The midnight ringing of the phone
left him panicking. His hands trembled as he picked up the receiver. The heart was in his mouth – “at this late hour, I hope all is well”. With
a dry and a just-woke-up throat, he managed whispering a “hello”. That was the only word he spoke. That and “You take care, I am on my way” at the
end. He packed a few clothes hurriedly. No fear, no sleep, just plain
meticulous working – things going in bags, things getting done. Alert mind
working and thinking. Why, he even texted his boss!
He had arranged a pick up for himself.
As soon as the taxi arrived, he hauled his bag. Bags and a child safety seat. As the taxi zoomed through the traffic, he
relaxed. Or, he tried to relax. He called her up but got no reply. The beads of
sweat started trickling again. He was cursing himself. “Why am I not with her – now, when she needs me the most.” His high
profile, busy life – carried no meaning now. He had not been there for her birthdays,
anniversaries and now - when she was in hospital. Yes, he was right to curse himself. His silent prayers rose – “Keep her safe, Lord. I love her.”
Every second brought him nearer
to her – and, this gave him strength. The
red light of the OT was switched on when he reached the hospital. He tried to
calm down. She was in there.
He sat, he stood, he paced and he
waited. They came out at length. The nurse eyed his stuff and giggled, “You really should have got a pink car seat,
sir”. “A pink car seat??” “Yes sir, I am told, girls her age, like pink
color the best.” His eyes watered. She held his hand and patted it. She had
seen many like him. “Yes sir, the
prettiest daughter – both she and the mother are safe. You may see them now.”
I am late in making submission to the Trifecta : week Seventeen but nevertheless, I am sharing my take on the photo-challenge of this week.
Every morning Gran rises before
dawn. She readies herself for the impending day – beginning with the chanting
of the prayers loudly. With her back stooped and slow walk - she goes around
the house, handling the small stuff in her reach. By the time, we wake up, she
has already said her prayers and washed her clothes, and had her early morning
breakfast. Then she plans her short trip to the temple. Almost every morning.
She goes out, as I say, on a date with the almighty. Almost every morning.
Sometimes ,the weather and sometimes the troubles that come with the age come
in between and disrupt the pilgrimage. That and sometimes the monkeys.
Yeah! The monkeys – the army of
Lord Hanuman – that sits on guard at almost every parapet of the locality – in search
of food and survival. They look menacing and they act menacingly. They are averse
to flowers blooming in the gardens and clothes drying on the lines. They are
averse to birds making merry and they are averse to kids eating fruits. Why the
other day, they snatched away my share of melons and sat there eating it greedily – enough to drive me crazy. And dare not mess with their members or
kids – the army will have its revenge.
I hear my Gran tapping the stick
loudly against the metal rails of the balcony. The army is spread – invading the
houses and blocking her path. I look out – the loud bang has dispersed them
slightly – at least the smaller ones have run away. She repeats the banging
again and again – till they have all hid themselves from the ominous stick. But
this fear is temporary. Oh! It will not be long before the trouble is back.
He felt the thunder of thoughts in his mind - that his heart had stopped for a while - a very short while.
And in that brief moment, he saw his entire life with her.
He had never felt so complete before - so alive ever before.
He had never felt this love before.
The thunderbolt had finally struck him.