“I Will Stand By My Sister No Matter What!”

Posted: May 23, 2019

Don’t you know her husband is a rich and influential man? Have you forgotten how he had helped me in my business? Do you know what he can do if you go against him and support his wife?

In 2019 our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month gets bigger and better (find out how here) and also takes the cue from the words of women who inspire with their poetry.

The writing cue for May 2019 is these lines from Victorian poet Christina Rossetti from her most famous poem Goblin Market.
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

The fifth winner of our May 2019 Muse of the Month contest is Manideepa Lahiri.

“I Will Stand By My Sister No Matter What!”

Bhumika looked around her apprehensively. The place was crowded with people from all strata of society. Those in black coats must be the lawyers, she thought. It was the first time that she had come to a court and felt quite out of place.

As she glanced at her watch, she thought about those long hours of struggle with herself. It had taken all her willpower to defy her husband and come here.

But where was Arpita? She was waiting exactly where she had been asked to. ‘Arpita, please come fast before my newly acquired courage deserts me’, she prayed fervently.

Suddenly the familiar figure of the tall, lithe woman coming her way caught her attention. Heads turned to look at the attractive woman  walking confidently down the long corridor.

Bhumika sighed with relief. As she studied the approaching form of her sister from a distance, a wry smile touched her lips. Yes sisters they were! At first glance, people never believed them because they were as different from each other as chalk and cheese.

Arpita was everything that Bhumika was not. Bhumika was short and fat with small eyes. She was shy, soft spoken and an emotionally sensitive person. She hated conflicts of any kind and hence mostly lost herself in the world of books to avoid social contact.

Along with being gorgeous, Arpita was gregarious and uninhibited. She was outspoken and a social butterfly. Though they were of the same age, it was Arpita who always took it upon her shoulders to watch out for Bhumika.

Bits and pieces from the past flashed through her mind. Arpita encouraging her to participate in the dance event at school. Arpita thrashing one of the boys in college who had been trying to bully her. Arpita waiting outside the office during her first job interview. Arpita trying to put up a smiling face during her ‘bidai’ and failing miserably at it.

Even now when Arpita was going through the darkest phase of her life, it was Bhumika who felt unsure and nervous. Her sister on the other hand looked unperturbed and determined.

A deep sadness filled her heart as she thought about Arpita. The ever smiling girl deserved a better life. Her only mistake was that she had fallen for the wrong man. The once rosy marriage had turned violently abusive and Arpita had finally decided to call it quits. Today was the first day of her sister’s divorce case.

Arpita’s voice brought her back to the present.

“I knew you would come. Even hard ones like me sometimes need pampering and a shoulder to cry on!”

Although Arpita joked , the pain behind her laughter didn’t escape Bhumika.

” I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t come.” Bhumika replied slowly.

“What about Vinay? Does he know?” Arpita frowned.

Bhumika shook her head. “No but I am sure he’ll understand.”

Vinay chose exactly that moment to call his wife. Bhumika hid her apprehension and answered the call.

“Where are you?” Vinay asked in a deadly calm voice. He didn’t believe in beating around the bush.

“I… I told you. I have come to the court.” Bhumika’s voice shook.

“I asked you not to and still you went there? How many times have I asked you not to get entangled in Arpita’s affairs? Don’t you know her husband is a rich and influential man? Have you forgotten how he had helped me in my business? Do you know what he can do if you go against him and support his wife? He will ruin my business!” Vinay shouted at her.

Bhumika felt beads of perspiration on her forehead. Arpita was watching her sister mutely.

“Vinay please try to understand. I am all that she has got now. She is my sister after all.”

“Step sister damn it!” Vinay was literally hollering at her now.

The word ‘Step sister’ did it! Rage unlike any she had ever felt boiled up inside her.

“How dare you call her my step sister! She is more than a sister to me.We may not be related by blood. But a higher power has connected us through love! I will stand by my sister no matter what! Do you understand that?” Bhumika shouted back at her husband.

Feeling herself incapable of further speech, she quickly disconnected the call.

Arpita looked at her sister’s expression and quietly sat her down on the nearby bench. Bhumika was still seething with anger. She had always bowed down to Vinay’s wishes and whims. Her meek nature had made her husband all the more aggressive and dominant towards her. But she could no longer remain silent.

Bhumika was only 12 years old when her mother married Arpita’s father. Arpita had inherited her cheerful demeanor from her father. It hadn’t taken long for shy little Bhumika to fall in love with her step father. Arpita too had found her lost mother in the form of her step mother. Her parents had never differentiated between them which had only strengthened their sisterly bond.

Few years back the sisters had lost their parents. Now they had only each other to fall back on. Bhumika felt tears falling down her cheeks. Arpita hugged her.

Bhumika suddenly remembered those forgotten lines from her favourite poet Christina Rossetti.

“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Manideepa Lahiri wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations! 

Image source: YouTube

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