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by Vasantha Valli, India


It’s in the middle of Hyderabad. It’s a playground where everyone can her the noise of children, as it is summer and they have holidays. Children are playing very enthusiastically. But there are two girls, who are sitting with a very dull face, not interested to play with others.

“I’m very bored.” Frowned Archana. “I hate it in here. I don’t know why our mothers got us here. I want to play Sonik and Malik with you Archana.” Gauri said. Archana nodded. It was their plan initially.

Archana Akula,14 and Gauri Shastri,15 are the inseparable best friends. They love spending time with each other. Archana is a year younger to Gauri. They’re like soul sisters. They love reading, watching TV, listening to the radio, dance and play Sonik and Malik. It’s a game they created watching a soap opera their mothers watch. Sonik and Malik are brothers in that. Archana has an elder brother, Shiva and a younger sister Vaishnavi. Gauri has a younger brother, Vishnu.

“Girls are you ready?” The mothers, Kalyani and Sarada called their daughters. Kalyani is Gauri’s mother and Sarada is Archana’s mother. Kalyani is a stay at home mum and Sarada is a hindi professor at a reputed university. The girls got ready in their school uniform and came out, carrying their school backpacks. They sat for breakfast. It was idly and uthappam with the ultimate peanut chutney and sambar made by Gauri’s mother. ‘Yay! Its my favourite breakfast.” Archana shouted, throwing her hands in the air. “I hate idly!” Gauri frowned. “I know silly girl. But today, this is today’s breakfast. You have to eat.” Kalyani said.

Meanwhile, the girls finished their breakfast and they went away to school, WISDOM EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. They study in the same school.

“I passed!” Gauri ran towards Archana, pulling her into a hug. “Congratulations.” Archana hugged her back. “Its my turn now. I need to pass the SSC board.”
Rolling their eyes, they started playing their favourite game. After that other friends and siblings joined them for a cricket match.

Gauri joined the college enrolling into commerce. After a year, Archana joined her, enrolling into mathematics. Gauri was always into arts. She loved writing, cooking, dancing. Archana was into sports. She loved playing badminton and competing with others. She also loved dance. She was training for kuchipudi. Gauri went for a few months and stopped because of her own reasons.

Gauri had a huge crush on Shiva, Archana’s brother. He was charming and handsome. He was her brother’s best friend. Archana knew this and always wanted them to hookup and get married. Archana’s mother also wanted that as Gauri was an outgoing and a people pleaser. But Shiva just saw her as a friend.

Years passed, its 1990. They never left each other and stayed through thick and thin. Now Archana is 24 and Gauri is 25. One day, they are returning from their favourite Falguni Pathak’s concert. “You guys leave. We’ll manage.” Gauri said to Vaishnavi as their car got stopped in the middle. It was the era of Landline phones. Vaishnavi, Vishnu and Archana went home already. Shiva and Gauri were left behind. Archana wontedly did that.

“I can’t believe our car got stopped.” Shiva hissed in anger. “It’s okay Shiva. We will manage. There is a bus stand near by. Let’s take a bus and go home. I’ll ask Vishnu to pick the car up.” Gauri smiled. Shiva nodded. They started walking to the bus stand, talking something random. Suddenly, it started raining. They ran to the nearby shelter. They were really wet by the time they reached. “I’m so cold.” Gauri shivered. Shiva saw her and chuckled and for the first time he found her beautiful. It was love at first sight. He found a slight blush forming on his cheeks. He tried to hide it, but he couldn’t. ‘She’s beautiful in a way I never thought. He thought to himself. She was squeezing her dupatta to drain off the excess water from it.

She was wearing a white churidar with a loose white churidar pant and a red banarasi dupatta to go with it. She had a wavy long hair. She left her hair. She looked like his favourite actress, Amala Akkineni. Shiva adored Gauri. That moment was a priceless one for him. He instantly knew that she was the one for him.

He was wet too. He was shaking his head and drying off the excess water from his hair. She looked at him and blushed, thinking of her imaginative future with him. She always wanted to spend the life with him. He was wearing a yellow gap hoodie and a white t-shirt underneath it. He paired that with blue jeans. She smiled, adoring him. He looked like her favourite actor, Shahrukh Khan. ‘Please spend the entire life with me.’ She thought to herself.

