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Updated: May 9, 2011 16:21 IST

It's a long wait

NANDINI NAYAR
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The Hindu

Supriya and Maithili had quarrelled. Supriya waited for her friend to apologise. But will she?

All evening Supriya had been running to answer the doorbell and the phone. But each time she had gone back to her room looking discouraged.

Finally Nita kaki, who had been watching her rushing about, asked, “Are you waiting for someone to call or visit?”

“Yes,” Supriya nodded, “My friend Maithili!”

“You could call her,” Nita Kaki suggested.

“Yes, I could,” Supriya agreed, “But the thing is …we've quarrelled!”

“Oooh!” Nita Kaki nodded, “You've quarrelled! So you are waiting for her to apologise?”

“Yes,” Supriya said. The quarrel had erupted suddenly, out of a discussion over their favourite actors and before they knew it, they had sworn never to speak to each other. Supriya felt rage well up as she thought of the rude way in which Maithili had laughed at her favourite actor.

“You could apologise!” Kaki suggested.

“Me? Why should I? I'll wait for her to apologise!”

“Hmm,” Nita Kaki said, “So you like to play ‘The Waiting Game', do you?”

“What game?” Supriya asked indignantly, “I am only waiting for Maithili to apologise first!”

“What if she is playing the same game?” Kaki asked.

“I can wait longer!” Supriya boasted.

“I knew a girl just like you!” Kaki said, “She too liked to play ‘The Waiting Game'. And she was confident that she could wait longer than any of her friends! And so, after every quarrel she waited for them to talk to her first!”

“What happened to this girl?” Supriya asked. Already she felt a sense of kinship with this unknown girl who could wait so long.

“And then,” Nita Kaki sighed, “one day she and her best friend quarrelled over something silly. And this girl waited and waited!”

“Didn't her friend apologise?” Supriya asked curiously. That had nearly happened to her once. Maithili had taken so long to apologise that Supriya had wondered if she would have to make the first move. But then Maithili had called and the quarrel was forgotten.

“No,” Nita Kaki said, “Her friend decided to wait too. It was the summer holidays. And the friend's father got transferred and they moved away without telling this girl! And when this girl went back to school, she found that her best friend had left!” Supriya stared at her aunt in horror. “No!” she said, trying to convince herself as much as her Kaki, “Maithili won't do anything like that!”

“You should remember,” Nita Kaki said, “that ‘The Waiting Game' is like any other game – two people can play it!”

Supriya had never thought of it that way and now she wondered what she would do if Maithili got tired of waiting and made friends with someone else. The thought was horrifying. Supriya thought for only a minute before she made up her mind.

“Amma!” she called as she put on her shoes, “I am going out!” And she raced away, intent only on meeting Maithili and making up with her. Supriya's days of playing The Waiting Game were over.

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