~ 7 ~
When Smriti stopped writing, she realized that she had been writing all night. The light of the rising sun fell through the open window, and the garden outside looked greener than before. It had been a long time since she stayed up all night, writing. She looked at the other photos on her bedside table and remembered the days.
Janak had been the opposite of what her first husband had been. He was caring, involving her in his life, being there for her when she needed him. He trusted her decisions, and supported her biggest decision – to quit the job at the MNC. The company hadn’t wronged her, she knew that, but she didn’t want the off chance that she would run into him at meetings. On the first year anniversary of her best friend’s death, he had accompanied her to the cemetery in Bangalore, and stood by her as she placed flowers on the grave. When she cried, he had let her, but held her hand to let her know he was there. Almost on their second year marriage anniversary, she had had a baby boy. He had been the happiest. He had been surprised at the choice of name, but didn’t protest a lot.
As she contemplated the past, her son rode into their compound on his bicycle. He seemed enthusiastic and excited for something. Ninad pushed the door open, and hurried inside.
“Amma, I met my teacher on the way here, and I showed him my story. He read it and told me it was good, and that I should continue to write. I’m happy.”
Smriti gave him a pat on the back, and applauded his effort too.
“He said it was missing something too, Amma. But he wouldn’t tell me what it was. Can you read it? I thought about it all the way back, but I am not able to find it out.”
Smriti patted him on the cheek, and told him she had already read it.
“Ninu, if you were writing a story about your football game, would you write only about the goals you scored?”
She watched as he thought about the question.
“No. I’d write about the tackles I made, or the times I fell and got back up too,” he said at last.
She laughed as she pulled him into a hug.
“You have your answer about what is missing from the story, then.”
Ninad nodded, understanding the missing link.
“The story is about Appa and you,” he told her, though he knew she’d know that after reading. “But I don’t know about the times you fell. Could we talk about that sometime? I mean, not about everything, but at least about some things.”
“Yes. I’ll tell you about some of it. I couldn’t have told you everything even if you asked, Ninu. But first, you have to tell me something. I’ve wanted to ask you this for a long time.”
Ninad smiled, as if he knew that she would ask this question to him someday.
“Ajji told me how you used to love writing, how good you and Ninad anna were at it. She even showed me some of your old stories, which she had saved. That’s when I thought of becoming a writer too. I didn’t want you to read my stories till I felt they were as good as yours, or Ninad anna’s.”
A lone tear slid down Smriti’s cheek as she recollected those memories of writing. Ninad, though, reached across and wiped it away.
“Ajji thinks you stopped writing after Ninad anna’s death,” he whispered, letting another secret out.
“Well,” Smriti sighed, “She’s not completely wrong.”
Ninad left her side and went to his study. From his desk, he took out a brand new diary, something his best friend had given him on his last birthday. He wrote something inside it on the first page, and then came back and gave it to her.
She turned to the first page and saw what he had written.
“Smriti and Ninad | Amma and Ninu”
She looked at him, surprised and feeling overwhelmed at the same time.
“Maybe you can write with me instead. I’m a Ninad too, right?” he asked her, sounding more mature than his age.
Smriti embraced him again, and the tears flowed faster that time. But she made a promise then, to herself and to him… that she would write again.
(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason, 7th August 2016)