That afternoon

I was standing in the balcony of my penthouse. The heat of the son was blinding my view, but I did not move. I could feel the drops of sweat trickle down my spine. Although I wore a high bun some hair at the back of my neck had come loose and had gotten wet with perspiration. I did not care.

It had been six months since I had gotten married. It was as if the life had gone out of me. A carefree, full of life girl had now become a serious woman who rarely smiled, I hardly spoke.

The phone rang. It was Somya bhabhi. She called often. In these passed six months we had gotten so close. Even though she had been in my family for more than a decade now.

“Hi bhabhi, how are you?”

“ what happened now didi; why are you pretending to sound happy?” She had this weird way of finding out, what was going inside your mind. This was probably the reason why bhai had fallen for her.

“ Am I that obvious?”

“Why don’t you talk to Nityamji about your problem.”

“ You think I didn’t? Bhabhi he is least bothered. He said my mom is right in whatever she says or does and that one day I will be grateful for it.” Tears that were brimming in my eyes tumbled down my cheek. Even the bloody tears didn’t obey me anymore.

“Sometimes I feel I should jump down this balcony.”

“ where are you right now didi?” Oh! I had not heard this much concern since a long time now.

“I am at home.”

“ Where at home?” She was so damn persistent all the time, it was irritating.

“I am standing in the balcony of my room.”

“Oh! Okay, listen to me didi. Please don’t do anything foolish.”

“I wasn’t about to jump!” Was that a sigh of relief I heard at the other end.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Are you chumming?”

“No!” She actually thought this was one of my mood swings, I could not believe it.

“ Ok! When was the last date?” Now I was confused. Whatever is she getting with all this?

“28th nov”

“It is 29th dec. today”

“Out with it bhabhi.” When did this topic change and why were we discussing my periods for gods sake?

“Just before you jump do me a favour. You get these preg test kits. Get one and give it a shot ok?”

“You think I am pregnant “

“It might be too soon to test right now. You could wait for a week.”

“Wai….wait what makes you think I am pregnant? There are no systems.”

“ I told you it might be too soon.”

“ But how do you know?”

“Been there done that.” Pause “twice; remember?”

“You really think this is why I am feeling so edgy?” Was I being hopeful?

“Look I don’t know, you need to find it out for yourself. Just don’t do anything stupid ok?…Ok?”

“Ok” I disconnected.

How could I get the kit? I would need to ask? What would I say?

“Maya!” My maid was leaving for the day. The med shop was just down stairs.

“Please do me a favour.”

Ten minutes later I was standing with a brown paper envelope in my shaky hand. I didn’t dare look into the content of it. It was 5:30 and the sun was almost down the horizon. A soft braze was kindling the leaves. I stood there at the door still perspiring. This time it wasn’t heat that was breaking through ever pore of my body.

The bell rang. I opened absently. It was Nityam. He was early today.

“You packed my stuff? I have to reach the airport by seven. I think I will be late.” He hurried to our room.

“I packed everything. But just in case…”

The bag was open and he was going through his belongings. He didn’t even trust me to pack his bag properly! Ridiculous!

“Good job, Aparna this is perfect.” I smiled through pressed lips. Hopefully he got the clue.

“What’s that in your hand?” Oh! I forgot the envelope.

“Nothing, I’ll come from the loo in a bit”

“Be quick I am getting late.” I heard him shout through the door as I opened the pack.

Ok! Now how do I do this? I quickly scanned the instructions and performed the test.

I didn’t have to wait long as soon s I dropped the sample in the hole I could see two lines quickly turn dark crimson. Oh my god! I was pregnant.

Knock knock. “ Are you done, Aparna, I am getting late.”

Softly I opened the door, he was looking for something in the cupboard.

“ You need money?” He asked not turning, he was stuffing things in his pocket.

“No.” Should I tell him? He will be gone for a week.

He shoved some notes in my hand. “ If you need more ask swayam, I will tell him to give you. My original number will be working. Call if you need anything and please while I am gone don’t get into an argument with anyone ok?”

I nodded a yes. How will he react? Does he want a child? Is he ready? Am I ready?

I jolted as he clicked his fingers and made a gesture with his hand asking where was I lost.

I hugged him. The disobedient tears again left my eyes.

“What happened? Come on it is just a week I will be back before you know it.” He joked trying to make light of the situation.

“I am scared.”

“Oh come on now. I am going for work. Smile when you see me off ok. And let me know what you want from London I will get it.” His soft tone calmed my nerves. Maybe this is not the time, I decided “ Just bring back my husband safe and sound.” I smiled wiping off my tears.

He said his good byes to his Maa and sister while leaving the house. I saw him get into the cab from my balcony. I don’t know how long I stood there. But it was long after he had gone. “ Are you not going to cook dinner tonight bhabhi? Bhai has gone we are still here.” Priya called.

“Coming didi!” One thing was for sure, I decided; I was not telling anybody before I told your father. That you were on your way to light up the world.

To be continued…..


Toughen up

When the times are tough; Remember that your are tougher. You see you are already a winner. You do not remember this but you fought with millions of your brothers and sisters just to get into your mother’s womb. You were a winner there right. You passed your school exams. They might seem trivial now but they were very important then at that level. You passed all of it. So now when the time is trying again, take a deep breath and dive into it. Face it. Once you win over you tough time it won’t seem much extraordinary deal in a few years time. Always remember ” This too shall pass”

Bring it on

“Papa please! Let me come too.” I rushed to the door, behind him. “What will you do sweetheart? I won’t be long. It is just a normal checkup. You will be bored dear.” he explained patiently.

“I want to come please. You can get me an ice cream on our way home that way.” I persisted. Everybody started laughing. Typical of me.

“Ok! Let’s go.”

“Is everything alright doctor?” Bhaiya asked.

“Yes, all is fine. Keep your mouth clean at all times. Take your meds on time and come show me after six months.” Doctor instructed dad while he washed his hand and wiped with a white towel. “Any questions?” he asked finally. It was his way of saying ‘now you can leave.’

“Doc! Please ask him not to eat the junk food from streets. He never listens to us when we tell him. Me and mom; we have tried everything, yet he wants to eat out every single day.” I chirped in just every one was about to leave the room.

Dad and bhaiya turned to look at me. Then bhaiya and I both looked at the doctor hopefully.

For a second the doctor had a weird expression on his face, he looked sad I think. Then he smiled and asked “Why do you want him to stop eating all that?” “Because it is not healthy and it is not good for him.” I said seriously.

“Who said?” He rose from the chair and gave me an intent, meaningful look. In that moment I felt a very strong connection.Like, when you connect two wires. This was a wire of knowledge of understanding. As if someone from deep inside him was talking to someone deep inside me. It is so weird sometimes how momentarily you connect with strangers momentarily and gain profound understandings. Verbally he only said “It is ok. He can have whatever he wants.” But that inner voice said ‘You are lucky he eats what he wants. Don’t stop him.’

You see after he was operated and the tumor was removed we all were paranoid about his health. After all cancer has the power to scare off

the strongest of people. Not my dad though.

He looked into any situation, no matter how tough it was. He would look at the situation and say casually “bring it on.”