By: Aanika Gajendragad
“Nisha, come down for dinner!”
“You ask me to clean and then call me to eat when I’m cleaning…” I mumbled to myself.
“Coming, mother. I’ll be there in 15.”
Mom kept asking me to clean my room and the attic, and I procrastinated until my mother’s hands were at my throat.
… That was a joke.
This morning she forced to me start cleaning and once I did start I found it fun. Cleaning is fun- the attic especially. I found so many things that brought back long-gone memories. My mother asked me to throw whatever was not required but I didn’t think I’d be able to, literally every object I held had meanings and memories attached to it. It felt like I got a memory out of the memory dump in Inside Out just before it could fade away.
The snow globe, for example. I remember when my father got that for me.
“Dad!” I ran to hug him as soon as the door opened. He had come from Paris after 2 whole months. I was only 6 then. I didn’t know why he had to go on a business trip, I found this whole thing pointless. He told us about it when we sat together for dinner.
“Guys, good news!” He clapped his hands, grabbing our attention. “My boss has agreed to send me to Paris for the project.”
My mother and older sister looked excited. I was plain confused. “That means… you’ll leave us?”
“Only for 2 months, Nish! This is a great deal for your father,” mom explained.
“No! I don’t want him to go!” I threw a fit and ended up leaving the table dramatically. My mother had to come to my room and- embarrassing enough to say, but she had to feed me food while I bawled my eyes out.
When he returned from the trip, he told us about the Christmas he spent there, with the snowfall and all. I wanted to go too. “I got you this snow globe, Radha. And for Nisha, here!” He handed me a doll set. It looked beautiful. I still have the set, I found that too while cleaning.
But the snow globe fascinated me more. It had a little Eiffel Tower inside of it.
That was the time I was interested in the wonders of the world, and though the tower isn’t one of the seven wonders, it just… I don’t know, it caught my eye.
The Eiffel Tower got the most visitors at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. Why? Because it was the tallest tower in the world then. People went to the top to see what Paris looked like from the top. Even aeroplanes weren’t invented then, so this tower was a big deal. Plus they used iron to make the tower, which was a great industrial advancement at that time.
I was happy with my gift, don’t get me wrong. My sister was, too. She seemed more excited than me even!
“Thank you, thank you so much!” she said to father.
A few days later, the school was starting. I had to go to a new school since we recently shifted. I was very nervous- I never met other people. Family and friends were the only ones I knew. As I entered the huge school, I looked at everyone to see they had their friend groups already.
I got into the class and people stared at me. “She’s the new girl…” they whispered to each other.
The teacher came in shouting, “Okay, settle now, class!”
She looked smart. With her round glasses on the tip of her crooked nose and her hair tied in a bun, she looked exactly like how I’d imagine McGonagall from Harry Potter to look if not for the movies!
“Your faces look familiar… Oh, wait, new student. Hello,” she smiled at me, and everyone’s head automatically turned to look at me. I showed my teeth when I smiled and gave a short wave. If that wasn’t awkward.
“Let’s do one thing. Introduce yourself with your name and the recent gift you got from anyone. Also what it means to you, if it does. Why don’t we start with… Amar?”
A boy stood up, slicking his hair. His collar button was open and his shirt wasn’t inshirted. I think boys that time thought it looked cool.
“Hi, I’m Amar, and I got a PS4 recently. My parents gifted it for my birthday. Oh, I also got a football from my friends and a pokemon set from my uncle and aunt.”
The type to show off, I see.
“Great! How about… you, next?”
A girl stood up and said she got new books as a gift from her grandfather.
It was my turn next. People stared at me expectedly. “Uhh.. hi. My name is Nisha…” I said nervously. “And the recent gift I got was from my father, he got me a doll set. I play with it a lot, I comb the doll’s hair, make her sleep and make her play with other doll friends. She’s living a good life.”
It was silent for a few seconds before everyone erupted into laughter. “You got a doll set? How old are you, 3?” One said.
“We’re turning 7 soon!” Another exclaimed.
I was very humiliated that time.
I ran to the washroom while the teacher tried to shut everybody up.
When I got home I went straight to my room and got out the doll set. I screamed and tried throwing it out of the window, but two hands stopped me. My sister. “What are you doing? Didn’t you love this till… this morning?” She was amused.
“I don’t anymore, okay? Leave me alone.” I cried.
She obeyed. She walked out of the room silently, with her head down. I dropped on my bed, shoving my head into the pillows. Sometime later I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Can you at least tell me what happened?”
I told her everything. She exhaled and got it from behind her back. The snow globe.
“What? Didn’t you like this when dad gave it to you?”
“I did, but I saw how your eyes lit up seeing the globe. You can have it, seriously.”
“I can’t! Dad gave it to you as a gift.”
“I’m sure he’d understand if I told him why I’m giving it to you. Take it!”
“Are you serious?”
She smiled at me. “You know I never do what I don’t want to. I really want to give this to you. Here.”
I held the snow globe, looking at it from close. “Thank-” *sniffle* “-you so much.” *sniffle*.
Radha laughed and wiped the tears from my cheeks.
“Don’t cry, okay? Those people don’t know what’s cool and what isn’t yet. They think they’re cool, but I think a doll set is very cool!”
“Yeah! You can take this globe to school tomorrow and show it off to them. Bet they’ll be jealous.”
And she was right. You should have seen the look on those people’s faces when I showed them the globe!
We were hardly seven then, very immature. It holds a special memory, it established a closer bond between my sister and me.
I even wrote the incident in my diary, which I also found in the attic. I won’t read that because it’s embarrassing.
“Nisha! For the last time-”
“The food’s cold now. How long should I wait for?”