“Two years! And you didn’t tell me anything about it! At least you could have written to me. I am your Jijee-ma, aren’t I? Not a word! And you used to tell me everything. Don’t you remember? No secrets at all.” She turned away and caught her breath. “You never kept secrets from me. You were so transparent, so simple. How could you do such a thing? What will our father think? He’ll be so upset, so angry, so humiliated. Oh my God, what shame, what terrible shame!”
She put on her glasses to have a closer look at Anna’s photo, shook her head and sighed. I knew that soon she would start crying, making it unbearable for me to face her. But Jijee-ma didn’t cry, and it was then that I realised I was in for much harsher punishment. She would just walk out of the room and lock me out of her world. She would continue to look after me, but there would be no time for friendly chats. No affection would be offered and all possibilities of compromise shunned.
“How old is she, this Anna of yours?” she asked after a brief pause.
“My age. A few months older, I think.”
“And she isn’t very tall.”
“No, not very tall.”
“And she isn’t very big either, like all the other Russians I’ve seen and heard about.”
“And she has a small face. A kind face, I think.”
I didn’t answer.
“And I’m sure she smokes and drinks and eats beef.”
“She wants to give up smoking.”
"And do you drink and smoke and eat beef?”
(from “But we love you too”, from Subhash Jaireth's After Love)