I opened the door and quietly sneaked in. There was a lot of food in the kitchen; no one would notice a little missing. If Ma came in, I would tell her I was hungry again. I put rice and two chapatis in a plate and filled a bowl with daal. I didn’t take the cauliflower, because obviously no one liked vegetables. Then I slowly tiptoed to the store-room. Vicky was crouched behind the big drum, exactly the way I had left him. He looked frightened. I ran my hand over his head like Ma did to me at night. He seemed to relax and stared at the food. He was very hungry.
A few days ago, Ma and dada had sat me down and looked at each other. What was going on? Then Dada cleared his throat.
“Pihu, you are now a big girl, so we wanted to tell you something…”
Ma said quickly, “We love you very very much and that will never ever change…”
They told me I didn’t come from Ma’s tummy. Ma and Dada couldn’t have babies, so they went to a place that has lots of little babies like me and no mommys and daddys. And they took me home. I was very small, so I don’t remember.
“What about the other babies”, I asked.
“Some of them will also get new Mommy-Daddys like you…”
“Not all of them?”
Ma shook her head.
“Do you want to say something, Pihu?” Ma asked stroking my head.
“Yes. All those babies should get Mommys and Daddys.”
Ma and Dada hugged me.
Vicky had finished eating everything in the plate. He was looking at me with his big black eyes. There was so much dust on him, he would have to take a shower. But he didn’t know how to…
I bathed him and made him sleep in my bed at night. Next morning I got up and hid him in the bathroom before Dada came to wake me. Vicky listened to me and didn’t make any noise. But Ma smelled something and opened the bathroom door and screamed. Dada rushed into the bathroom. They were frightened. I was frightened too, for Vicky. So I became brave and spoke.
I had seen him and his mom outside my school every day of the last year. Whenever the school bus came late to pick us, I went and played with him and gave him my tiffin food. A week ago, I stopped seeing his mom. Vicky looked very sad; he sat in a corner and didn’t even lick me when I went near him. I wanted to adopt him like Ma and Dada had adopted me. So I brought him home and took care of him. Ma cried a little when I was telling the story.
This was one month ago. Now, Vicky is my brother and I am his older sister. I love to bathe him, feed him, take him for walks and play with him. He likes Ma a lot and she likes him too. But he is still a little afraid of Dada and Dada of him, so I hope they become friends soon. Yesterday, I saw them watching TV together. Ma says I should give them time. Adoption is not easy, no.