Abhi “Will you faster come out? How long do u take to bath??”
Rinku “Two more minutes!” Abhi “I would have bath you faster! You have been using the bathroom for the 30 mins!!”
Rinku “Don’t scold me Papa! I was playing with the water in the bathtub.” Abhi “Again!! You know u will get cold if u play with water! That’s why I never even bring you to swimming pool.”
Rinku yells in happiness “Yippie!!! Water Woopie!!!!” He then splashes the water on the floor.
Abhi “Rinku! I am warning you now. Come out in 2 minutes if not I will break the door to come in!”
Rinku ignored Abhi. He started to dances in enjoyment.
Rinku sensing the silence was worried why Papa never scold him.
Rinku, Oh no! I hope he never left to work. If he left to work then how can I play with him?
Rinku completed his bath & rushed to see Abhi by wearing his towel.
Rinku “Papa…Papa…where are u?” There was complete silence in the room.
Rinku suddenly remembers Mike’s idea to search the room when Abhi was not around.
He quickly dressed up & marched towards Abhi’s room thinking that he is not around.
Abhi “Now you are here! I thought you are playing with the water forever.”
Rinku looked upset. Now how can he search his room in his presence?
Abhi “You are missing your bath but not your dad? It’s very sad to see this Rinku.”
Rinku ran towards him & said “Nothing like that Papa. I love you more than anything!”
Abhi “I feel better now. Anyways I want to tell that we will be going to Pragya’s hostel.”
Rinku hearing it was feeling worried. Is Papa also liking Pragie now?
Oh no! I don’t want a stepmother like Mike have. I only want my Ma!!!
He thought seeing Abhi with wide eyes.
Abhi “Why are you behaving this way? I actually had spoke to the people there & they say it’s ok for you to visit the hostel. You want to visit a hostel right?”
Rinku nodded his head as yes then shook his head as no.
Abhi “Don’t say you are feeling shy to look around as there are a lot of girls.”
Rinku irked “Papa!!! I am not feeling shy of girls! Even I have girlfriends!”
Abhi in shock “You have girlfriends???” Rinku “Haan chota gang members.” Abhi sighed in relief thinking he never understood what it means by girlfriends. He is still to young to have them.
Rinku “Papa! Let’s go…” Abhi “Ok but behave yourself.” Rinku looking innocent said yes Papa.
Later that day, both reached the hostel. Abhi informed him that he will be waiting at the reception area & he can go around to see with Pragya. Pragya seeing their bonding once again felt a kind of unexplainable happiness.
Pragya after bringing him to some places at the hostel finally brings him to the canteen.
Rinku “I Googled about hostel Pragie. They say hostel canteen food are not good.” Pragya “Not all are like that. This one is very good. I even know the person who cook here. She is like my Ma”. Rinku “Really? Can I see her?” Pragya “No Rinku. She is not around now. Do you want to try her food?”
Rinku after thinking for a moment said yes.
Pragya brought the food by smiling at Rinku. He was sitting on a bench.
Pragya “Here you go!” Rinku “So many varieties?” Pragya “Haan lots of vegetable varieties.” Rinku giving a strange look tasted the potato gravy with a spoon. Rinku “It’s nice Pragie….” Pragya “Taste this too. It will be even more nice.” Rinku smiled taking a spoon of the stir-fried pumpkin. He accidentally took the green chilli while scooping it. Pragya also never noticed there was green chilli on the plate.
Rinku eating it smiled first. Very soon his expression changed. Unable to stand the spiciness he spit what he ate on Pragya’s face. He ran to the reception area shouting Aaaaahhhhh!!!
Pragya was shocked by his sudden behaviour. She quickly wiping her face with dupatta rushed to see Rinku.
Abhi was there calming down Rinku by giving him water to drink.
Pragya “Is he ok?” Abhi fiercely “Who ask you to give him food? That too spicy food!!! Don’t u have any sense of not supposed to give spicy food to kids?”
Pragya was about to say something when Abhi slapped her.
Rinku seeing dropped the water bottle.
Pragya rubbing her face in pain was in tears.
Abhi “You better now your limits before giving my son with food.”
Rinku “Papa….why u slap Pragie? I only ate green chili accidentally. She never see there was green chilli in it. I even spit food on her face but Pragie never tell anything….”
Abhi “What?? You spit food on her face???” Rinku “Sorry Pragie for everything. I should have been more careful when eating it.” Pragya “No Rinkie…I was at fault too I should have seen it properly before giving you the food.”
Rinku “But Papa it’s a very big mistake to slap Pragie!!!” He said in anger before walking out.
Abhi “Where are you going? Wait for me!!!” Rinku “To the car! You first say sorry to Pragie”
Abhi looks apologetically at her.
Abhi “I’m sorry Ms Pragya. I got carried away after seeing him shouting.” Pragya “I can understand….It’s common for parents to react out of concern when they see their kids in pain.”
Abhi sees her saying this in such a gentle way that makes him feel worse for slapping him.
Abhi “I’m sorry again…I really shouldn’t have reacted in this way…” Pragya “It’s fine…I don’t feel anything bad about it….”
Abhi “You really don’t feel bad right?” Pragya shook her head as no with a wide smile. Pragya “I think you have to convince Rinku first before his anger increases.” Abhi “Ya I know…I have to go & cajole him.” Pragya “I need to go my room now.” Abhi “Carry on…I can tell him you are busy.” Pragya turns to walk away.
Abhi “Ms Pragya!” Pragya turns back to see him. Abhi “I’m extremely sorry for his behaviour again. He is spoilt nowadays by me.” Pragya “No Mr Abhi. Kids are like this only. He never did that wantedly. Even I would have spit it if the food is spicy so it’s absolutely fine…” She said with a wide smile. The next action of Abhi made Pragya taken aback.
He caresses her cheek where his slap mark was there. Pragya closes her eyes by his touch.
Abhi tenderly “I’m sorry…” Pragya opens her eyes to see him in tears.
Abhi realizes other ladies coming down the stairs & he quickly moves away from there leaving her in a puzzled look.
Abhi sits in his room thinking of his decisions in life.
Abhi, I don’t know why I feel I am doing something wrong unknowingly. I never knew I will feel this way now after all this years.