Suddenly the thunder rumbled and she hugged Shiva, trembling. That was the moment. They hugged each other tightly like they would slip away from each other.

Next morning, they woke up beside each other, embarrassed by the incident happened last night. They went home without speaking to each other.

They finally reached home. “Where were you guys all night? We were very tensed searching for you all the town.” Archana hugged her brother and her best friend. “I and Archana akka were out all night akka. Where were you and Shiva anna? Amma and papa didn’t sleep all night. Amma was crying. Even Sarada aunty and Srinivas uncle were tensed. Uncle even sent out his constables to search for you.” Vishnu scrunched his eyebrows, speaking in a serious tone. Gauri and Shiva didn’t speak a word and left to their homes.

“Something is wrong.” Vaishnavi sensed it. Archana and Vishnu nodded. “I’ll ask Gauri and you ask anna.” Archana said. Vishnu nodded.

After a while, Archana nodded Gauri’s bedroom door. It was opened, but Gauri was in a deep thought. Archana nodded to break that trance. “Someone is very moody today. What’s the matter?” Archana asked, settling down beside Gauri. “No. Nothing like that.” Gauri denied. “I know you darling. You are lost. Did my brother do anything? I’ll kill him if he does that.” Archana laughed. Gauri shook her head, blushing slightly. Archana noticed it. “Did you guys have sex?”

Gauri widened her eyes, running to the door and closing it. Archana knew it. She always reads Gauri. “Yes!” Gauri nodded, blushing. “What? Tell me about it.” Archana now became interested in the conversation. She made herself comfortable crossing her legs and snatching a pillow beside her.

Gauri told everything that happened last night. Archana is in cloud nine. “You will get married to my brother and be my vadhina!” She danced sitting. Gauri blushed. “He also said that he loves me.” Gauri blushed. “What? Are you serious?” Now Archana is even more elated. “Yes.” Gauri nodded, blushing. “Aww, look at you! You are like a tomato.” Archana teased her best friend. “Stop it Ambi.” Gauri laughed.

After a month, Shiva and Gauri made their relationship official and the families became very happy. Especially Sarada was euphoric to make Gauri as her daughter in law. She welcomed her very warmly. She called all of her relatives and boasted about Gauri.

They got married in a span of thirteen days. They got engaged on the thirteenth of February and got married on the twenty sixth of the same month.

“I’m so happy that my best friend became my vadina.” Archana hugged her sister in law. “I know. I am so happy that I married the man of my dreams. He is the best.” Gauri said. “If you are done talking, please leave my wife alone. I need to spend some time with her. You can talk to her when I leave for office. You have whole life.” Shiva rolled his eyes. Archana rolled her eyes, smacking her brother on his arm playfully. She left from there.

After two years, Archana got married to Shiva’s best friend, Agastya Naidu. Gauri and Archana got pregnant at the same time and gave birth to two beautiful baby girls. They named them Veda and Laya. Veda is Gauri’s daughter and Laya is Archana’s daughter.

They were joined in the same school. Veda and Laya are opposite to their mothers. They hate each other. They’re arch nemesis.

Veda grew up to be a ruthless girl who has a world of her own and loves to torture Laya. She has a gang of three girls, Navya, Diya and Arya, who are like her minions. They hate Laya and her group of friends too. They help Veda in her plans.     

Laya, on the other hand, is a soft spoken, but self respected girl. Her actions are consequences for Veda’s behaviour. She’s a well behaved girl. Her friends, Radha, Ruhi and Sachi are her motivators and supporters. They’re a group of girls who are good at everything. They support when it is right and oppose the wrong.

Veda and Laya hate that they celebrate the same birthday. They’re born on the same day. They always cut two cakes as Veda always makes a scene about anything and ruins the day. Laya, on the other hand compromises and lets Veda win always. Veda thinks that its her greatness that makes her win.

