The story would need acquaintance with these words:Bhaiya – brother
Bhabhi – sister-in-law
Chachu – uncle (father’s younger brother)
Devarji – younger brother-in-law
The Venus Strikes
As she descended the stairs, Tushar’s heart skipped a beat.
Tushar was accompanying his brother Sahil and his sister-in-law Vani, to the airport to receive a couple. It was a big day for his family and Tushki, as Tushar was fondly called, also wanted to be a part of this moment. Standing in that aisle with other recipients, Tushki seemed no less than some Greek God. And he was quite proud of his handsomeness. So much so that he had rejected all the proposals that his beloved Bhaiya and Bhabhi ever brought up. Vani had once said, “Tushki, you enjoy turning down proposals, don’t you? It’s just a game for you. But what if you fall for some Venus and she rejects you?” Tushki had laughed it off “Venus! Yes, Venus she will be and it will not be long before I find her”.
As Tushki looked from that aisle, it seemed his search had ended. He had forgotten all about his brother, his Bhabhi and the couple. All the thoughts had turned vapory as soon as he cast his eyes upon her. “The flight has come, Tushki. Hold the board straight or they will not be able to locate us in this crowd”. Tushki’s reverie broke only when Sahil spoke and he was about to ask “What board?” when Sahil himself took the board that read “VARYUSHA AND ALEXEI FLANDERS”, the name of the couple in bold and distinct black letters, from his hands and stepped forward. “Go, call your Bhabhi”. Tushki was upset with his brother but his anger lasted only for a minute. “If she is in the town, we will definitely meet. After all it is not a big town, is it?” he thought and he left to bring Vani from the car park.
The eight years of Vani’s married life had been blissful and beautiful and Sahil was a perfect partner. All together they were a happy family: Tushar, Sahil and Vani … or so it seemed.
Their happiness enveloped the wound they all silently nursed. Two years ago, Vani and Sahil had lost their only son to cancer. Sahil and Vani had accepted their fate in silence. They appeared normal on the outside but inside they were both broken and they were both pining. Time had not acted as a healer. With each passing day, the pain had only increased.
26th Dec, 2004: On that beautiful, sunny day Vani had gone shopping with some of her friends. Sahil had been idling away his time on net when he chanced upon a card that had Mother Miriam gazing adorably at baby Christ in her lap on it.
Old wounds started bleeding again. Sahil stood at the window looking out in emptiness with tears rolling down his cheeks when Tushki came to his room. Tushki saw the card on the screen and then walked across the room to the window and gently placed his hand on Sahil’s shoulders. “Bhaiya “.Sahil turned around, held his brother’s hand in his own and said “You know what, Vani is not as happy as she looks. I know her. That’s the way she is. She seems tough from outside but every night she cries herself to sleep and she thinks I know nothing about it. I …. I do not have words to comfort her. In fact, no words can comfort her. I know there is a void in her heart that I cannot fill up. I can liven up her spirits by gifts, by spending time with her but how do I pacify a mother who longs to rock cradles, longs to sing lullabies”.
“Bhaiya, why don’t you adopt a child”.
“To love a child unconditionally, Tushki? It’s not easy”. Before Tushki could make any comment the door sprang open and Vani came in shouting, “Switch on the television. God! Somebody save mankind from this disaster. Both of you, have you any news about what’s happening?”
“Why, nothing. Everything was fine two minutes back. Wasn’t it, Tushki?”
“Yes …. Yes, Bhaiya “.
“As if it takes years for the calamity to strike.”
And Tsunami became the hot new topic of discussion and all other thoughts were laid back.
That night Vani lay awake in her bed, Sahil asked her if all was well. “I was just thinking how many children would be rendered orphan, with nobody to care for them”.
“Dear, don’t think that hard.”
“Sahil, swear by God, that you were not thinking about it.”
“Vani, what difference do our thoughts make. All we can do is pray and as far as helping the victims, we can surely send some money in relief funds.”
“Sahil, what if we were dead and our son alive! Would you not want somebody to take care of him?”
“Don’t talk in riddles, Vani!”
“It’s simple, Sahil! Only that you don’t want to understand.’
“You and Tushki, both beat the same drum. I think I need to give it a thought.”
“Odds are two to one, dear, so you lose. I know you will be a good father.”
“And you a good mother.”
Outside, the dark black clouds of night were parting away as the rays of dawn filtered into the room through curtains.
With Vani comfortable with the thought of adoption, Sahil gave in and so next morning they were all surfing the web-sites of various orphanages and that’s how they met Alyosha.
Alyosha had been rescued from the ocean where she had been found floating in a cane crib amongst the wreckage of the ship ripped apart by Tsunami ocean waves. Miraculously, she had been the lone survivor of that ship and had been rendered as an orphan and homeless by the calamity that struck on 26th Dec, 2004. The girl had been taken in by the orphanage managed by Varyusha and Alexei Flanders. Alexei had fallen in love with the baby girl the moment he set his eyes on her and had named her Alyosha (Alexei, with love) after himself. But both Varyusha and Alexei knew that Alyosha will have to go one day. They tried hard not to cry as they put her name on the list of children for adoption on their web-site.
Varyusha and Alexei were surprised to hear about a prospective family for Alyosha in less than a day. Then started the long process of formalities to ensure that the family would take appropriate care of Alyosha. When the online formalities were complete, it was decided that Varyusha and Alexei would fly over with baby to meet the family in person and discuss the legalities and double check all the information provided to them online.
Vani was literally crying at the thought of holding Alyosha in her hands as she sat in car park of the airport.
“Bhabhi, be quick, what on earth are you doing here. The flight has come. Be quick.”
“How does she look, Tushki?”
“Bhabhi, I haven’t seen her as yet. I have come to fetch you. Will they not be disappointed to see Bhaiya alone? So, hurry up now.”
“Alright, alright, Chachu. “
They laughed at the little joke as they hastily walked towards aisle where Sahil was standing.
Standing in that aisle, Tushki saw his Venus again, this time walking towards the recipients. Tushki too wanted to walk towards her and talk to her and was thinking of some possible getaway when all of sudden, he found her standing before him, smiling gently and holding a perambulator and standing beside her was her husband Alexei Flanders.
After Varyusha’s visit, Tushki tied the nuptial knot with the first proposal his Bhabhi brought up.
“So at last, the Venus has struck you, Devarji.”
“Very hard, Bhabhi, very hard.”