“What is #GRWM? Is that what you kids are using for the word ‘grim’ these days?”

Kashish looked up from her phone. “Argh, Api, step away from my laptop please!” she said, snapping her teeth in irritation.

Kinza just waved her off. “You used to hover by my side ALL the time whenever I was chatting with Kaif,” she said.

Kashish rolled her eyes. “That was a long time ago. I was six. I have no memory of it anyway,” she said, getting up from her bed and walking to the desk where her sister was looking at the Excel sheet open on her laptop. “Move.”

“You don’t have to be rude,” Kinza said huffily. “It’s not like I’m that old.”

Kashish wisely kept quiet because of course her sister was old. She was almost thirty-five. That was literally a dinosaur. Also, her sister wasn’t even like a cool millennial. She was just so out of touch with everything.

“Bol na. What is GRWM?” Kinza insisted, vacating the chair finally.

Kashish sighed. “It stands for Get Ready With Me.”

Kinza frowned and then looked at the laptop again. “Wait a minute. Why is this scheduled for every week? And what does that mean? You record videos of yourself getting dressed?” Her eyes were wide and she looked shocked.

“Why are you here? Don’t you usually have something to discuss with Abbu whenever you come to Bangalore?” Kashish deflected.

“Yes, but I also wanted to spend some time with you,” Kinza said, reaching up to pinch her little sister’s cheeks like she would do when Kashish was small. Only now, Kashish stepped back, and Kinza frowned.

“Why are you like this?” she asked.

“Why am I like this?” Kashish repeated absently as she sat before her laptop and began checking the items on today’s Excel sheet. Her virtual assistant Mili had updated the shared Google Sheets calendar for Kashish’s Instagram schedule like she did every day.

“Yes. Why have you changed so much?” Kinza asked.

Kashish turned her head and took in her sister who was standing by her desk, hands on her hips.

“Everyone changes,” Kashish said. “You seem to have forgotten just how much you changed when you got married.”

Drat. She had not planned on throwing that in her sister’s face but really, Kinza had some gall telling her that she had changed.

Kinza’s expression changed rapidly. “That’s old news, isn’t it?” she said finally. “I mean, I got married more than a decade ago.”

Yes. She got married and moved away to be with Kaif in Chennai and then she had two children and then, that was it. Kashish had become an afterthought for her. Kashish couldn’t dismiss that bit of her life as old news.

“Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I have to shoot a video now, so if you can step out…”

“A video? For your Instagram? I want to see it!” Kinza said, clapping her hands eagerly.

Kashish shook her head. “No, I can’t do it when someone is around,” she said. Especially you.

But her sister was adamant. “You’ll need someone to hold the phone, right? Let me do it,” she offered.

“Api, that’s not at all needed. Why do you think I have this tripod?”

“Oh. I didn’t realise. Let me just hang back in that corner and watch, please?’ Kinza said, making a “please” face at her, one that she couldn’t resist.

“Fine. Just stay out of the frame,” Kashish said, walking up to the tripod with the ring light on it.

“And I promise I won’t make any noise,” Kinza whispered.

“Yes, don’t talk to me and distract me, but it’s okay. You don’t have to worry about not making any noise. I’ll be recording a voiceover for the reel separately,” Kashish explained as she set up the camera.

Kashish didn’t see the impressed look her sister was giving her. She was busy setting up the phone and angling it towards her wardrobe, because she would be doing the GRWM post in front of it.

“You do all this by yourself all the time?” Kinza asked in a hushed voice.

“Actually, I have an assistant who does all this for me,” Kashish said. “But she’s got exams right now, so she couldn’t come.”

“And you? You don’t have any exams?” Kinza asked, sounding very officious and motherly. Kashish merely lifted an eyebrow and didn’t bother to reply. Kinza was not her mother.

It took Kashish more than half an hour to shoot the thirty-second reel, where she dressed up in a chic outfit, putting on the layers one by one, followed by the accessories. The edits would take even longer. She wished Mili was around in real-time too. She was so efficient, she would have taken care of all this. But Mili just organised her schedule.

When Kashish looked up, her heart fell the slightest bit. Her sister wasn’t there. She hadn’t noticed when Kinza had left the room. She must have got bored. Then she heard her outside calling out to her children and something she said gave Kashish pause. She quickly pulled out her diary and jotted it down.

Kinza and the kids were here for the summer holidays. Kashish didn’t especially like her niece and nephew much. They ran her sister ragged, making her dance to their tunes.

The door to her room opened softly and Kinza stepped inside, tiptoeing in an exaggerated manner, her finger on her lips. Her children followed her and she made a “shush” noise, telling them that Kashish aunty was making an important video.

Excerpted with permission from Everything Sucks, Andaleeb Wajid, Speaking Tiger Books.