Categories
Blue Moon Stories

Adoption

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.

Categories
Blue Moon Stories

My Pumbaba

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It is raining. Mumbai. There are vehicles going by, cars are splashing water on the people standing at the bus stop, drains are overflowing, trees are bathing, umbrellas are giving up and turning upside down…and while a hundred different things are happening all at the same time, a beautiful piece of music binds everything together closely into one- the music of the rainwater! And suddenly, I am not alone anymore; there is familiar warmth of an old memory with me.

I must have been six years old when sitting at his feet, I would hum with him the notes he sang. I tried my best to sound like him. A big water cooler in the living room made a whirring noise that was a background note for everything and everyone in the house. As I sang, he would stop me and tell me to listen, listen closely and blend into the ‘sur’ the cooler made. When I finally started hearing the ‘sur’ of the cooler, I was ecstatic. Not only could I hear the music of the cooler, but I could also now hear music in the running tap water, in the New Year Eve’s campfire, in the drone of the refrigerator, in the wind that blew on a particularly windy day and in a truck’s horn. It was limitless. His music had entered me.

My Pumbaba was one of the most original men I met in my life- the kind of man who has seen the world in all its glory and gloom and could still see everything as it is, without colored glasses. He was my compass. I was grateful to be his grand-daughter. And I left it unsaid.

For a few months after he died, I dreamt of him every single night. In most of my dreams, he would just be sitting in one corner of the room, quietly, with his hands folded across his chest. And I kept looking at him trying to judge if he thought what I was doing was okay. Then one day, he was gone from my dreams. I would not see him every night. I called my mother and wept about it that day. “You will reach him wherever he is if only you sing, Aneesha”, she told me.

Today, every time I sing a song, every time I even hear a wonderfully sung song, I know he understands. It was he, afterall, who taught me this beautiful language that even words cannot corrupt. It is his music that is within me, deep in my genes. I still miss him, but I don’t need to see him in my dreams anymore.

Categories
Blue Moon Stories

Bitter

I never sent you any music just so you could listen to the beautiful pieces and appreciate them. I always wanted you to read into them. Dig all those links up! All ten years of those files I ever sent you! And read into them!