Read Part1 here
Read Part2 here
“Whatever happens… ?“ did Amma just say that! Asha choked on these words and tear welled up her eyes. She turned her face away and secretly wiped the tears on her t-shirt sleeves. Her mother sensed her discomfort. She hugged the girl and wept mumbling between sobs,” I didn’t mean that. It is all going to be fine. I will be fine. We will be fine. Nothing is going to happen to me.”
That night when Asha cried, something changed. Her mother had realized how much pressure it was on a child who is twelve. She felt miserable that she had no plan, no idea no way figured out. All she knew was the money could be put to some use when Asha grew up. She thought about it the whole night. Her mind was suddenly occupied with a thought that had never crossed her mind. There was a strange excitement about this thought. “What if?” she caught herself wondering and shuddered at the possibilities. Helplessness burdened her. There is no place for a woman who walks out on her man. But could she just disappear into the darkness and never see him again? What about Asha? She couldn’t leave her behind. Tears poured as she snubbed the thought of killing herself and the daughter to end it all. “No, I will never do that. I will be a bloody woman if I do.”
When Asha got up the next morning, she found her mom in the kitchen, as usual. But there was something different about her. She had never seen Amma like this ever before. She handed the coffee cup to Appa before he even asked for it. She added a couple of biscuits too. It all felt awkward. Amma had always had this look of a warrior; there was a subtle anger in everything she did, a sublime display of strength and resentment in her eyes. But, today she appeared like nothing touched her. There was no emotion, just a faint smile when she looked at Asha.
Little worried Asha left to school. Her mom had waved her and there was the faint smile again. She had to have faith in Amma. She thought about all the decisions Amma could take, did she decide we leave this place and settle far away from appa? She was a strong lady, but would she do that? She had never thought about it in all these years. Paralysed with thoughts she sat inattentive. “Asha? Asha? You need to go.” She shook from her thoughts when the teacher called out to her. “What happened?” she asked. “Your mother.. your mother..” the lady was struggling to find words. An intense pain rushed thought her heart,” What happened to my mother? Please!” The teacher finally spoke” Your mother is in the hospital. She is fine. But you need to go”
Asha jumped off from her school van and ran in the first direction she saw. She wanted to kill Appa. How could he? He was horrible but she always thought he couldn’t harm them- physically. She knew he couldn’t. How could he? A peon from the school who had accompanied her directed her to the room 306. She saw lot of police uniforms. She didn't know what to expect. She gulped down nasty thoughts nagging her mind and walked in. She found Amma, wrapped in bandages. One hand was in fracture plaster and her left leg was hung high. Her cheekbone was swollen and her face was red. There was a needle stuck to her arm and transparent liquid dripped. She sat next to her not knowing what else to do. Amma was sleeping. But there was a faint smile. She was beginning to wonder when the police officer called her,” Asha. I want you to answer a few questions. Your mother will be fine. She will recover soon. Can you talk to me now?” Asha looked at Amma and nodded. The officer asked her,” Think properly and tell me, could your father do this?” Asha turned around in disbelief. She looked at that faint smile on Amma’s face. She knew the truth. But she wanted sound unsure,” I think Appa did it.” The officer questioned her further,” Why would he do that? Can you remember anything happened yesterday or today morning?” By now she made up her mind she looked Amma, her faint smile. She had to have faith in her. She framed an answer and lied,” Appa did it. Amma and me used to save money- some coins. Appa wanted Amma to give him that money. They were fighting about it all the while- about the coin collection.”
P.S: Did the story move as expected? Did it take a nasty turn? Do find it believable? Any complaints? Any suggestions..? I am all ears.