Its their fifteenth birthday and they’re very excited. Veda got ready in a sleeveless knee length gold colour dress. She styled her shoulder length hair in curls. She paired the dress with pointed heels. Laya on the other hand got ready in a green and blue anarkali dress. She braided her hair and was very excited.

“Everything is ready girls. You can come.” Archana called the kids. “Thank you so much amma for this. Thank you Attha.” Laya smiled. Veda is burning in anger. “I hate this decoration. I hate this day.” She hissed. She ran from there. “Veda wait.”  Navya shouted, running behind her following by Diya and Arya. “I can’t change this girl’s mindset.” Gauri rolled her eyes, catching her head. “Its okay attha. I’ll call her. I’m sure she’ll be okay.” Laya comforted her aunt. Gauri nodded. “Make sure that you girls don’t fight again.”

Laya nodded, smiling and walking away from there. Her friends are helping her mother and aunt in the preparations. Laya knocked Veda’s bedroom door. Its closed. Veda is sitting on the bed, fuming with anger. Her friends are comforting her. “Who’s it?” She shouted. “Veda, please open the door. Shiva mama is calling you.” Laya shouted back, smirking wide. “Papa is calling me?” Veda immediately rose from her bed, opening the door. She ran to the birthday venue. “Did you call me papa?”

Shiva saw Laya once and he understood. “Yes. Where are you? Everyone is waiting for you. Its not good to be in your room when its your own birthday.”

“Its not my ‘own’ birthday. I need to share it with that girl!” She rolled her eyes. “Its okay Veda. Its your day. You enjoy. We’ll cut different cakes one after the other. Is that okay for you?” Laya asked. “More than fine.” Veda rolled her eyes. She snatched her friends, and went aside. “See, that’s Veda.” She smirked. “Of course. You are the best.” Arya said. “Laya got scared to steal your limelight.” Diya said. “You’re a diva, Veda. Laya is your servant.” Navya chuckled. “Veda, its time for the cake cutting.” Archana called. Veda ran to cut the cake. She had a blast. After her, Laya too cut the cake. It was Sunday, so they decided to distribute chocolates on Monday in their school.

Next day in school, Veda and Laya are classmates too. They are not allowed to wear colour dresses on their birthday. Their school uniform is a white shirt and a navy blue skirt paired with their group colour tie and a red belt with two plaits. Their friends said that its their birthday to the teacher. Everyone sang the birthday song. Veda didn’t like sharing the birthday stage with Laya. But Laya was okay with it. They distributed the chocolates to the teacher and their classmates. They went to other classes to distribute the chocolates. Veda with Sachi, Laya with Radha. Veda always went to the opposite class to which Laya went. She hates her truly and deeply.

In the lunch break, “I hate this day.” Veda hissed, stomping her leg on the ground. “I hate seeing her happy. I hate the fact that our birthdays are on the same day. See how she’s laughing. I wonder what attha made for her in the tiffin today.”

Laya was happily laughing with her friends and enjoying her favourite chicken egg noodles and chicken manchurian. Her mother made for her. Veda ate egg biryani, her favourite, concentrating on Laya and her happiness. “I want to ruin her happiness.” Veda smirked.

After they finished their lunch, Veda, with her friends, went to their class. No one was there in the class. Laya came with her friends, talking some random stuff. “Hey, wait.” Veda stared at Laya. “What?” Laya snapped at her. “I want you to entertain us. Or else I will ruin your reputation by saying that you like both girls and boys. Everyone will laugh at you and make fun of you. No one will like you then.” Veda smirked. It’s a lie. Laya got petrified. She didn’t want anyone to hate her. She’s like her aunt, Gauri. She’s a people pleaser. She is into arts. She is learning dance, western as well as classical. She started dancing. Veda and her friends enjoyed her dance, making fun of her and commenting her.

“Look at her. She has no sync and she isn’t dancing properly.”

“Look at her legs, they’re shaking badly.”

“Look at her thighs, they’re wiggling like a baby elephant’s legs.”

Now Laya got shattered. She didn’t bear all those stupid comments. She started crying and ran away from there, followed by her friends.

