He turns and impetuously pulls the thin acrylic blanket over, till his neck. The AC hummed, spewing icy air, making the room increasingly cold. He opens his eyelids with difficulty. His body ached out of last night’s whiskey hangover. He has had few drinks too many; a reprieve for the agony which the mind caused, which the body refused to oblige. It was as if the mind brawled with body, the mind dictated terms, body being bullied. The body struggled, it caused inclinations-headaches, body aches, heart aches, lose of appetite, lose of interest in life, life became insignificant. The body said to get up and take a shower. It said it had its basic necessities.
“Please don’t visit us anymore.” A feminine voice echoed in his head. His muscles tightened. He throws the acrylic blanket away from his body as if it was the main culprit of all his miseries.
“Us?” He frowns. “Bloody hell she said ‘Us’”.
“Never react only respond- Gautam Buddha said”.
He had reacted when he heard his wife say that to him. She provided no time for him to respond. She walked away with his little baby.
“How dare she walk away on him? Fuckin bitch” He wanted to slap her, shout at her, and Kill her. Drag her, pour petrol over her whole body and light her. He grinds his teeth. His eyes burned, having taken the weight of his fury.
“What will we name her darling?” Words echo again.
“ Diya, Ananya, Tamanna. Select one please.”
“Ananya? It sounds good. And its close to your name.”
“ She has ditto her papa’s smile. Look at her half lipped grin. As frugal as her papa to smile.”
“ She has her papa’s skin and colour. Hope she gets her papa’s intelligence too.”
“ The court has come to a conclusion that in the best interest of the baby, it gives the custodial rights to her mother.”
“The apex court also said that it does not permit the child to be taken away, forcefully, in the manner in which it was done by her father.”
“Forcefully?”, Fuckin bitch. “ I will see my baby when I want to see. Who the Fuck is she to tell me?”
"In lieu of the same, the father will have no visitation rights”. The echo grows stronger.
“A familiar case of male dominance-Men who ill treat women should be punished severely.” Female voices.
“ You called me a bitch? See how I make your life miserable.”
"Go fuck yourself.You Bitch"
"Go fuck yourself.You Bitch"
“ She is not OUR baby. She is M-I-N-E! You have lost the right to call her yours.”
He looks at the tea poi which has his daughters photograph. He walks and lifts it and stares at it.
He weeps. He lifts the small, velvety, cloth bear. He smells it. It smelled of saliva.
“Oh, cant you see that?Don’t let her chew that bear. She has almost eaten it.”
He smells the bear again. He inhales deeply. He walks to the cupboard. He looks at the top shelf. A tiny pink skirt. He smells it. Tears roll his eyes.
“ Ohhh, She has wetted the knickers again. Can you please change her?”
“ Anu, Please give papa a kiss!”
He lifts the pink skirt again. He smells it- smell of his daughter. His hands tremble. Tears roll.
He walks to the dining room. He opens the cabinet. Pours a large whiskey and gulps it at once.
“ We will send her to the best school in the country. I want my daughter to do what she wants in her life . Not like my father who never appreciated anything in me.”
“ She will live her life as she wants.”
“ Anu, do you want to be a doctor?”
“ Doctor? Hell no. She wants to be a singer.”
“ How will we survive once she goes away after marriage?”
“What’s wrong with you? She is not even a year old and you are into her marriage?”
He walks to the bedroom and pulls a denim shirt from the dresser. He looks at himself in the mirror. He hadn’t shaved in days. He has never looked so worn-out. It doesn’t matter much.
He locks the apartment and walks towards the garage. He can see his car parked in between other cars. He inserts the key and pulls the door of his car. He sits and inserts the ignition key. He adjusts the mirror. He could see the pram placed on the back seat. He feels light after that drink he had in empty stomach.
“I would have had another.” He licks his lips thistly.
The car speeds through the busy street.
Somewhere in another town an old lady lifts her grandchild. She kisses her on her cheeks; she smells of baby saliva.
Her daughter waves her good bye and speeds in her small car.
The baby looks at the old lady, utterly impervious of the world, totally unconcerned with relationships, and then it starts to cry.