Rosie knew that it was hard to impress her sister.
Harder than it would be for the sun to make love to the moon, or the earth to open up on its own accord and issue forth whole jungles and say, “Here, silly humans! Here is the antidote to the deforestation that you have been practicing for decades!”
Bianca was always hard to impress. Even when they were little girls running around in floral frocks, their hair tied up in ribbons, when Chacko Kurian- their father used to bring home new Barbie dolls- always identical, one for Rosalie and the other for Bianca, little Rosie would jump up and down excitedly, clapping her tender hands repeatedly before accepting the doll from her father, after planting a kiss on the man’s cheek- the feel of her lips grazing the stubble of hair on his cheek was an enduring memory from childhood.
Something which, over the years, she has come to associate with the feelings of comfort and protection.
Bianca on the other hand would accept the doll with hardly any expression. The peck which she planted on her father’s cheek would be more perfunctory than anything. Even when he brought home the ramp-walking Barbie- her favorite- her response wasn’t all that different.
For identical twins, they could be quite disparate in many ways.
“But just because you are hard to impress doesn’t mean I am not going to try!” Rosie murmured smilingly as she opened the Swiggy app in her phone and found the restaurant menu she was looking for.
She has been to the upscale Tamil cuisine restaurant just once though she has ordered food from there plenty of times.
‘The Erode’ was one of the very few restaurants in Bangalore which specialized in rural Tamil cuisine. “Come taste the heart of Tamil villages” was the less than smartly phrased tagline for the restaurant that had two outlets- one in Kormangala and another in Kalyan Nagar.
Unlike the tagline, the food that they made was rather exquisite- not to mention exotic.
A simple side dish of fried chicken- done in the way that grandmothers of rural Tamil Nadu had perfected over centuries could in itself be an eye-opener.
Rosalie ordered from the Kormangala outlet since it was closer to home and so would deliver faster.
The last she called Bianca, she has said that her bus was nearing Electronic City bus stop. Just two stops away from Madiwala where she would be getting down.
She would he here soon.
After placing the order- neer dosas, Erode special chutney and deep fried chicken(marinated with indigenously made masala) and with a side of lemon pickles-Rosilie went to the bathroom and took a quick shower, humming along with the tune that was playing on the Bose speaker in her bedroom- ‘Love is a strange beast’ by the British singer, Roal Nashen.
When she stepped out of the bathroom, her phone, which was lying on the bed, was ringing.
It was Bianca. She told her that she has got down at Madiwala, got in to an auto and was on her way.
“But the bus ride sucks, chechi! There was hardly any leg space, even worse than the planes! And the ride took more than the 12 hours they said!”
“I told you I could have booked you a flight ticket!” Rosie said, half admonishing, half-laughing.
“No,no, it’s alright…” Bianca said lazily, yawning.
It was the first time that Bianca was coming down to Bangalore from their home town of Kollam, Kerala in a bus. She has always flown down. But this time around, the flight tickets were unusually pricey-more than 10 grands one way.
So, Bianca herself said that she would take the bus- after all, it was she who expressed the wish to come visit her sister.
“You don’t have to worry!” Rosie has said. “Remember, your sister is a successful businesswoman now! Sort of,” she added. Her story was featured in the previous edition of ‘Entrepreneur India’ magazine which was reasonably popular among the start-up community in Bangalore.
But still, Bianca insisted on taking the bus. Aside from being hard to be impressed, this ideology for not wishing to cause others any sort of trouble- especially the financial kind- was another trademarked trait of Bianca.
Rosie ascribed this to the fact that Chacko went through a few tough years when they were young.
They grew up hearing such things as “Let’s all sleep in the same room since it would cut down the electric bills” said by their mother and seeing their parents take very little of the curry their mother made for lunch, so that the kids could have more.
Chacko Kurian eventually grew out of the rough phase but Rosie figured that the sights and sounds of the era left a huge impression on Bianca, more than it did on her.
After getting off the phone, Rosie hurriedly got dressed- first putting on a plain white satin bra and pale blue panties with the word ‘LOVE’ printed across the front in yellow. Then, after applying deodorant- a brand by Gucci which one of her friends recommended as “Exquisitely feminine” , she put on the Vero Moda dress which she has brought last week but hasn’t wore until now.
She was planning to wear it for the anniversary party she was going to throw for her employees in the coming week.
But what the heck, this too is a special occasion, she thought.
She did very little with her hair, allowing it to flow down past her shoulders in all its natural glory, simply adjusting it enough to ensure that it didn’t fall over the dress.
The Vero Moda was a simple sleeveless one-piece which showed off her elegant curves.
On a blue base, the print was of green parrots suspended in the act of flying, most of them with their wings widely spread, a few looking somewhat subdued, an almost contemplative look on their eyes as though wondering about the wisdom invested in the simple act of flying.
Looking her image from head to toe repeatedly, she found herself looking good.
Her 26 year old skin glowed- the hours she spent at the salon has paid off, and her long forehead and the long narrow nose- the most prominent features of her face looked flushed with life, thanks to the gluten free diet regiment she was on.
Her lips looked full and delectable. But she applied just a little amount of red lipstick and smacked her lips all the same.
But still, there was something wrong, she felt.
She had to look at herself in the mirror from a few different angles before she figured out what it was. It was her breasts- the lingerie made them look smaller, or so she felt.
She reckoned she would look better if their fullness pressed against the fabric of the Vero Moda.
Carefully taking off the parrot-printed dress so that it didn’t get wrinkled, she removed her bra which she carelessly threw inside an open drawer of the dressing table, before putting the Vero Moda back on.
Turning to her side and looking at her profile in the mirror, a thin but radiant smile appeared on her face as she muttered, “Perfect!”