Its been such a long time since I have written an OS.
I hope you enjoy. Do leave me your feedback!
Haven’t proof read.. pls ignore the mistakes.
~Close To My Heart~
“Do you think this is easy for me Maan?” her voice trembled, her fingers curled into fists by her side and her tears brimming her eyes.
“I know Geet, it is not, but I am trying right? Can’t you give me space?”, he shouted back at her.
“How much more space you want? Tell me. You are never for me Maan and I never complain. I know you are busy with work but have you ever thought about me? Having a child and quitting job and adjusting to everything… it is not! and you are not helping at all.”
“So, it is because of your job right! You don’t want to stay home then I won’t stop you Geet. Just stop blaming everything on me! And leave me alone.”
He walked out, leaving a distressed Geet behind. she hung her head low and her hairs veiled her face. she took a sharp breath in and let her tears roll down! What has become of them? She wanted to fall down on her knees and cry her heart out and she would have probably done that, had not the sweet voice of her baby brought her back to reality.
Her tiny hands held her mother by her waist, almost at the verge of crying.
Geet stopped immediately and wiped away her tears. She had to stay strong. She wiped those useless tears with the back of her hands and braced a smile on her face. with the flick of her hairs, she faced her baby with a familiar twinkle in her eyes.
“yes baby.”, she kneeled down and took little Suhana in her arms.
“you and papa fight again?”
Geet felt sad, more importantly guilty for making little Suhana witness such a thing. She was hardly 6. She should have been a bit more mature and a bit more careful. It was only 8 in the morning and they had started their usual banter.
“No Suhana. Mamma and papa were not fighting.”, she spoke lovingly.
“then why you crying?”, she asked innocently, trailing the line of dried tears on her cheeks.
She braved another smile, “Mamma wasn’t crying. Something went into her eyes so it was hurting.”
Suhana gave a nod and hugged her mother tightly.
“Come on, your bus will be here soon. We still have to get you wear your shoes na… hurry up now.”
Little Suhana watched her mother wave a goodbye to her as the bus travelled to her school.
She sat all alone in the grass during her recess and thought of her parents. They were fighting this morning. she knew. She didn’t know why but her papa seemed so angry at mamma all the time. And her mamma tried to do everything right but even then she lost her cool too. Even she shouted at papa too. She felt lonely. She could recall the day when her parents had taken her to the water park and they had loads of fun. But now, they didn’t seem to go out together any more. Papa seemed to be very busy with some project and mamma was busy at home. And she cried.
Geet waited for her darling daughter to get off the bus so that she could ask her about her school, about her friends and about her teachers. That was her favourite part of the day where she sat and listened to her baby. And then she walked down, with her head hung low, very unlike the chirpy bird that she was. And then there was her teacher beside her, holding her hand. Geet wondered if something was wrong and rushed to them.
“Suhana? Is something wrong?”, she turned to her teacher, “is everything okay with her?”
“yes she is fine I guess. But Mrs. Khurana, is something wrong? She had been missing from class post recess and when i went to look for her, i found her sitting under a tree and crying. And when I asked her if she was hurt or something, she didn’t answer.”
Geet’s heart cried. She immediately picked up her child in her arms and hugged her. thanking her teacher, she walked back towards their apartment, thinking about what could have upset her baby so much. Suhana was a cheerful child. And her dullness today was worrying her.
She watched her sad face as she helped her change into fresh clothes and fed her snacks.
“Suhana, your teacher told me you were crying. Why beta?”
She didn’t answer. She kept watching cartoon while Geet fed her.
“Suhana, tell me baby, what happened?”
Suhana looked up at her and Geet’s heart constricted seeing that forlorn look on her face.
“did someone hurt you?”
She shook her head in denial.
“did someone trouble you beta?”
She again shook her head and went into her lap. Geet hugged her tightly,
wondering what could have gone wrong.
she carried her to their room and placed her on the bed and herself lied down beside her.
“if you don’t tell mamma what is wrong, how will she help you Suhana! Tell me.”
She looked at Geet and sighed, her tiny pink mouth slightly open at her breathing.
“Do you love papa?”
Geet was surprised with her question and propped herself on her elbow, looking down at her baby.
“yes of course darling, Mamma loves papa a lot.”
“then don’t fight please. People who love each other do not fight.”
She remained still, aghast at what she heard from the little one. Their fights had been consistent now. And whatever Suhana had witnessed in the morning had affected her badly. She felt like crying, more out of guilt for she hadn’t been able to protect Suhana from the after effects of their fight. What were they doing? They had issues but Suhana was paying for them. And perhaps that was the reason why she had been crying in school.
