(a short story)

Shivayi had always been a plum child, rather plum I should say. And the taunting remarks of our young brother added to her frustration. After all those brushes and rigors, she felt good to be fit. Anxiously deeming for a pleasant experience she was on her way to the place which made this all possible. She could not have been where she did today without those two years at this tennis academy and the humble support Shivayi got from all the coaches.

As she nervously glided through those familiar iron gates, moving into known waters her mind was dwelling into the phobia of being unknown; what if the coach would not recognize her! They had so many students enrolled every year and most of them did not seek a career in tennis or sooner or later gave up chasing their tennis dreams. So, why would the coach remember her, Shivayi  being one of them.

Still not quite settled with the butterflies in her  belly she walked onto the training ground. There stood the most amicable coach of the slot, our physical trainer, trying to analyze the person walking up to him. And yes he did recognize her, the conversations exchanged and the warming smiles that followed up put all her nerves in place. He pointed out to our old batch mates, practicing. They waved and we most joyfully waved them back.

Things seem sweeter when you expect nothing. She somehow doubted her grounds on those tennis courts, but most importantly she was able to etch herself in people’s heart with all the time she spent with them.

My happiness only bloomed further as we met all her coaches, especially the head coach. She always had some friction with him for some unknown reasons. He did not miss this opportunity either. He said it hadn’t been too long since Shivayi had quit the place. Only to be interrupted by the other coach. He felt it had been too long for him.
After this followed some chit chats with the new trainees. They wanted to know who was this tall girl, the coach had been talking to. A sweet young trainee, the same age as Shivayi was when she joined tennis; said ,she would grow taller than her.

For the first time in her life I saw a sense of pride and self respect in Shivayi’s eyes. My little sister had completed and contemplated a long journey that day,carving out the person she always wanted to be.Her self belief had grown by leaps and bounds,cause she had accomplished her goal.

Indeed, it was an eventful day. And one of most happy ones for me, her big sister. An important lesson learnt, rather a reconfirmation of Shivayi’s notions. Now, the teenager in her had her freedom rifle held tight and she knew it was not necessary to manipulate herself to soothe the world’s eyes.

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