Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Going and gone...

The flowers fell lightly on her hair as she walked round behind Tanmay. She knew the time was close when she would have to hold his hand and leave her tears behind; and a gloomy family as well- her family. A sorrowful grimace hinted on her face and noticing it, he held her tighter and just nodded reassuringly. She just smiled.

As the car pulled up to the sidewalk, she hugged the man in the sherwani and the brilliant silver crop of hair, who just stood there with a beaming smile of pride and exuberance. Moving to the woman beside him who had a moist face as well, she turned and walked away from the smaller girl who stood 3rd in line. Avoiding the sweet tiny face, she went to the waiting car as Tanmay shook hands and hugged the man with white hair tightly. The little girl just stood there, crying, weeping, overtaken by sorrow.

In the car, Sneha wiped her face clean of tears and glanced through the glass at Madhuri, her little sister. The tears going down her small sister’s face made her heart distraught. Immersed in pain, she fought the urge to get out of the car and to reassure Madhuri that it would be all right, soon. But she did not want to lie, not to her little doll. She still recalled the day when her doll had come, and as she saw her sister’s face contort in the heat, she saw the reel play in front of her eyes.

The phone rang and the girl in the little frock and 2 pigtails scampered to the telephone with her tiny legs. Racing with the old lady who trudged slowly behind, Sneha reached the phone first and with a triumphant yank, held it to her ear.

“Hello, who is this? This is Sneha speaking.”

“Hi sweetheart, what are you doing?”

“Daddyyy…! Nothing dad, was playing with granny.”

“Will you tell your grandma something?”

“Yeah, wait. I’ll give her the phone.”

Calling out loudly as though her grandma was in the next house, she cheekily handed the phone and raced away back to play.

“Hi Akhil, any news? What happened? Is everything all right?”

“It’s all fine mother. We are bringing a fairy home again.”

“That is really good news Akhil. When will you all come home?”

“The delivery was fine, we will wait for the doctor’s green signal and then we will head home.”

“I’m coming to the hospital in an hour with Sneha. I can’t wait to see my little angel.”

“Let’s surprise Sneha.”

“I know what to do son. I’ll be there soon.”

“Take care mumma.”

Half an hour later, the duo set off on their quest. As the rickshaw entered the hospital compound, Sneha asked, “Why have we come here granny?”

“Mom and dad are here so they told the doctor that you are very mischievous, so he told them to call you here. He will give you a nice injection and then you will be perfect.”

“No please. I won’t do any mischief, please. I hate these injections, please.”

Coming out from the doors, Sneha’s dad said, “Come fast Sneha, the doctor is waiting.”

Taking her into his arms, he wrestled with her till they reached their new fairy’s room.

Sneha stood still as she saw the tiny face wrapped in the white cloth, calmly sleeping. As Sneha tentatively touched the glass in bewilderment, the little angel opened her mouth and yawned and scratched at her eyes. Holding her father’s hand tight, she just looked on.

“You want to take her home Sneha?”

“Can we dad?”

“Would you be happy if I told you yes?”

“Please dad please.”

“We can take her home. She’s your sister.”

Sneha’s eyes widened in glee and she clapped happily as the little baby looked on. Later, she held the tiny bundle, who was her sister, and walked into the house, playing and wooing and cooing the little girl, who just smiled and held on to Sneha’s finger.

The click of the door opening brought Sneha back to life, and the urge to get out of the car won over her and she raced to Madhuri. Hugging her tight, the two of them broke down, and all they said was, “I love you di. I’ll miss you so much.”

A couple of minutes later, Sneha extracted herself, and with a teary will, she walked away, not looking back, still scared of going back to her little angel, her sister.

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