Neena picked up her towel from the rack and walked slowly to the bathroom. She flicked on the switch and stood in the doorway, as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the sudden burst of light. 

It was 5 am and Neena's day had already begun. As she scrubbed soap on her body she thought of the chores she still had to complete before she could step out of the house. As she washed the soap off of her body, she thought of the chores she had to complete once she  finally managed to step out of the house.

As she reached to  turn off the knob, Neena reminded herself to buy a gift for her sisters birthday dinner later that day. As she stepped out of the shower area Neena reached for the talcum powder. As she sprayed it liberally over herself, Neena wondered what she should buy her sister for her birthday.

Neena and her sister Maya, had always had a love-hate relationship. Since childhood they were periodically on good terms and then on bad. As they grew up of course that changed. The bad terms lasted longer than when they were children. The nature of their arguments  changed from loud verbal accusations to ,silent, envious stares. The reasons changed, from trivial ones, like the last piece of cake, to who's husband gave them the larger diamond.

Since childhood, Neena viewed her sister as someone who always got everything right. Maya always chose the right course, dated the brilliant men and was offered the best opportunities. Nothing ever went wrong in Maya's life. It was almost like she was handed everything on a silver platter. Maya's image was that of the 'best settled'. Maya never had to deal with grief or insecurities hence in her family's mind, Maya was as solid and as strong as a rock. Perhaps this was why Neena always found it difficult to live up to the benchmark her sister had set.

Even as an adult Neena felt trapped under the shadow of her sisters accomplishments. No matter how hard she tried her sister was always a step ahead of her. In their youth their parent's had actually encouraged the rivalry. Had it become fierce they would have had a situation on their hands but they handled it well. The rivalry helped Neena come to terms with the fact that there are somethings her sister did better than she did.

Neena was gradually   stepping out of her sisters shadow and building a life for herself very different to her sister's life. Currently Neena and her sister were on good terms. They had been that way since Maya got married and shifted homes, which was six years ago. Their mother often said, it was the separation that made them realize how much they miss each other. Neena disagreed, the separation was what helped Neena forget what it felt like to constantly be undermined.

The End

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