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The darkness has lessened a tiny bit. But it still hurts like it was yesterday. She was screaming on the hospital bed, just after waking up as soon as her anaesthesia wore off.
“You can have these for breakfast”, Ishaan extended his hands, with the few remnant James candies on his tiny palm. The colourful candies appeared a little moist in his part sweaty- part salival hand.
“I already had my breakfast. Thank you, Ishaan.” Prakriti smiled at the seven-year-old boy. Kids are kind of dirty, no matter how much you keep them clean. It’s a good decision to not have one. I’m glad that Ankur and I are on the same page about this, she reassured herself, once again.
Prakriti had moved into the Oceanid complex last year with her newly wedded husband. They were college buddies who decided one day that it was time to live together for good, since it was getting impossible to imagine their lives without each other in it all the time. So they told their parents their plan, and the parents decided to let the kids do whatever they wanted, on the condition of the marriage.
Prakriti had told Ankur about her decision of never having kids when he first proposed to her the idea of having a life together. “We are anyway eighteen hours together in a day, let’s return to the same house at the end of it too.” The proposal had sounded like they were discussing the next day’s schedule. That’s the part about this relationship that Prakriti loved the most. There was no mushiness. Everything seemed like two best friends’ daily discussion. Cheesiness and extra sweetness in relationships give her heartburn.
She had said yes without thinking. She told him that she didn’t want kids because they were nothing but a nuisance. Ankur gave her an understanding nod and smiled at her, “I don’t like them either.” The next month they were married and moved out from their parents’ house to this apartment.
Prakriti had quit her job a month ago where she and Ankur used to work at the same office. She was looking for a new job now and so was usually home. The downstairs’ Mishras had now found a free babysitter for themselves. Since she started staying at home this one month, they had popped up often to drop their kid with her. She had agreed to this unpleasant job displeasingly, but Ankur had liked the idea.
“It’s for 3-4 hours in a day. If you can’t manage, I’ll do it. Don’t worry.”
“Why do you seem so happy about it? Don’t you too not-like kids?” she peered at his spirited expression, trying to gauge the unfamiliarity of it.
“Help thy neighbour Krit. Done in public interest, not self,” he winked playfully. “And a little bit for my interest too. It’s fun to see you this baffled.” Prakriti released the breath she was unconsciously holding in her anxiety.
“Ishaan, how many times have I told you not to touch the mantle pieces,” Prakriti dashed across the room to the sofa corner.
Ishaan was skilfully balancing his one leg at the end of the sofa, and another on the glass table giving him the extra height to reach the glass mantle mounted on the wall. You should try rope walking kid, with that skill of yours. Actually, professional training should be considered by your irresponsible parents. My house is anyway a circus now. Prakriti succeeded in swallowing the words that were trying to dribble out of her impatient mouth. She picked up Ishaan by his waist and put him down on the floor. No struggle could let him out of her determined grip. He was about to open his mouth for the whiny whimpering but Prakriti took out a chocolate from one of her apron pockets. Ammo for an emergency. Ankur has stocked up a pile of these damage-controls for situations like these.
He is too careful and caring for his claims of being indifferent to kids, Prakriti thought. She’s been meditating on this suddenly sprouted feeling for quite some days. The slight illumination that she has been noticing on Ankur’s face each time he talked about Ishaan was bothering her.
The first day of college when she had dropped her I-card in the hallway, a nerdy boy with black, thick-rimmed glasses trailed after her till the second-floor classroom. “Are you Prakriti? If not can you give it to your twin sister? The one who looks like you in this picture.” This PJ from a serious and bookworm kind of face had seemed weird to Prakriti that day. Later when he became her best friend, she realised that this natural way of delivering words without knowing that it may be in the league of the worst PJs made her fall in love with him; he was never trying to impress anyone.
Prakriti used to be the ‘popular girl’ when she was in school. She was attractive and charming, approached by many boys. The same trend followed her to the college, only with a different congregation of admirers. You are little kids whom I could have babysat if I liked kids, she would think of all her fans. She started college one year later than everyone else. She had had a lot of friends in school, but she never talked to anyone in college except for Ankur. She had also got the tag of ‘snob’ for that, which she didn’t care about.
Ishaan was rampaging all across the hall like a toy-car on four double-excel batteries. At this rate, my house will soon be an aftermath of an untamed child’s unleashed rampage. I wish Ankur would come home right now. It’s impossible for me to take care of this wild child. There’s the same stabbing pain in her stomach. It is like this everytime when a child is before her eyes. ”Masi, can you please keep an eye on the kid? I have to go to the bathroom for a moment. Today has to be the day for Ankur’s presentation. How am I supposed to manage this little trouble by myself?” The maid came out of the kitchen for her to take the bathroom break.
She was standing on the wet floor facing the mirror, lifting the hem of her T-shirt. The scar is still there. The darkness has lessened a tiny bit. But it still hurts like it was yesterday. She was screaming on the hospital bed, just after waking up as soon as her anaesthesia wore off. The entire hospital was infused with her wails. The doctors told her parents that if she didn’t stop crying her stitches were going to come off. Her mother had tried to pacify her as many ways as she could. “You couldn’t have kept the baby Kritu, no matter what. We wouldn’t have let you be an eighteen-year-old unmarried mother. It’s better this way. The baby has gone to a better place. It will be born again in a good family with great parents who will love it with their everything.”
A salty trickle ran down her right cheek. “Didi are you done? I am getting late.” Prakriti straightened the t-shirt and opened the door to the knocking. “Yes. Done. This kid is making me crazy, I tell you.”
“You’ll know once you have your own, Didi.” Prakriti stared at the maid’s intrusive smile with her empty eyes. “I don’t like k…kids,” she cleared the lump in her throat, and attempted confidence in her voice.
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Love to read almost everything except Maths and Bio-Chem-Phy of Science. Kind of
I loved your story. The narration is good, the plot seems lovely and yes, I loved Ankur… kind of. 🙂
And the twist in the end, oh it seemed so powerful yet poignant. Keep writing
Thank you for the lovely comment Rashmi.
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