Savita Devi was very anxious but trying to control her pounding heartbeat. Carefully removing the red satin cloth, her Geeta was wrapped in, she began to read Krishna’s sermon to Arjun. Though she sensed negative energies dissipate, her eyes kept wandering to the door. She was waiting with bated breath for the bell to ring. Ding-dong! Chimed the doorbell.
Savita Devi shouted,” Sonu, darwaza khol de. Bhaiya aur Bhabhi aye honge.”
Sonu rushed to open the door and took Nimmi’s purse. Nimmi was Savita’s daughter-in-law, married to her son Ashok for the past six years. Savita looked expectantly at Nimmi’s pallid face. She understood, her wait of five years was not over yet. But she refrained from showing her disappointment.
“Ashok, go and freshen up, you had a long day at work,” she said and turned to Nimmi. “Mrs. Gupta is leaving for Haridwar next month, I am thinking of accompanying her.” Nimmi understood maa was avoiding the sensitive topic. She admired her mother-in-law’s understanding and patience. Their relatives had nasty things to say about her inability to conceive but Savita silenced them with a stern response, ”Is the child going to fend for your needs?”
“This lady is amazing.” Nimmi often thought.
As the months passed, this topic was never brought up. Maa respected Nimmi’s silence but it weighed upon Nimmi’s heart. She knew how vibrant maa was when she held Mrs.Gupta’s grandson. Her eyes lit up as she played chuppan-chupai with him, hiding behind doors. Her knee problem was forgotten whenever he was around. Nimmi often felt guilt pangs but…
Nimmi began keeping unwell and she assumed, it was the winters. This season had never suited her. She felt lethargic and slept for longer than usual, tucked away in her warm comforter. Ashok would get her breakfast in bed. Savita never objected to this. She gave the couple their space and earned respect from them.
Nimmi began to skip dinner. This worried Ashok as he had never seen her like this before. He did not say much to his mother, lest she worry. He insisted that Nimmi visited a doctor, but she completely ignored his concerns.
It was Lohri on Saturday. Being Punjabis, they celebrated it with great pomp. Nimmi was worried as her health deteriorated. Coincidentally she took an appointment with the doctor on the same day. Much to her surprise and happiness the doctor said in a muted tone,” There’s nothing to worry. It’s only the good news you’ve been waiting for.” Nimmi rushed home and broke the news to maa.
“I am pregnant,” she said. Those magical words were music to her mother in law’s ears. Amidst tears she hugged Nimmi and thanked God for answering her prayers. The dream she had waited for all these years finally came true.
“Tonight light the lohri bonfire and invite the Gupta family.I am going to dance, and no one should stop me. I don’t care about my knees today.” She laughed through her uncontrollable tears.
Maa : Mother
Chuppan- chuppai : Hide & Seek game
Darwaza khol de. Bhaiya aur Bhabhi aye honge :Open the door . Bhaiya and Bhabi must have come