She sprung off the settee and squealed with joy, ‘Salwa. It will be Salwa!’
‘What will be Salwa? Who is she, Saki?’ her sister maintained her still pose with only her lips moving.
‘Salwa will be the name of my protagonist; a beautiful, petite girl with doll face and deer eyes,’ she swirled around twice in excitement.
‘Such a Bollywood character! I even know the end of your story; she weds her McDreamy while their families dance in the background and some unknown guy band joins in as well,’ reacted her ultra-sarcastic, softie from the inside sister.
‘See that is why I will not be a conventional story teller,’ Saki sounded over confident and this was another opportunity for Muniza to be a snide.
Their room echoed with her laugh, ‘Conventional? How many of your stories have been published? Let me count,’ counting on her fingers, ‘None.’ Saki rolled her eyes, ‘That is because I was writing the same kind of stories everyone writes.’
‘What will be different about this one?’
‘Salwa is an actual girl. I will write the kind of happy ending she actually had.’
‘I have never heard that name before. From where do you know her?’
‘She was a low-profiler back in school.’
‘Do you think you can contact her eleven years after school just like that?’
‘Facebook, dear,’ Saki sounded over confident again, but Muni couldn’t care less because she knew it was a failed project.
‘Good luck with that!’
‘You have been doing it for me for years. What’s different about today?’ Saki pleaded Muni, ‘Please,’ she begged her.
‘This is ridiculous. When are you going to act like a normal twenty seven year old woman?’
‘I have work. Please, just this one time get my stuff too. You are going to bazaar anyway,’ she argued.
‘Fine, this should really be the last time. I am done.’
Saki thanked her a million times in one breath. Despite being the older one, Saki avoided responsibility as much as possible, even finding opportunities to evade responsibility of taking care of herself. Muni may be a snide one, but cared for everyone in the house and was a magnet to responsibilities.
The bazaar echoed with vendors hawking their wares and buyers bargaining for the best price. Muni was bargaining with the vegetable seller who usually puts in rotten items in her shopping bag.
‘Are you sure you are not selling gold? Who sells five kilos of tomatoes for a thousand rupees?’
‘Baji, I have seven people to feed.’
‘Why did you have so many kids when you couldn’t afford them?’ she snapped back at him while seizing the bag of tomatoes from him. Ami ji had taught Muni the art of identifying the juiciest of the fruits and vegetables. It worked to her advantage given that Rashidi Sahib is very particular about the taste of his food.