29 November

Pink Ponytail brought down his left leg from far, far above his head and pranced up to me. He looked shiny and glossy and PINK with all the sweat pouring down his face. I, on the other hand, reflected endlessly in the large, studio mirrors as a frump, in crumpled black and white sari and frizzy, rickshaw-blown hair, a bit like yesterday’s newspaper that had been used to wrap up oily onion bhajias.

Me: “Etcetra? I’m her sister.”

Pink Ponytail: “Oh, she’s gone out shopping with Sir.”

Lithe Gamin sniggered across the studio, despite the full scissor split she was executing without so much as a groan. Pink Ponytail turned and gave her a warning Look.

I wondered. Did she snigger at:

1. The thought of me being Etcetra’s sister?

Or was she sniggering about:

2. Etcetra going out shopping with Sir?

But why should she snigger about that?

I mumbled thanks, and turned. I could feel Pink Ponytail and Lithe Gamin staring at my back.

While I was studying at Law College, I would often come to pick Etcetra up at the dance studio during lunch break or after class. And wait for her while she finished her practice. I felt happy watching her dance. She too would be happy to see me, anticipating a junk food treat for lunch or tea in a cafe, instead of the healthy tiffin box packed by Ogre.

But since I began work at Neem, I don’t often get the time to meet Etcetra at the studio. And now I find suddenly that I no longer know any of her dance mates, or what she is up to with her Sir.

Is she up to anything with her Sir? But she has been learning at Sir’s dance studio since she was a child.

I had planned to take Etcetra out for a fancy lunch. But I did not feel hungry any more.

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