The Lullaby

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. This year, I’m planning to do short pieces of fiction (not a series), or a poem based on a word with that letter.

The night was silent, eerily so. The wind whistled through the branches of the trees outside his window, and the crickets had perked up. Through the thin walls, Tanmay could hear the soft snores as his parents slept in the next room. But he wasn’t sleepy. He stood at the windowsill staring outside at the full moon, and listening owl that stood vigil on a tree nearby. He called her Hooty, because she had stood vigil while he slept, always on that same branch.

After a while, he tiptoed to his parents’ room, and went to his mother’s side of the bed. She was fast asleep, but he shook her a bit.

“What is it, Tannu?” she asked, still half-asleep.

“Sleep no coming. Read me story Mama,” he said, shaking her again.

“Sleep will come baba. You go lie down in bed. Mama is tired,” she said, turning away from him.

Tanmay tried shaking her again, but she had gone back to sleep. He went back to his room, and tried lying down, and staring at the slowly turning fan. But still he was wide awake.

It was then that he heard a beautiful song coming from somewhere, and closed his eyes as he listened to that serene voice.

Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mocking bird.

And if that mocking bird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat.

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

When the song was over, Tanmay had drifted off to sleep. He didn’t hear the hoot of the owl, or his mother’s sniff.

The next morning, he woke up to the sunlight streaming in through the window. His mama was sitting near his bed like she was every morning.

“Mama, you sing beautifully,” he told her as she fluffed his pillow.

They listened to the sound of footsteps, and knew his father was awake too.

Moments later, the bedroom door opened.

They saw him look at the two of them, his face expressionless as always.

He saw her look back at him, a small pillow in her hand, as she sat at the foot of the crib they had once bought for their stillborn son.

To write 26 days in a month on a theme, a moral support is quite useful I feel. This year, I’m taking the challenge along with my friend Bhavya. We’re writing on the same themes each day, and giving each other the themes on alternate days. Day 12, the word chosen by me was LISTEN, around which this story was written.

Lullaby lyrics from

(14th April 2014)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

34 thoughts on “The Lullaby”

  1. Honestly, to my mind this is as real a depiction as can get of losing ones child, a pain that is never ending and can never go away…..a loss that always lives within us…..its beautiful the way you have written it…..

    • I can’t say I’ve been in such shoes, Jb. But it was hard to imagine, and write that ending.

      Glad you liked the story, and the way I have written it.

    • The story is fictional. The child was a figment of the mom’s imagination after the trauma she went through.

      Glad you liked the story, Liz.

  2. One of my first posts this morning, and it is ‘eerie but beautiful’…. the pathos hidden herein is enough to make it one of your best creations, Leo 🙂

  3. You are amazing with giving a twist to your stories. As I’ve said before, you remind me to O Henry… I can’t pay a bigger compliment than that. 🙂

    • Thank you for the honor, for comparing me with one of my favorite writers in o’Henry!

      Glad you liked the twist too, Dagny 🙂

    • No. Neither easy to write nor understand or even step into the shoes of someone who has.

      Glad you liked the story, NJ. Thanks 🙂

  4. Oh my god! I had gooee bumps! It can be very painful loosing a child, but your story is very well written 🙂

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