ahana and her Mom were completely opposite of each other. Their opinions never matched on anything. Reyan was like a bridge keeping his mother and her sister from breaking off completely.
“This is different…” Ahana never really cared about what her mother thought of her decisions. But this was something really huge. Her decision would change all their lives and possibly, her relationship with her mother.
“Actually, it’s not that different. Ahana, you know that if you let this chance go, you’ll regret it your whole life.” Reyan kept on trying to convince her.
“But if Mom overreacts and doesn’t approve…”
“She’ll approve. I’ll talk to her.” Reyan was always able to convince his mother for almost anything.
“And what about Dad?”
“He already thinks you should go.”
“And what about the fact that I’ll be in a completely new place with strangers?”
“Well, take it as the first day of your college, as a chance to prove yourself.”
“What if I don’t like it there?”
“Then you can always come back home here.”
“What if the people there are not nice?”
Reyan knew that Ahana’s do-not-go list was never ending. He said, “Well then, sprinkle some Ahana fairy dust on them and they’ll be just fine. But if your special fairy dust doesn’t works, then just give me a call. They’ll be nice enough once I get through with them.”
Ahana couldn’t think of any other problem. “You’re the best!” She threw herself in his brother’s arms and he held her tight. She couldn’t feel more proud of her brother…
Reyan noticed Ahana’s eyes glistening from tears. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“For?” He took her face in his hands while he waited for her to reply.
“For never giving up on me.”
“I’ll never give up on you sis…” He wiped her tears away and continued, “so, don’t you ever dare give up on yourself.” And he hugged her again.
Out of the blue, she punched him hard on his chest and moved away.
Reyan gasped from the sudden attack from his ally in all his pranks. “Hey! What was that for?”
“That first dress that I designed WAS NOT ridiculous.”
He chuckled at his feisty little sister and rolled his eyes, “Sure… well, we need a plan to convince Mom about you going.”
“Yeah, true. But you’ll do all the talking.”
“Will do. Now come on. This moment calls for a celebration.”
“Uh-huh. How are we going to celebrate?”
“No idea,” and they both shared a laugh.
Ahana and Reyan were a team. As long as they were together, they knew that they can do anything, even take on the world. That’s what siblings do for each other, right? Stand up for each other even when we forget to stand up for ourselves.
A Year Later
Reyan’s phone ringed for the 3rd time when he picked up the phone. “Hey little sis, what’s up?”
“I hate to say this, but you were right. Mumbai is not that different from Jamshedpur after all,” Ahana said.
“I’m always right. I’m the great Chanakya” (Chanakya was an Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and royal advisor. Chanakya assisted the first Mauryan emperor Chandragupta in his rise to power. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both emperors Chandragupta and his son Bindusara), Reyan said with delight. He was really happy that Ahana was finally starting to get adjusted to the new city.
“Yeah sure. You know this place always looked so perfect and glamorous but behind all that glamour… this place is not that…”
“Scary?” Reyan interrupted her.
“Hey I was never scared…”
“Sure,” Reyan interrupted her again and continued, “Just how you were never scared of those monsters under your bed.”
“There were no monsters.”
“But you thought that there were and you were scared of them.”
“…I was scared of something which was never there…” Ahana accepted sheepishly.
“Yup, just like how you were scared of this new place when actually; there was nothing to be scared of. All that glamour and the city lights are there just to make you feel like an outsider, but actually, none of it is worth being scared of,” Reyan said trying to make her see how pointless the fears that she initially had were.
“Right Chanakya Ji,” Ahana said with a chuckle.
Reyan understood that his sister was no longer that scared little girl who wouldn’t go anywhere without her brother. His sister was brave enough to face the world now.