12:00 PM. She was leaning on the wall. The desire to kiss the clouds and touch the dew was overriding in her breast. What was once an adrenaline rush in her translated into a stagnant sea that now never moves. Only the ripples could be seen and heard.
She oscillates in the room full of anxiety. Her only fear is that Ananya would wake up from the sleep and open her broad eyes to meet the cages. Her heart comes to her throat and the tiny lit eyes are now broken in thousand different pieces. The reverie busted. Some parts fell on the ground while she managed to hold some in her devastated eyes.
“I can’t let my daughter be home arrest…” her heart whispered. She ran towards the bedroom to find Ananya woken up to the slumber.
“Mummm..mumma”, Ananya coiled her lips. The words touched her heart like a feather touches our cheeks on a newly bloomed spring evening. But like a heartless mother, she forced her to sleep again. “With similar “mm-mmm” sounds, Ananya coiled her boat-like body and floated in Kasthi’s arms.
Kasthi's days were big. Her nights were bigger.
Just when the gentle rays of the sun slided through the window panes and embraced both of them, Kasthi once again swept her feet in fear. She never wanted to show sun to her moon. Ananya was her ‘chand’. Quite, far and lonesome. This is the reason she has never read “Twinkle twinkle little star” and “Ba Ba Black sheep” to her daughter. She did not want her expectant eyes to question her. Ever.
The brawny sun could not wake up Ananya. Kasthi again won today. Her moon was sleeping. While she hasn’t slept since ages.
“Kasthi”, a quivering voice shuddered with dominance, “Rekha has come. Give her your list. She will get it from the grocery.”
“Coming maa”, she managed to utter.
“Stay there! Can’t you see the window pane is up? Your baba is coming. I don’t want another ruckus like last week”- she almost roared.
“Mumm—mmy” Ananya’s words drummed in Kasthi’s ears. She gathered her bones together and dared to ask: “Maa, can I…go out to…the grocery today…with Ayanya?” Her arms started to shiver and stomach flinched.
“Don’t bring another shame to your baba for krishna’s sake! One is already sleeping in the room inside.”
The water in her body melted. Her lips faltered but closed soon after it opens. The thin water streaks on her cheeks exposed the heart that sinks a moment and floats the next instant. “Please maa, I’ll be back soon…Before Baba leaves for work. Ananya needs some air.” She held her mother’s saree.
The silver of her mother’s hair has bred a palpable heart inside. The stiffness of her arced body and hardness of her words seldom lets it come out. Her mother was silent and loose. Kasthi took the cue and ran inside. She picked up Ananya in her arms and ran towards the door. Joyous glee. Just as she stretched her dupatta to her neck, ready to embrace the world, her mother re-appeared, “Go back to your room Kasthi quick, ammu kakki has come. Go back, quick. She might inquire, so just be in your room. And take this child with you and lull her to sleep.”
12:30 P.M. Kasthi’s small steps moved inside her room. Ananya still smiled in her sleep.