Meerha barged into her brother's room and ignored his continuous reminders to knock the door before entering. "Hey what do you think you are doing. Aren't you supposed to knock" he said and hastily opened the top drawer of his study table to put something in.
"Guess what..!! I am finally going there". Meerha's eyes danced with joy when she said this.
"Whaaaattt...", Mrigank got up from his seat and hugged her tight. "Are you serious..!!"
"Oh my god!. I can't believe this is happening to me.I am finally going to Australia" she said and instantaneously she was lost in her dream. She imagined herself in Sydney standing on the Harbour Bridge watching the sun vanish into the horizon. She saw herself lying on Bondi beach getting a tan. The spectacular view of the Blue mountain would take her breath away and she would never want to come back.
"Have you told mom?", Mrigank said breaking the silence that was created and bringing her back in the present. She realised that neither of them had uttered a word for two minutes while her mind was taking a tour of Australia.
"I have no idea how am I going to do that."
"Hmmm" he said and then there was again silence.
"You ought to help me Mrigank. You know what this means to me."
Hearing Meerha call him 'Mrigank', gave him a fair idea how serious she was. She would never call him anything but Mrigu. He knew that her sister would not let this go so easily. He had to do something.
Everyone was eating silently. They could not imagine that Meerha would do such a thing. Her mom was so furious that she left the dinner on the dining table in the middle of the talk Mrigank could see the anger in her eyes. Or maybe it was sorrow. No anger. Sorrow. Anger. Whatever it was, it definitely did bother her. Meerha just looked at her dad expecting that he would say something, expecting that he would console her like the way he did when she was a kid. She just wanted somebody to hug her. The silence was killing her.
"Dad, please say something" she tried to look into her father's eyes who turned away at her glance.
"Meerha, It was least expected from you." her dad said and neatly placed the spoon on the empty plate in front of him. He rose from his chair and started to go. "I cannot do anything", he added.
After his sister left from his room, Mrigank sat on the corner of his bed and thought about what he would tell his mom. He remembered the day when Meerha made him promise that he would not utter a word about this to anyone. He tried to convince her that what she was doing was wrong. She couldn't just pack her bags and go after her boyfriend of 2 years who was now in Australia. Mom would never agree. And he also knew that she was looking for a match for Meerha who had absolutely no clue about their mom's intention. But now it was going out of his hands. He had to tell her. He didnt want Meerha to go. She couldn't. He would not let her.
He came out of his room and walked towards Meerha who was standing in passage near the stairs. The sight of Meerha looking so cheerful stopped him from going any further. He loved his sister. He wanted her to be happy. He reluctantly shoved away the thought and startede walking towards her.
"Listen Meerha, he said, "What you are doing is really wrong. I am going to tell mom"
"You are kidding, right?" she gave him a questioning look.
"No, I am serious. I am very serious. I can't let you do this. Sahil is a nice guy but that does not mean that you would leave your family and go live with him when you know that even he has not established himself there. How will you survive." He looked at her sulking face and tried to explain, "Meerha, its just been 10 months since he started working there. You are really out of your mind. Or maybe I am an idiot that I didn't stop you in the very beginning"
"Mrigu, I need to tell you something but please don't mention anything to mom or dad. Plea..." she stopped in between when she heard her mom call out from the kitchen.
"Mrigank, Meerha. Come down. Dinner is ready"
Both of them descended from the stairs when they heard her voice. Meerha nudged him with an elbow and gave him a pleading look asking him not to tell anything to anybody. He ignored.
The moment they all sat on the dining table, Mrigank began, "Mom Dad, ummm, Meerha is going to Australia."
Both the parents looked at each other, then at Mrigank and finally at Meerha. "What do you mean she is going? Don't trouble you sister. You have grown up now and stop pulling her leg", she said laughingly and expected her daughter to shout at her brother for teasing her like they always did when they were kids. When neither of them said anything, she figured that something was wrong. She looked at her husband who seemed puzzled himself.
"I demand to know everything", their mom said.
After a mnute of silence, she said "Mom, I am going to australia in 2 weeks time. I am sorry for hiding this all the while but I couldnt ...."
"Stop. I dont want to hear anything. I will not take any excuses" She looked at her husband yet again expecting him to say something this time atleast but he seemed least bothered. She ignored him and looked at Meerha. "If you have decided that you want to go and you didn't even bother to take our permission then we wont stop you. You are free to go and nobody would stop you. Nobody.." Saying this she roughly pushed her chair back and left without saying anything.
"Why was everyone behaving like this. This is not how I wanted the things to be like. No. This is not done.", she said to herself when she was all alone in her room. "I am not going to talk to anybody now. I will not tell them anything. My mom, my dad and even my bro does not understand me. They didn't even give me an opportunity to explain." She decided that she would not talk to anybody and would leave in two weeks. "They will miss me when I am gone. They surely will.."
Two weeks passed and it was time for Meerha to go. The days in between were miserable for everybody at home. The house was always filled with silence. She needed her parent's help but she did not approach them. Nor did they. Her ego was big enough for everybody. She knew she was right. She wasn't going there for Sahil. Not 'just' Sahil atleast. But how could she tell anybody. Mrigank too had not given her a chance to tell him why she was going. She wanted to tell him but he acted too brotherly.
She was about to leave. She wanted to hug her mom before going but maybe her mom was too angry at her that she went to sleep when it was time for her daughter to leave. She searched the house for her dad and found him sitting in his favourite room in the house, the library. She gave him a quick hug. A tear ran down her cheek. She promised herself that she wouldn't get weak. It was time to be strong. It was time to go ahead.
"Bye dad. Please take care of mom. And dont worry about me. I'll be fine." She could sense more tears bursting out of her eyes and before they could come out she started walking away. She heard her dad telling her to take good care of herself but she didn't want to turn back. Meerha went straight to her mom's room where she was sleeping and planted a small kiss on her cheek. She took out an envelope from her handbag and kept it on the table beside her mother. Everything would be okay when her mom would see this. She was positive about it. She looked at her mom one last time and ran out of the room, grabbed her 2 suitcases and rushed out of the house. She wanted to meet her darling Mrigu but even he had ignored her. She went and sat in the cab that she had called to take her to the airport. Her mind went back to envelope that she had left in her mom's room. She let out a small laugh and couldn't help but wonder what her mother's reaction would be when she saw the copy of full scholarship which the University of Sydney had offered her for an MBA...