Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Bud, Nipped.


“Neha, don’t dance around. Go back to your room and sleep.” scolded her granny.

A bonfire blazed in the courtyard behind the bungalow at midnight. A huge vessel of milk, placed over the fore by three men under the directions of an old lady, was waiting to be boiled.
There was a kind of gloomy yet ceremonial atmosphere.
Two huge lamps, one facing the bonfire and the other facing the bungalow tried to swallow as much of that gloom as possible.

But Neha was in her joyous mood since morning. After all she had a real doll to play with. Her little sister was born. She was happy to see her more than her mother herself. Neha had her little sister’s future schedule all planned. Braiding her hair was the foremost thing she thought she’d do. Neha named her little sister, Tanaya. She was going around telling this name to everyone, even before Tanaya was born. These things for some reason angered her granny. Slaps and beatings from her granny were a common place for Neha. She used to run back to her mother’s tummy when this happened and talked to her yet to be born sister about such slapping incidence. Or any incidence for that matter.

Neha was running to and fro from one lamp post to another, singing her made up songs and getting scolded by her granny.
Amidst that she heard her mother’s cry. A cry that she had never heard before.
She ran to her granny and asked, “Why is my ma crying?”
Not waiting for the granny to reply, she ran upstairs and banged on the door of the room where she thought the cries came from.

Two pairs of large hands lifted her up and locked her into another room, a room filled with tons of sweets, gifts and greeting cards. Cards that read “ To Tanmay”. She wondered who this Tanmay was. Apparently all the gifts were addressed to him. And she did not know about any
Tanmay. Infact there were no Tanmays in her family that she could recall.

Cries, followed by screaming and pleadings were reaching her room again. She could make out three voices apart from her mom’s very distinctly. Her father’s, her granny’s and her aunt’s.

Then there was a fourth voice, the baby’s. Her little sister was crying the loudest. She could hear it from the adjacent room, her ears and heart following it downstairs and then in the backside courtyard.

A while later, her mother had stopped crying, but so had her little sister.  

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