“Shh… its okay. They’re a cheap bunch of idiots.” Radha consoled her friend. “Laya, you are an amazing dancer. They are blind.” Sachi rubbed her back. “Don’t cry Laya. You are not at all fat. We’ll teach them a lesson.” Ruhi said, rubbing Laya’s hand. “Ruhi, I have an amazing plan.” Laya smirked, wiping her tears.
That evening, it was their P.E.T period. They’re playing hockey for inter-school competitions. According to Laya’s plan, Ruhi started playing football in Veda’s team. Ruhi and Veda are center-forwards in the team. Ruhi passed the ball to Veda with a force that she had an ankle twist. Laya smirked seeing Veda. But she was concerned inside. She always liked Veda as a sister.

Veda was asked to rest for a week. She had a tough weak healing. She wanted to see Ruhi’s end, but after a long thought, she convinced herself that its her mistake not to see the ball and concentrating on Laya.

Next week, all fresh and healed Veda returned to school. That day there was an announcement that the school is taking the students on a picnic for a day. Everyone went home with excitement. Veda made a list of things and snacks she’ll pack for the picnic. Laya too did the same.

Next day, the students are ready for the picnic. Veda wore a white sleeveless top with dark peach horizontal stripes on it and a dark peach plain palazzo pant to go with it. She styled her with hair straightened and sunglasses with wedges. Laya on the other hand, wore a casual plain half sleeves white maxi dress and left her long hair. She wore cut shoes to go with the dress. Everyone looked very excited. They started for the resort. Laya danced in the bus with her friends. Veda spoke to her friends about a boy she has a crush on. He was on the bus too. He danced with Laya and Veda couldn’t bear it.

After they reached the resort, some of the girls landed in the swimming pool while some enjoyed the shower dance. Some went to play indoor games and some outdoor games. Everyone had a blast. In the lunch, when Veda got her plate of food, she accidentally bumped into Laya. “Hey! Watch it!” Laya became serious. “Look who’s talking. Why did you bump into me? It was your mistake. Not mine.” Veda became even more serious. “You are a cheap and fake person. You can’t handle others. You hate us. Look how fat you are, baby elephant. What’s your weight? 50 kgs? I am 45. Very thin and beautiful. You are a fatso. Did you even see yourself in the mirror? I bet you will vomit by seeing that cockroach face of yours. That dress you are wearing barely fits you. No one likes you. Everyone hates you. Even your friends are nerds. That’s why they’re with a looser like you. You are not even good at sports. You are not even good at dance. You are not even good at anything except you study hard and that’s not getting you anywhere. You are a coward. You can’t even beat me in anything. Even…” Before she finishes, she got a tight slap from her class teacher. “Mind your words Veda. I’m going to call your parents and talk. Ask your mother to come and meet me tomorrow. You’re going to have a very long day.”

Veda is shocked, petrified and she’s trembling now. “You didn’t do anything wrong Veda. Its okay.” Navya convinced her. “Your mother will understand that you hate Laya and how bad she is.” Diya said. “We are there with you Veda.” Arya consoled. “Amma will not bear me this time. She always scolds me for what I do to Laya. She never understands me. I know she and attha are very good friends from their childhood. But she shouldn’t force me to become like them. Even papa does that. Agastya mama too does that.” Veda cried. “It’s okay Veda. Everything will be alright. Aunty will not scold you.” Arya said. Veda cried even more harder. “That idiot ruined my day. I will see her end.”

Next day, Gauri and Shiva came to the school. Veda and Laya were called. Their teacher said everything that happened in the picnic to Veda’s parents. “Veda come home. You have a long day. You’ll know my real character now.” Gauri saw her daughter furiously. “You’re grounded for a month Veda.” Shiva yelled at his daughter. “Amma, papa, please listen to me. Its not like that.” Veda pleaded. “What do you want to say? Lies? I saw everything as your childishness and excused it every time. This time I won’t.” Shiva fumed in anger. “Papa, please.” Veda cried. Gauri and Shiva left from there.

“Time to implement the plan.”Laya whispered to Radha. They printed some posters of Veda.

Veda is a bisexual. She hid it from the society. To hide that insecurity, she bullies Laya who is straight and beautiful than her.

