Remembering those sunny days with bumpy roads, without clear vision, trees would wrinkle, and so would the leaves, and soon they ripened with the season of fresh blossoms. We used to fight for simple reasons all the time. Though she was younger, she was vigorous with her gentle love towards me and she was the pivotal girl in the house, taking decisions as quickly as my dad. I can’t believe it’s been a month but, it seems ages to me of us having had a rift between us after her marriage and after her leading her life successfully: my sister and I.
She came home all the way from Hyderabad to Kolanukonda, which is home for us, for the first festival Ugadi (Telugu New Year) since she left, along with her husband,brimming with expectations and hope. I went to the bus station to pick her up but her face looked quite washed out, I noticed. It was filled with anxiety, anger and fear. She got down from the bus and leaped towards the vehicle. I didn’t know what was happening and no words were exchanged in the vehicle.

I am a bit mousy and wanted to know quickly what happened on the bus. But, she was in hurry movingfrom here tothere. My questions were left unanswered. I didn’t find any space to find out what the issue was. She shut the washroom door quickly and had hair washed in about an hour upon reaching home. But I didn’t want to know about it from my brother-in-law. She slept all day and woke up in the evening. She came to me while having tea, sat down in the lawn, closed her eyes and took a deep and profound breath. “Iam SORRY!” she whispered. I didn’t understand why she was saying sorry. Then she asked me in an informal way, “How is your work going on?”
“It’s good,” I replied, and I didn’t want to raise any further questions. She had some tea and made some space to explain the reason behind her anger, anxiety and what made her feel so sorry. She explained that she too was overwhelmed with the waiting and much too curiousto come home and have fun with me. However, with lots of work at the office, she only managed to make it one day early for the festival. Meanwhile, she had the symptoms of her monthly friend, her periods.
She said:
“I packed everything for my well-being, kept napkins in the bag. We were on time and waiting for the bus. I am a bit clumsy with the bulking crowd and so ten minutes later we were on the bus around 11:16 p.m. In the conversation with my husband, I didn’t know when I slept. In the middle of the night, suddenly someone was poking my shoulder. It went on for four to five times. In a blur, a girl came to me and said something in pacifying way. Then I got to know that someone was heavily bleeding and needed napkins promptly. Everything was gone and I made to find my bag but didn’t find it. I tried to wake my husband up to get it. But, he didn’t wake up. I rushed towards the driver and asked him to stop the bus swiftly and explained the situation briefly to him. I then got down from the bus, rushed towards the luggage and found my bag. Surprisingly, I went to check thrice and I was mad as I didn’t find napkins in my bag. What went wrong and how did it happen? I didn’t want to waste my time there and think. I asked the driver to move on to the nearby bus station. Meanwhile, someone got down and they were really angry. The driver said,“MADAM IT TAKES ABOUT 20 MINUTES to reach the nearby bus station.”
Later on, it took about 25 minutes to reach out there and I still didn’t find a shop with napkins. What went wrong and what was happening? I wanted to yell loudly and asked the driver to move on to the next bus station.While moving on, I espied a medical store at the brink of the road. I got down there and had three packs of napkins in my hand. I asked the driver to not turn on the lights and to stop the bus at the upcoming toll plaza. I got into the bus and gave the napkins to the girl who needed it. I instructed her that she could change the pad at the upcoming toll plaza’s washroom. Then I sank into my seat but some time later, I heard murmuring. It was my husband: “Who asked you to go and get those?” I was immediately gloomy with that question. I replied,“But why shouldn’t I?” I didn’t get any answer from him; he just gazed at me with such a long face. He turned over to the other side and slept. I just closed my eyes and kept thinking about the incident. I don’t know when I fell into a deep sleep.
I woke up at 7 o’ clock at the Vijayawada bus station. I don’t know what happened: whether the driver had stopped or not? Did the girl change the pad or not? In that crazy sprint, the driver didn’t stop the bus. I scolded myself and sought out for my answers. I was relieved to find her in the bus and in the bus station.
This is what happened last night in the bus. And I was so angrywith myself and it was carried on to you too. So, I am sorry…”
“And then, I realized that I had to take an initiative,” she murmured.
“You mean to say…?” I mused.
Both of us sat in silence for a moment, and we discussed keeping a box filled with safety napkins and to make arrangements to put it down in buses as BOXES FOR SELF RESPECT and to spread awareness among passengers for the same.
“You are younger than me, but you are as elder as I am in your thinking and in your anger too,” I laughed. I then said: “What you have done last night was beyond my imagination and I am proud that you are my sister.”

Venkat-SamalaAuthor: Venkat Samala
Editor: Divya Rosaline