It was six in the morning and Taru’s fists moved fast on the dough she was kneading .She was running late today owing to her late night studies.This was happening more often lately and she must get organised to catch up on her studies, she reprimanded herself.Dad peeped in to tell her to hurry up and to inform her that her clothes was ironed and ready.Kid brother sauntered in looking for some tlc and milk.Taru gave both… and satisfied, his small frame retreated into the living room and plonked on the sofa to steal a few minutes more of his precious early morning sleep.
Taru rushed to have a bath and nudged her kid brother on her way so he too would start getting ready for school.After you di ,his replied lazily with shut eyes.She knew his routine by now,he would snooze till she came out of her bath and then a gentle shake later he would proceed to have his bath.She sometimes wondered,whether he actually bathed,his entry and exit to and from the bathroom was so quick!! It wasn’t too long ago,when mother lovingly helped him get ready for school. Minutes later off they went, but not before they waived to their mother sleeping in the next room. Both wanted to believe she acknowledged but neither was sure..Dad finished with the cooking bit and after making sure that his wife had eaten,he quickly left for office wondering and keeping his finger crossed that he and the kids will be greeted by a kind,smiling Siya in the evening.
Her presence was sorely missed by the small close-knit family and the physical form curled on the bed was just a shadow of the wife and mother they knew only so well .She had been like this for the past few years and it was getting worse by the day.Medicines ,contrary to what the doctors had promised were making things no easier.It was a struggle to pull through each day with a straight face,projecting that everything was normal when it surely was not.It was telling on their family,social and professional lives.Taru couldn’t explain her grades or lack of them..dad was finding it more and more difficult to come up with excuses to stay away from official tours and the kid often wondered why his ever-loving mom at times looked and behaved so scary.
They were thankful to Arti aunty who had volunteered to take care of Siya during the day when they were away.Her husband ,a close friend of dad dropped her off every morning before leaving for work .The arrangement suited everyone.
One evening ,after dinner ,Taru heard a soft voice drifting in the verandah outside her brother’s room.She recognized her mom’s voice and came out to check. There she found Siya perched on the bed with her son,both intently looking at a frame.She entered the room longing to be part of it,..it had been so long ago ..and she missed the closeness,the hugs.Taru looked at the frame,Siya introduced the couple in the photograph as Sudha and Sudhanshu. Alarmed ,Taru looked at her kid brother.. he sat there with downcast eyes ,unable to react..Siya was quick to spot the hesitation .With all her might she flung the frame screaming .”Here take them away,my only friends in this world,you think by turning them against me,you can break me?No way..I know all your plans,I can hear them even while I am asleep..” So saying,she picked up a broom and the next moment came down heavily on Taru.Taru yelped in pain as the kid escaped into his fast approaching dad’s arms.
Her anger peaked for some time and then exhausted she lay on the bed staring at the door.Dad carefully gathered the shattered glass and extracted the photograph that he and Siya got clicked shortly after their wedding .He knew better not to wonder who Sudha and Sudhanshu were.His wife was hallucinating again.
He tucked the children in their beds and closed the door behind him.Tomorrow is another day he consoled himself for the umpteenth time.
Sleep was nowhere close in the three pairs of eyes or was it four..