Our Chotte Saab didn’t do dinner, she said waiting for the micro wave oven to do its magic on the food which was tired of waiting for me.
Did he sleep? , I showed my concern.
I think he did. He got into bed little early than usual. She said.
She too is concerned.
Did you check whether he is running a temperature or something? I asked her.
She said, he is just fine. Seems to be a little dull.
She said, I asked him what happened. He didn’t say anything. He said he is not hungry. And is sleepy.
Hmm. Let me go look. I grabbed myself up from the dining place and went to his room.
I went to his bed. Seems like he is sleeping. Adjusted the blanket.
Was walking back when I heard, “Papa”. I turned around, surprised.
“Chotte Saab you are awake? “ I asked.
He was quite. I switched the night lamp on.
Oh, yea he is wide awake!
What happened Chotte Saab? I asked while trying to sit by his side.
He cuddled me. And was quite.
Looks like he really is upset with something. What happened beta? Amma scolded you?
He shook his head. So it’s not the problem.
Fought with Denny again? I asked. Denny is his classmate. They have been fighting ever since Denny came to 5A class.
The same shake again. So it’s not the case.
Now I am worried.
I hugged him. Keeping him cuddled, I picked him up from the bed.
Saab is awake?? She came asking.
I nodded my head. He was trying to fool you. He is wide awake I said.
She came stood by me. Asking me with hands what happened.
I asked him again. “Tell me what happened beta”.
He said, “Tommy is going to Delhi”.
Tommy who? I asked, and I looked him and then his mom.
Why is Tommy going beta? She asked. So she knew who Tommy is.
His best friend Tommy, Mr. Mukesh’s son from the next building.. you know that kid.
Hmm may be. May be I know him. Ya I know him. I know his dad too.
So what happened to you Chotte Saab? Why are you upset for it? She asked again.
I didn’t know what to ask. I kept quite. He pushed himself up from my hug.
He said “why he has to go? Can I ask him to stay with us?”
I smiled. She smiled too.
He said almost sobbing "He is my best friend”
“Oh. Beta. Don’t be so sad. He will still be your friend even when he is in Delhi.” She said.
I didn’t know what to tell him. But I should say something.
So I told him that “Beta, you will get other good great friends.” Don’t worry.
Before I could finish she gave me a blank look.
I know how stupid was I to say that. I am no good at this.
Beta, don’t think about it now. You sleep now. Tomorrow morning we will talk about this Ok?
She bent and kissed his forehead. I put him to bed. I told him “I know that Chotte Saab is stronger than this. Chotte Saab should act strong. There are people who can’t be with us for ever. We will have to let them go”
She looked at me again as if she was trying to tell me not to give lectures now.
I think she is right. He just needs empathy now. "Beta, You sleep now. Morning we will talk ok? "
He said OK.
Sleep beta, Chotte Saab sleep. There will be a nice dream. You will be playing with lots of friends in the dream. Try sleeping now. She was trying to console and make him sleep. She was running her fingers through his hair. He likes it. He liked it ever since he was a baby. He stopped crying when someone ran their fingers through his hairs.
He closed his eyes.
She looked at me, signaling me to go and have my dinner. I nodded.
OK beta. Love you .Good night beta.
Good Night papa.
I got up and started walking towards the dining table. She was sitting by his side.
She will come after he sleeps.
I was thinking about him. I could see myself in him. I was like him. Used to get attached to people,things way too much and very easily. It used to make my life miserable when I had to let someone go or let something go.
But life did taught me some good lessons. Learned that its very important to let go things. More important is to let them go “gracefully”.
The lessons I learned made me give the lecture I was trying to give Chotta Sab in there minutes ago.
I know that Chotta Saab will also learn his lessons. But I am hoping that he wont have to go through real tough lessons. I know he is a smart kid. He will learn his lessons fast.
Well, the dosa had again gone cold on me.
Many faces, many things which had got me teary sometime ago barged into my mind.
I think it will be tough for me to sleep with a heavy heart. Now I too want her to come and put me to bed.
At times I am more kid than Chotte Saab!
Looks like Chotte Saab slept. I can hear her from kitchen.
She came in. Switched off the light. “Poora tum pe gaya hai”, she said while getting into bed.
She knows me well than myself.
I went to her side of bed. Cuddled with her.
She asked, “Bade Saab ko kya huvaa?”
I didn’t say anything.
“Ohh ho! Bade Saab tho chotte Saab se chotte hain”
She held me tight. Started running her fingers through my hairs to forehead. She knows that I love it.
I get pleasant sleep when she puts me to sleep like that.
She is our strength.
I kept sinking into the sleep. I still can faintly feel her fingers across my forehead.