She couldn’t answer anything then. She just caressed suhana’s hairs until she fell asleep but then she couldn’t sleep. Along with Suhana, the afternoons had become her nap time too. Ohh how everything changes with the advent of a child! She smiled sadly at her daughter and got off the bed.
She had nothing to do. she had to finish everything at home before Suhana came back so that she could dedicate her time to her. After all, when did being a mother become so easy? She sat on the couch in the bright sunny afternoon, took out the photo album and browsed through the memories that made her happy and sad at the same time.
She had met Maan 9 years ago in the most unromantic way possible. She was riding her scooty to drop her cousin Chintu in his summer camp, precisely a hockey training camp. They were speeding but the red light of the traffic brought them to a sudden halt. But then someone had hit her darling scooty from the behind. enraged, she had gotten down to see a bike, sticking to her scooty, totally smashing the back lights. and then she had seen Maan, apologizing profusely for the damage. He had a pretty lame excuse of speeding in traffic and couldn’t control the brakes. He had a friend sitting behind him. they were even ready to pay her a full amount for the damage. But when had Geet handa understood simpler things? An eye for an eye was what she has believed. She had taken chintu’s hockey stick and smashed the head lights of his bike.
She smiled recalling the sweet memories. She had even taken the full amount of her damage in cash too. Maan still teased her about it. they had kept bumping into each other until they fell in love and gotten married a year later.
Maan made a wonderful partner. He was starting his own firm in partnership with Arjun, the pillion rider friend of his and despite being overtly busy, he made sure she never lacked anything. he had called her his lucky charm because he thought he flourished only when she had come to his life. His firm was going perfect and her job was awesome. They had a happy time. When they knew they lacked something, they had decided to bring Suhana to life and this little bundle of joy was their lifeline.
But things change with time. And perhaps Maan had changed. He kept busier and even busier with every passing day. And with Suhana being just a baby, she quit her job. Maan had protested but she didn’t want to put Suhana to day care centres. Suhana as a baby was a weak child and Geet realized she needed her all the time.
As time passed, she felt certain emptiness creeping within her. Maan was busy, Suhana was growing up but something was amiss in her life, she felt. Not that she didn’t like staying home, in fact she loved being there for Suhana all the time and she loved it even more to greet Maan when he was back. But at times she felt lonely. Life felt monotonous. Suhana filled the void to some extent but she missed Maan. She missed being with him, she missed laughing with him and most importantly she missed talking to him. he came late at nights, usually by the time she’d have slept off. he was busy on weekends too for his work and whenever he had time, it would be spent in him just catching up with his sleep and Suhana. She felt she didn’t exist anymore and perhaps thats why she had stopped talking to him, more out of anger.
And that anger came out as bitter words. Hurting him, hurting her and hurting Suhana in the process too. She didn’t want to pain anyone but Suhana’s condition made her feel guilty. She felt like she was the culprit. Perhaps she could be more mature and take a step towards a healthier relation with Maan. After all, no relationship works in the absence of a compromise.
Maan sat with Suhana on his lap, by the window, both watching the rain and talking anything and everything. it was a Sunday and he had stayed back home after a long time. He watched his baby talk animatedly about her school, her friends and her animal friends in the compound.
“papa, when you take mamma and Suhana out?”
He sighed regretfully. He pressed a kiss on her forehead, “very soon my love.”
“first take mamma out okay? Suhana will go later.”
“and why does Suhana wants to stay back?”
“because papa spent more time with Suhana but papa has no time for mamma. She is sad.”
“and who told you that?”, he asked surprised.
“No one. Mamma was crying. Suhana saw her crying after papa left yesterday.”
He felt something pinch him from within. Geet was crying? Geet was crying! Never in his life he had even thought of making her cry and yet she was upset. Hearing suhana made him realize how old his daughter has become. More than that, he realized they had fought again. he had fought again. what had become of them?
He looked towards the open door hoping to catch a glimpse of his wife who was working in the kitchen but then he couldn’t. Suhana talked and talked telling what all she did with her mother the whole week while he just waited.
“…and mamma told me story of how you met her!”
“yes yes! She broke your bike!”
Suhana was all in splits, holding her tummy as if she were there to witness the whole thing. It brought back so many memories to Maan and how feisty that woman was. And he realized how quiet she had become these days. In fact it was him who had shouted at her for no reason the previous day. She just remained quiet and took it all upon herself. He felt a pain engulf him. he felt sad. He had been busy and whenever he was back, she was always busy, either with the household chores or with Suhana. And perhaps thats why they had drifted apart. But then how could he forget that she was the one who kept his heart intact… she kept their child safe and fulfilled duties of him towards Suhana that he couldn’t due to his busy schedule!
