She woke up as her alarm rang and turned it off. Next to her, slept a little girl covered fully in her blanket, her face was also hidden. She knew how to wake her up. ‘Aagay dekho, peechhe dekho, daaein dekho, baaein, Gayi kahan yeh nanhi pari isko dhoondo haye, Pyari si gurriya meri gudday ko apnay dhoonday, Sapnay bhi usi k dekhay us se vo sharmaye, Bhaag gayi kahan yeh najanay sau deewarein laang kar, Subha hogai phir bhi hai soi munh pe chaadar taan kar, Is ka or mera dil ka rishta koi nahi tor paaye, Kabhi koi iski khushiyon ko bhi nahi chura paaye, Aankhein iski pyaari pyaari pyaray sapnay dekhay, Chehra iska dekh kar koi bhi khil jaye, Rabb ji se hai dekho iska rishta kitna khaas, Dhoond k lao phir se isko iski?’, she said and left the last line incomplete for her to complete.
‘Maa k pas,’ replied the little girl as she moved the blanket from her face. ‘Ishimaa please five minutes more,’ she said with closed eyes. ‘OK, sleep, but if you sleep more than that, I m going to tickle you a lot,’ Ishita said and went to freshen up.
A man came to her room and caressed her hair, she opened her eyes and smiled at him, he too smiled at her and took her in his lap. ‘If you wouldn’t have woken up till now, Ishita would’ve tickled you a lot, like this,’ he said and tickled her and she laughed. Ishita came out of the washroom and saw them laughing. ‘My baby woke up? C’mon now go brush your teeth,’ she said smiling at her. ‘Yes go, papa made your favourite cupcakes, if you become late, I will eat all of them,’ Raman,her father said and she went.
‘Thank you so much, you helped her move on from Shagun’s death, since she died, Pihu was very upset,’ Raman said. ‘No problem, she’s my daughter, I can do anything for her,’ she said smiling at him. ‘Jhaansi ki rani, I hope you remember what to do after waking up,’ he said and she blushed and kissed his cheek and ran to kitchen, he smiled. Pihu came out and he took her outside the room and pulled out a chair making her sit on it to have breakfast. ‘Papa, mumma didn’t come yet, where is she?’, Pihu asked curiously.
‘Beta she will come, now eat,’ Raman said but she sat there deep in thoughts, it wasn’t the first time it was happening, it happened every morning. Raman signed Ishita who was working in kitchen. She came and sat beside Pihu. ‘Look baby, papa made them by love, eat them, they will get cold,’ Ishita said and fed her and she ate and she took her to her room and made her ready and braided her hair. She packed her bag as well and lunch for her. She took her out of the room and Raman came towards them and lifted Pihu.
‘Today papa will drop you to school, OK doll,’ he said smiling at her. ‘OK papa,’ she said and kissed his cheek. He took her outside to their car and drove off while Ishita watched them fondly. She went to make breakfast for everyone as all of them slept late last night. ‘Did Pihu go to school?’, asked Mrs.Bhalla coming directly to kitchen after freshening up. ‘Yes mummy ji,’ she replied. ‘Did she say anything about Shagun?’, she asked. ‘She did but I and Raman distracted her, she will be ok,’ Ishita assured her and smiled at her.
‘That snake went, but the poison she spread is still here,’ Mrs.Bhalla complained. ‘Mummy ji, Pihu will understand, don’t worry, tell me what to make in breakfast?’, she asked. ‘Halwa puri, the best breakfast ever, puttar tenu pata hai, main or Raman k papa jab bhi hangout kartay hain, yahi khaatay hain, kisi ko batati nahi, tujhe bata rahi hoon, aaj maine ye khwahish isliye ki k mujhe hangout karnay ka bohat dil hai par vo sotu uthnay ka naam nahi letay (do you know whenever me and Raman’s papa used to hangout, we always had Halwa puri, I don’t tell anyone but I m telling you, I have a mood of hanging out but that sleepyhead isn’t ready to wake up)’,Mrs.Bhalla said and they both laughed.
‘Don’t worry, I will make within seconds,’ she said and started making it. While preparing the breakfast, she felt someone behind her and turned but it was no one, she resumed her work. She heard the fridge opening and closing. She turned and sighed seeing no one. She again resumed her work and felt as if a drop of liquid fell on her from the roof. She touched her temple and took the droplet in hand to see what’s it.
She got shocked as it was blood. Her throat dried up, her hands started shivering while she slowly looked upwards and got even more shocked on seeing a woman crawling on the roof. ‘Shagun,’ she said fearfully and ran out of there. ‘Mummy ji, papa ji, Shagun, she came back, she will take Pihu with her, she’s..,’ she said and was cut in between as a long haired girl came to her. ‘Ishi Maa relax, I will see,’ she assured and went inside the kitchen and looked around while Ishita stood outside.
‘No one is here,’ she said. ‘No Ruhi, look at this blood, its of Shagun, it started falling on me and when I looked up, she was crawling on the roof,’ Ishita said coming to her showing her hand which had blood. ‘Ishi Maa, where’s the blood? Its nothing,’ she said and Ishita looked at her fingers and sighed. ‘It was here,’ she said. ‘No you’re just stressed, I m really hungry, what happened of breakfast?’, she asked. ‘Its ready, I will bring,’ Ishita said and went back to kitchen. ‘It never happened before,’ she said to herself and heard a strange laughter.