“Don’t you think the plan is very brutal?” Sachi said, walking with the pamphlets. “What she did to me is very brutal compared to this Sachi. She thinks that she is clever than me. I need to show what it is like when anyone does like this.” Laya said. “Deep down, I too know that this is not good. But she needs to learn a lesson girls. Come on lets not waste the time.”

They stuck the posters all over the school when its class time. They wontedly came out to washroom and did this.

The poster says: Veda Sri Akula is a bisexual.

In the lunch break, everyone came out to find these posters. Everyone started talking bad about Veda. Laya was concerned deep inside, but she knew that she deserved this kind of treatment. Veda came out trembling about what her parents said to her. She saw the posters and widened her eyes with shock and surprise. “Who did this?” She yelled at the top of her voice, tears streaming down her cheeks. She ran to the washroom, bolted the door in a cabin and started crying very hardly. She thought that her friends will come running at the back of her. But she is wrong. They didn’t come. They left her hanging in there. They didn’t want a girl like that to be their friend. After a long time in the washroom cabin, she came out. Her friends saw her like a criminal. Everyone saw her like an alien from another planet.

Veda went home. It was surely a long day for her. Bad day in her life. “Stop there Veda.” Gauri ordered. “Amma please. Leave me alone.” Veda said in a dull tone. “What your father did was very nice. You are grounded for a month. You are just going to school, coming home and directly going to your room. You will be offered your dinner and snacks in your room only starting from now. You are not going to Navya, Diya and Arya’s houses too. They’re not coming to meet you. Even if they did, I’ll make sure that they’ll go back.” Gauri said.

Next day, Veda woke up with a high fever. That fever lasted for 4 days and she got depressed for a month. She didn’t even go to school. The school called their parents and they said that she’s not well always.

After a month, she finally went back to school. The school is not normal as always. Her friends didn’t welcome her, neither Laya and her group too. She felt very lonely. She spent most of the time at the washroom cabins. No one wanted to be her friend. She sat alone in the lunch break and ate her own food. No one wanted to share their food with her. Back home, she pretended that everything is normal. Her grades started decreasing. She had to re-write the exams and get scoldings from her parents. Veda’s life became vulnerable.

Laya was pretending to be happy. She was very sad for Veda. She badly wanted someone to be there for her. She wanted to be there for her. She knew that Veda has learnt her lesson: The consequences of bullying.

One day, Laya was in the corridor of their school, talking to someone. Veda entered and saw that. “Who is she talking to?” She thought to herself. She stood in a corner opposite to Laya and saw that person. “Why is she talking to Charan?” She got surprised. “She shouldn’t talk to him. I need to plan accordingly. He is mined. He should be mine. But what if I become bad again?” She thought to herself. “Its okay. Lets do this.”

After the school, “I’ll see you in the evening tuition darling.” Charan waved at Laya. “Okay dear.” She smiled, nodding. Veda saw this and heard this too. “So they’re a couple?”

That night, when Laya’s family is having dinner, Veda sneaked into Laya’s room and found some audio clips of Laya and her friends humiliating the teachers in the computer. “Perfect.” She smirked to herself. She immediately copied them in a micro CD and hid it in her pocket. She slept peacefully that night.

Next day, she wontedly said that she wanted to go to the washroom and came out of the class. She turned on the fire alarm. Everyone went out and she played the CD through the intercom. Laya and her friends became humiliated in front of the school. Laya knew that its Veda who did this. She became very furious. The principal convinced the teachers not to take any action against Laya because it’s a common thing that students talk about teachers that way. But Laya was thinking the other way.

The surprising thing is Veda doesn’t know that Laya is doing all these things to her.

Now Laya thought of a plan. Veda has a personal dairy. She knew that she can easily take that and photocopy it. That night, Laya sneaked into Veda’s room when she’s sleeping. Next day is a school holiday. She knew that Veda doesn’t touch that dairy until night. She went to a xerox center and made a very good amount of photocopies of the dairy’s main pages. She slowly snuck back into Veda’s room and kept the dairy where it is. Veda didn’t even get a doubt. She had lunch in her aunt’s place and spent time there. Surprisingly, Veda was a bit nice to her. Laya was very satisfied.

