talika and titli arrived home. as talika locked the door, titli asked: uff mummy! you forgot raghav uncle.
talika: for the fifth time, your raghav uncle has some work in the office to sort out. he will be back soon. promise!
titli: kya?! no soon means a long long long time.
talika: accha madamji? instead of being a drama queen, kindly do some study.
titli: but school is study na. home is fun.
talika: oh really? but you already had fun at the office, watching two episodes with your raghav uncle and also playing board games with pretty much everyone in the office. so now, homework.
titli puts her hands on her hips and said: fine! besides my homework just colour in numbers.
talika: and you couldn’t do that at the office?!
titli: my mood.
talika: do it now and next time do your homework in my office, deal?
titli: what i get from deal?
talika: either a new doll or chocolate. deal?
she happily skips along to get her sheet from her bag as talika simply rolls her eyes at her tiny drama queen daughter. then she went into the kitchen and got some ingredients out to cook.
talika: just like her bua…she was always like this.
she paused. a tear escaped her eye. she wiped it away and started cooking saying to herself: why am i reminding myself about this? they don’t remember me so it’s better if i don’t remember them. besides they shouldn’t be on my mind, especially him. he is a jerk. after titli came into my life, my anxiety and depression disappeared. the feelings he didn’t understand. anyway i should forget all this now.
she smiled and continued cooking.
half an hour later:
titli came running in the kitchen at perfect timing since talika was done cooking.
titli: now when will raghav uncle come?
talika: he messaged me. in an hour time he will come.
titli: how long an hour?
talika: 60 minutes.
titli: that very very VERY long.
talika laughs and says: i would have understood with one ‘very’ but oh well. i know it’s very long but you can wait. meanwhile, do you want me to brush your hair and put it in plaits?
titli: haan then it get very long.
she cleans the kitchen and then both girls go into the beautiful living room where talika’s dolls were on the carpet.
talika: titli, why are your dolls on the floor?
titli: so i play with them?
titli: mummy, turn TV on too.
titli: it six and six mean peppa pig on.
she gets the remote and turns the tv on. then she made titli sit on the carpet as she got a hair brush out and sat on the sofa.
titli started to play with her dolls as the tv was on, whilst talika started to brush her daughters’s long beautiful dark brown hair.
talika: you know baby, you have such beautiful hair.
titli: kyunki my mummy look after it.
after titli’s show ended, a new show came on and it was about father’s day. titli looked at it and her smile turned upside down. her eyes shifted to the side again and became glazed with a glassy layer of tears. as she blinked, they dripped from her eyelids and slid down her cheeks. she bit her lip tightly in attempt to hide any sound that wanted to escape from her mouth.
talika: titli, kya hua?
her lower lip quivered as words slowly made their way out of her mouth: mummy, tomorrow is Father’s Day.
talika: really baby?
titli: Haan so tomorrow tell my school I am ill.
talika: why baby?
titli: who is my dad? I am only one who no got daddy.
talika stopped brushing her daughter’s curls and froze for a minute. What answer can she give to her daughter?
talika in mind: four years…four years i have raised titli alone with some help from raghva bhaiya. in those four years, not once has she ever asked me who her father is and because of this, i never thought the need to prepare an answer to this question. what answer should i give her?
talika snapped out of her thinking hearing titli’s voice and said: haan bolo.
titli: tell me, who is my dad?
talika brushed titli’s hair and started to do one plait. whilst she did this, she said: your dad is on a very long business trip but he misses his little titli everyday. he can’t come back at the moment.
talika: haan baby. pakka.
titli: so what i say in my play tomorrow?
talika: that how your mummy is also like a father to you. also how raghav uncle is like a father to you.
talika: now your plaits are done. so let me give you food.
titli: what you make?
talika smiled and both mother and daughter went into the kitchen. talika served titli pasta which she ate happily, then titli went upstairs to do colouring in. as she went upstairs, raghav entered the house.
talika: hi raghav bhaiya.
raghav: hey talika. titli kaha hai?
talika: actually i want to talk to you about titli.
raghav: tell me then.
talika: voh…actually today she asked me who is her father.
raghav: wait, what?!
raghav: talika, swear on her life that you didn’t tell her who her father is.
talika: i swear on her life i didn’t. i just said that her father was on a long business trip and he misses titli.
raghav: that’s convincing.
talika: what she can’t know is that her father actually moved on.
a flashback came to her when she entered a temple, five months pregnant only to see that man and another woman putting rings on one another. her heart broke in a million pieces seeing that wedding and she immediately ran from the temple, no one noticed her running from that temple.
talika wiped the tears and said: whilst i was melting in my guilt, anxiety and depression; he forgot everything and decided to move on so quickly. i don’t blame that woman at all. she has nothing to do with this. from that day, i decided to become something to give my child a better life. i was jobless but at least that engagement allowed me to do something and if it wasn’t for that engagement, i would have never met a brother.
raghav: exactly. now suno, please please please please don’t ever think of that man. i know it hurts and you don’t often think of him, but still…you have to promise me that you will keep strong for titli at least and erase that man from your memories forever.
precap: fathers’ day