“papa… papa… are you listening?”,Suhana cupped his face with her tiny plump hands and made him face her.
“yes beta, tell me.”
“who is close to your heart?”
He smiled, hugging Suhana tighter, “Suhana is close to my heart!”
They laughed and talked a lot more but he missed her. she never interfered when he was with Suhana. He didn’t need to ask her the reason. He knew it was because of the very less time he spends with their daughter. So she let them be, together, alone, not intruding and not letting anyone intrude either. She was a fiercely protective woman!
Lunch surprised him because she had spread out all his favourites, starting from matar paneer to the gajar ka halwa at the end. He watched her serve him and help suhana as she played with the food. He tried to catch her eye but she avoided. She was upset, he knew!
“Suhana, no playing with food. Its bad habit.”, she chided, trying to feed her.
“mamma, tell me who is close to your heart?”
Geet eyed her confused, “what is that supposed to mean?”
“no no tell me.”
“Suhana, who puts all this in your head?”
“no tell me…please. papa told Suhana is close to his heart. now you tell me.”
Geet sighed, still not meeting Maan in the eye.
“If i tell, you have to finish the food. Okay?”
Suhana nodded hurriedly, “tell me mamma.”
Geet smiled, “okay. Papa is close to my heart and so is Suhana!”
She had taken a step ahead! She had taken a step towards him! the mention of him from her lips made him happy and sad, all at the same time. This is how she cherished him. all the food was for him…to show him she cares! And what a fool he was to have thought that they were drifting apart! Yes, they were at odds but then which couple doesn’t go through it? he felt overwhelmed! He felt loved!
The lunch was a quiet affair but he had to make her realize too that he hadn’t changed! Circumstances have changed and they have been victims of it. but this was new to him. a new way to express love, without actually giving away anything.
Geet felt like crying! Stitching was the only thing she was very bad at! And Suhana’s school demanded her terrible weakness. The school held annual fete where children put up stalls of various kinds and the parents participate too. And this time Suhana’s class took the theme of Best from Waste’.
She sat on the carpet with a dejected look and Suhana sat down to console her.
“Mamma… don’t worry. We can do it.”
“yes Suhana, we can do it, but stitching?”, Geet whined.
Suhana knew her mother’s weakness but she couldn’t help it when her teacher asked her to get something stitched by her mother so that they could sell it in their stall. But a task was at hand and it had to be done. Geet and Suhana prepared small kerchiefs and decorated old mittens with glitters and stars and other decorative paraphernalia.
She looked at the time and saw it striking 9pm. Maan would be late again! she sighed sadly. He never called. She fed suhana and both sat again to finish the stitching thing. Geet had taken out an old cashmere scarf of Maan’s and decided to make some random designs. It was grey in color so both decided to use pink and white threads.
Geet knew basic stitching but embroidering something was a bad idea. She had pricked Maan’s skin while stitching his button once, and then he had never asked her to stitch anything. she knew she was bad but Suhana’s hopeful eyes was her undoing!
The clock struck 12am and he entered the silent house, tired! He had mentally decided to take his family for a trip once he was done with the project. And then his eyes fell on the most beautiful sight of his life. His wife sat on the floor, resting her head on the couch and sleeping peacefully. Little Suhana slept on her
mother’s lap. They both were perhaps doing some project together.
With all his tiredness gone and a smile adoring his lips, he went to them and gently put away the stuffs. He tried to lift Suhana in his arms but she woke up with the movement and squealed seeing her father.
“shhh.” He smiled and gestured her to be quiet. He pressed a kiss on her cheek,
“mamma is sleeping. Let her.”
“umm!”, she nodded her head vigorously.
“Now, can suhana go to her room all by herself?”
“yes yes, Suhana is a big girl now!”
“very good then. Let papa help mamma get to her room too.”
She giggled watching her papa lift her mamma in his arms. Maan narrowed his brows at her and she put her hands on her mouth, muffling her voice. She loved it when her mamma and papa were together and she loved it even more when they did something this beautiful. She followed her father to their room and watched him gently place her mother on the bed and press a kiss on her forehead.
Maan took Suhana to his room and tucked her in her bed, “now sleep. You have school tomorrow.”
She sat up and gave a sloppy kiss to Maan on his cheeks, “Mamma is close to papa’s heart too!”