Next day, Laya went to the school a bit early and pasted the photocopies of the dairy all over the school. She even kept some in the desks of the students. Charan now knew that Veda has a crush on him. But he already loves Laya. So he didn’t even look at her.

Veda saw it and again ran to the washroom, hid herself in the cabin and started crying. She didn’t eat, didn’t come out for a whole day. She went out after everyone went out. She didn’t even have a clue that Laya did this.

Veda didn’t even write her quarterly examinations well. She was very shocked and depressed at the same time. They had Dusshera holidays, followed by Diwali holidays.

Shiva and Agastya planned to go to a resort, which is booked only for themselves to celebrate Diwali. Veda got ready in a sleeveless tank top with a mini skirt and a back pack, paired up with two low piggy tails. Laya got ready in a brown churidar with a braid.

Laya’s friends too came to celebrate Diwali with them. Veda was all alone. “Amma, I want to spend some alone time.” She said. “Where?” Gauri asked. “I’m going to the pool side. Please don’t disturb me.” Veda said. “What’s the matter Gauri akka?” Agastya asked. “She wants her own time.” Gauri shrugged. Agastya nodded. “Lets go!” Vishnu shouted raising his arms up, running to the other pool and jumping in it. “Your husband is still a child.” Archana said to Vishnu’s wife, laughing. “I married a kid.” Vishnu’s wife, Ananya giggled.

Vishnu and Ananya gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, Anurag, Shripada. They’re very friendly to Veda and Laya. They’re two years younger to them. Veda and Laya see them as their own brother and sister.

They all were having a blast in the resort. Laya was concerned about Veda. She went in search of her. She found her by the pool, sitting on a pool chair. The moment she was relieved, she found someone coming to Veda with drinks. She hid herself to see who it was.

“Hey beautiful.” He winked. “You look beautiful.” He started touching Veda inappropriately. “Leave me alone.” Veda snapped. “My room is just around the corner. If you come, you won’t regret it.” He winked. That’s it Laya entered the scene. “Hey! Leave her alone you pervert.” She shouted. That guy ran from there. Veda was trembling. “Are you fine? Let me get you a glass of water.” Laya got a glass of water. Veda drank the water and hugged Laya. “I’m so sorry Laya.” She cried. Laya rubbed her back, hugging her tightly. “I did so much to you. Very bad things. But you helped me. You saved me from that pervert. Thank you so much.” Veda cried. “Your actions are my consequences Veda. We have an equal share in this. Its okay.” Laya smiled. “Let’s go to our family. They’re enjoying there.”

Veda and Laya went to their family. “Someone is friendly today.” Agastya smiled. “Yes mama. I found out Laya is good. I misunderstood her practically my entire life.” Veda said. “We are friends now nanna.” Laya said. “What did you do that my daughter changed?” Shiva chuckled. “Its magic.” Laya winked. “Lets have fun!!” Shripada screamed, jumping into the pool along with Anurag.

After dinner, “I, Laya, Anurag, Shripada, Radha, Ruhi and Sachi are sharing a room.” Veda announced. “There is no room for a boy with six girls.” Anurag chuckled. “I am out.”

“That’s your wish.” Laya shrugged. “Let’s go girls.” Veda walked towards their room. “So what about Charan?” Veda asked Laya. “He’s my boyfriend.” Laya shrugged. “He’s your, what?” Veda widened her eyes in surprise. Laya nodded. “Don’t you have a crush on him?”

“I used to have. But not from now. I want you to be happy with him.” Veda smiled. “I hope you guys get married and last long.

“Thank you Veda.” Laya hugged her from a side. Rest of the night girls spent gossiping and having fun.

They enjoyed Diwali as never before and ever after. Veda got ready in an off shoulder blouse and ruffle lehenga both maroon colour. Hair left with curls. Laya got ready in a bright orange paper mirror work salwar suit.

“You girls look extraordinary.” Agastya smiled. “Thank you nanna.” Laya smiled at her father. “Lets have fun!” Anurag screamed. They had a blast burning crackers and eating delicious sweets and food.