This morning, my cousin Sonya told me about the gym class she attends at high school. Her family is staying with us on their annual trip from the US. Gosh! Imagine a full hour of doing something so physically challenging. The idea of being able to swing from ropes is so exciting. I bet it’s just like flying.
All I get to do in my school is P.T. with Sister Maureen.
Just to tease me she did a few cartwheels around the room. Incredible. I had no idea real people could turn head-over-heels. Know what I mean? I thought this happened only in the movies or in the circus. Of course, I had to try to it. And that is how ma caught us: me standing upside down on the bed, with Sonya holding onto my legs trying to show me how to balance. My frock was around my ears, legs waving in the air. You can guess what happened next…!
Ma walked up to me and pulled the frock down over my legs. I promptly lost my balance and fell; almost spraining my neck in the bargain, not that she noticed it of course. She was too busy having the usual tantrum; the usual words you know? “Don’t you know you have to make sure your frock covers your legs at all times? Its okay for Sonya, she lives in the US. You live here in India, so learn how to behave… blah, blah.”
So, was living outside the country permission to do as you pleased, and not worry about fitting it or what people had to say? Is that what I had to do, to follow my heart? Leave the country?
Well the other amazing thing Sonya told me was how she would go running in the morning sometimes. Her path took her past a lake not far from her house, passing by a forest on the way. Imagine, a real lake? I wonder if I will ever see one. Or be able to simply walk across to one. You know, like a normal everyday occurrence: like walking to the corner shop to buy my bourbon biscuits? That’s my daily ritual every afternoon after school. After finishing my lunch I am still so hungry, that I have to go to the shops, buy my favorite biscuits and finish off the pack. Only then does that craving inside me subside somewhat; at least for a couple of hours. Dad tells me its because I am growing very fast.
I think it’s because I like to eat.
The best thing about Sonya’s company, though are the books she brings with her. My favourite is: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I love it. I wish I could be Margaret, and be part of a secret club; and have a cool friend like Nancy with whom I could share all my secrets.
It’s only after reading Margaret I realized it was actually okay to grow breasts. Hmm! I am still coming around to that idea. I do wonder if I will ever have a boyfriend, like Margaret does. Do I have to move to another country to kiss a boy?
Sonya had to leave and go back to her high school life. I hid the book though, and now Margaret is all mine to enjoy.
Atleast, I am not the only one who is trying to grow up.
Ruby Iyer, the novel is out November. Meanwhile, stay tuned for an occasional, sneak peak into Ruby’s innermost thoughts, as we raid her diary to take you inside the mind of this brash, bold, new heroine from Bombay. Sign up here to find out about the book release. Follow @RubyIyer on twitter.