He smiled at his little angel and went back to his room, making sure she slept well. He changed and sat beside Geet and watched her sleep. She felt a little heavy when he had lifted her. she has put on weight perhaps! He laughed mentally, knowing how mad she’d get if he told her fat. But then he thought otherwise. He was getting old! Geet wasn’t at fault. She looked tired and slept with the world forgotten! He ran a finger on her cheeks and let her sleep.
The next morning, she found herself wrapped in his arms, his breath falling on her forehead and his soft snores enlivening the otherwise silent room. It took her sometime to realize that she was in their room and perhaps he’d have carried her. she raised her head to watch him sleep so peacefully! His one arm rested below his head while the other wrapped around her, holding her close. She felt the corner of her eyes burn… when was the last time they were even this close? When was the last time he had held her like this? When was the last time when she had seen him so closely? That thick mesh of hair, that forehead marred with stress, those sinfully beautiful lips… all so a distant dream now stood right in front of her as a naked reality. Had it not been his hold, she’d perhaps thought she was dreaming. But she knew better! when was the last time they had slept this peacefully? When was the last time she had woken up to his beautiful face?
He stirred a bit and she quickly blinked her tears away, trying to get away from him. but he had held her back and pulled her close on him.
“running away, eh wild cat?”, his drowsy voice and that endearment felt like warm chocolate ganache pouring on her. its been so long that he had called her a
wild cat. He had started this name for her since the day she had broken the headlights of his bike. And it brought back to her so many memories and so many forgotten emotions!
“I… I have to wake Suhana up.”, she tried getting a grip on herself and pushed his hand away. But she had not known his intentions perhaps. He got up and rushed behind her. she was about to open the door, when he had pulled her back to him and kissed her hard and good. She was surprised but she couldn’t have fought it! she had longed for his one touch for a long time now. She had craved for it and she had pined for it like a desperate destitute in dire need of a means of survival.
He had missed her too. Her kiss said it all about the turmoil she went through every single day. When was the last time when they had kissed each other like this? Both couldn’t remember. But then they were creating another memory. Another string to hold on to. A new bridge to walk on!
They broke apart, breathless and flushed and she had a deep shade of red settled on her cheeks. His fingers ran over her supple cheeks, making her shiver and his eyes held her captive. She felt herself melting… so very slowly with each centimetre of her skin that his fingers grazed.
The alarm clock went off like it was on fire. She, holding her thudding heart in her fists, had run away. He smiled, seeing her still so shy, like the first time they had kissed and went back to freshen up.
She stood in the stall, feeling totally depressed, beside Suhana, waiting for people to buy her scarf. It was the annual fete and they had sold out most of the things but the scarf. She knew it was bad but, it wasn’t that bad! The other ladies who stood in the stall with their kids had all their stuffs sold. She even found a few ladies snickering at that odd looking scarf she kept. She got even more depressed and hoped someone came quickly and bought it. the embarrassment was too much!
“Will papa come?”, Suhana asked hopefully.
“I don’t know beta. He said he had an important meeting but he will try to.”
Suhana sighed sadly and Geet felt even sadder. She just prayed Maan made it for their daughter. It was a big day for Suhana and she was so hopeful.
“mamma… toilet!!”, Suhana pulled her dress.
Geet sighed and requested one of the ladies around to look out for the scarf and if someone came forward to buy, they could sell it for them and the kind lady had agreed! Thanking her profusely, Geet took Suhana towards the washrooms.
“where is the scarf?”, Geet panicked, when she saw her scarf missing from the display!
The lady beside her smiled, “Don’t worry Mrs Khurana, its been sold. And here, the money!”
She gave Geet the money and the mother daughter duo looked at each other, clueless.
“But who bought it?”, Geet asked out of curiosity, feeling happy that they sold the final thing.
“Ohh one kind man passed by and took the scarf!”
Geet and Suhana couldn’t bother about the man. They were happy that they managed to sell the scarf and that their hard work paid off. the rest of the day, they played in the game stalls, ate ice creams and got back home after a fun filled day!
One week passed and Geet still wondered who took the scarf. But then realizing how horrible it had come out with her stitching skills, she had taken sadistic pleasure in thanking her luck. It was a Saturday and Suhana had weekends off. Winter was approaching and there was a notable chill in the air.
“Suhana, put on your sweater and yes give papa his wallet.”, she called from kitchen.
She ran with the wallet and gave it to Maan. He kissed her and took his bag, ready to leave. As he walked out of the door, Suhana noticed something dangling out of the half closed chain of his bag and a cute laughter erupted from her lips.
It was the hideously embroidered grey cashmere scarf!