If anyone had told Preeti that winning the World Cup and telling Abhimanyu to go fly a kite in a hailstorm would be the easier parts of her career, she would have laughed at them. And yet –
“Ke kar rahi hai, chokri?” Komal demands loudly from her side of their two bed hostel room, obnoxious as ever.
Preeti sighs. “Kapade badal rahi hoon. Aur kya?” It’s a relief to no longer be in the mud-soaked sweats of the day, the airiness of her cotton shorts and camisole freeing. If the top is ratty and dips low thanks to stretched-out straps, then there’s nothing to be done for it. Besides, there’s only Komal in the room.
She stretches, enjoying the shift of sore muscles, only opening her eyes as Komal abruptly yells, “Nangi! Besharam!” and points an accusing finger in the direction of her cleavage.
Preeti rolls her eyes. “Bable pehle nahin dekhe kya? Tere pass nahin hain?”
Komal scowls and looks away, arms crossing defiantly, and Preeti senses something here in the building tension between them.
“Dekhna hain?” she taunts, only half-joking, wanting to see how far she can push this.
Komal’s dark eyes flare. “Aise mat samajh ki mein uss launde saale ki tarah hoon! Vekne se kuch nahin hoga.” But even she sounds unconvinced.
There’s a hot ball of fear and something else in Preeti’s stomach, something trembling and vulnerable that echoes the look staring out at her from Komal’s face.
But she won’t back down from this.