“Why do you hide your pain behind that fake smile?” resting elbows on her knees, panting, Arya’s gaze made Jigisha uncomfortable.
“Excuse me… ahh…. what?” Jigisha’s authoritative voice had turned soft suddenly.
“Yes… you heard that right, Jigisha” Arya said without blinking.
“I guess we are done with the break, let’s get back to our practice” she pulled the tattakali closer and straightened up without looking at Arya.
“Of course, Jigisha Ma’am…..” Arya got up and walked towards her entry position.
Next forty five minutes were filled with Arya’s jingling metallic anklets, classical music in the background & Jigisha’s stern voice correcting & guiding Arya, “Taam di ti tai… taam di taam.. tai tai taam….”
Arya ran to shut the window as the drizzle slowly turned into a downpour. She half shut the French window, and waited for Jigisha to return.
“Coming, wait….making coffee.” Jigisha peeped from the kitchen window connecting the hall, again without making an eye contact.
“Okay” Arya’s calmness was making Jigisha more anxious.
Jigisha gently placed the tray on the table and sat in front of Arya.
“So…. You were saying…. I am hiding something behind my smile, what made you say that?…..” Jigisha questioned blowing her hot cappuccino.
“Just like that….” Arya didn’t raise her head holding her hot mug.
“Now you are lying…. You wouldn’t do that in the middle of the practice. We have known each other from last one year. We are more like friends than Guru and student. I mean that’s only while learning Bharatnatyam. So please spell the beans, I don’t like these games, you know that.” Being of the same age in their late twenties these two could understand each other better.
“Okay… Okay….. Alright. I can’t hide this from you; in fact I don’t want to. Besides I don’t have regrets. I was waiting to talk about this. Do you remember day before yesterday you gave me the notebook to copy the dance notes of ‘Alaripu adavu’?”
“Yes, I do. Why?”
“Well, along with that, by mistake you also gave a small diary under the book, which obviously both of us didn’t realize at that point”
“NO…. NO…. Oh God, NO! I didn’t, I didn’t! Shit… Arya… that’s my personal diary” Jigisha almost jumped off her chair and barged inside her room.
“I am sorry, really sorry, Jiggu. But I have read it. ….Open up, honey…..Please… ” Arya kept knocking the door almost for fifteen minutes.
Jigisha lied motionless on her bed, tears rolling down on her cheeks as Arya slowly stepped in her bedroom. She gently sat at the corner of her bed without saying a word stroking her hair.
Jigisha got up slowly, “You have only read that it has been detected. There’s more. It’s a fourth stage terminal lung cancer. I don’t have much time to finish your Arangatrem…… …. I am sorry”
Both busted into tears, hugging and holding each other.