“ Oh God ! Already 8 .30 ! Today again i have to face the humiliating harsh words of the stupid manager ” murmured Mrs. Kalpana while lifting the cooker whistle to fasten her speed. Breakfast is cooked. Lunch is half way. Sharp at 9 am, The inconsiderate manager wants all his employees to appear in bank. Kalpana is the only working person to income for her family. Never wants to risk this bank job, keeping the future of her two daughters in mind and the dreams, she has dreamt for them.
Preethi in class 7th and Keerthi in 6th.
The cooker blows out 3 loud whistles. Being irritated by the pitchy sound, her husband drags up the blanket and shouts, “ kalpana ! Please keep closing the kitchen door when you cook.” And tries hard to nap back to already 10 hours long sleep.
Ignoring the voice as if she has listened none, Kalpana kept increasing the cooking bowl’s hubbub sounds and yelled, “ sweethearts ! Its 9. Your boxes are done. Are you both ready? School bus wil horn in a while.” Racing between kitchen and hall, She continued, “ Hurry up gals ! Do fast with your uniforms and rush out !” Bringing out their school bags to table, she shouted again, “Keerthi Have you worn your socks? ”
Struggling with her socks the little demon growls, “ Mom ! You know i cant wear socks and you stil roar at me.” Ordering Preethi to help Keerthi with her socks, the swamping mother smiles and says, “ If You had once asked your Dad to help you out, then today this simple deed would not have bothered you this much.” Both the girls frown and scowl at a time, “ Mom ! Are you serious ? Do you really think Dad wil help ?”
Now, the made silent mom leaves to kitchen. the girls to school. And unbothered by all these disagreeable situations, the Dad peeps out of the blanket and rests on the sofa. Pretending to be unaffected by his kids comments, he looks through the window and mumbles, “ What’s my mistake? Why do my kids percept me wrong ! Unlike Kalpana.”
Kalpana comes out hurriedly being ready for the bank and says, “ Tiffin and lunch. Both are on table, Sameer. ” while taking the scooty keys, She ties up her white saree to be away from mud spill, takes her boxes and repeats,“ wil be back soon honey.” She leaves. Stepping down the stairs, she stops half way. Returns back. Locks the door from outside and races back.
Exhausted Kalpana returns home . Unlocks the door. Gives a smile to Sameer. keeps her vanity on table. Dumps the uneaten breakfast and lunch lying on table into the bin. Makes hot coffee. Keeps a cup near Sameer. And takes a sip herself.
Bell rang. Jumped in, the two little girls. Threw the school bags. While removing her socks, Keerthi repeated her daily question, “Mom. Did Dad come out of his photo and eat your food ? Then why do you keep for him, daily ?”
While lighting the Incense sticks (Agarbatti),Kalpana smiles and says, “ Yes baby. Your Daddy eats daily. You just need to feel it. ” She cleaned the photo. Put the sticks infront. Repeated,“ He PROMISED me. He wil be there with Me Forever… til I die. And i TRUST his PROMISE.”
Confused kids grin.
Sameer smiles. Gets up from the chair. Gives Kalpana a tight and long hug. As usual, She ignores and passes THROUGH him to the kitchen to prepare dinner for Four.
The spirit disappears and reappears in Kitchen, to hug her again.
– Dr. Rajkumar Patra