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She had been blissfully tired after her delivery. All that had mattered was the sleeping angel next to her, fists closed tightly like he was holding the secrets of the White House between those tiny little fingers!! She had smiled when he smiled, felt tormented when he cried, and adored every flicker of emotion on that cherubic face with its pair of coffee -colored eyes and dancing dimples. Her little world, that’s what he was- that eight pound bundle of flesh and diapers.

His first word had been mum-mum-mum. She didn’t know whether he was trying to suggest water or the woman who hugged him close every time those pools of innocence threatened to spill over with salty streams down his cheeks. They both loved the baby-bath sessions. An hour-long attempt at getting him clean and Johnson’s-baby-smelling would inevitably result in a bath and more. He took to the water like it was the next best thing after his cozy corner in the bed and he could stay in it forever. Gurgles of unadulterated pleasure merged seamlessly with the sounds of his tiny hands and feet splashing around in the tub, as he played with the soapsuds and tried getting his toy duck to swim. She came up with a silly little bath song too, and would keep chanting it as she soaped him nice and proper with one hand and held him steady with the other. He would simply keep nodding his head and grinning like he could understand every word.

He would give her pleasant and nasty surprises every now and then, and chuckle or sulk according to her reaction. She never could forget the afternoon when she had left him crawling on the floor in the room for two minutes to attend the phone and had come back to find him trying to stand up, unsteady hands clutching a leg of a chair as he attempted to support his body weight on even less steady feet. She had quietly peeped from the doorway, wincing when he fell over and smiling proudly as he tried again and again. Finally he had managed, and looked thoroughly surprised with himself and the world around him. Then another time, he had tried catching a scurrying cockroach and putting it in his mouth-like most things he laid his hands on. She had smacked his hand and yelled at him, to which he had simply looked up at her with wide-eyed hurt and released his catch.

When he started school, she got back to working part-time. He would come running up to her whenever she reached home after he did, holding on to her legs, head touching her knees shouting, “Mum you’re late.” He started being cheeky too, and when she got really wild, she didn’t hold back the spanking. Sometimes he would cry, at others he would just retreat into a corner till she would make him his favorite milk shake and he’d hang his head on one side, mumbling sorry.
Whenever she would tell him not to touch the oven door, or not kick the dining-chair legs with his shoes, he would ask with a naughty gleam in his eye, “What if I do?” It became a pet dialogue with him, and stuck on for years. Sometimes this would irritate her, especially when she was tired and low on patience for answering stupid questions. At others, she would just throw up her hands in despair and forget about arguing.

She realized one day that he was growing up far too soon. Just the other day, he had been refusing to eat Ceralac and she had been struggling to get the spoon into his mouth and all of a sudden, he was demanding that she make submarine sandwiches for him and his brood of noisy friends, after their daily session of cycling up and down the street. She wondered sadly if her little boy, his warm hugs and fish-faces were going to disappear forever in a tumultuous haze of growing up. But he never forgot that his mom loved giving him a goodnight hug before he slept, and that her face always lit up when he made her a card in Drawing class, and that she always cried in sad movies. He started helping her lay the table every night for dinner without being asked, and would save from his pocket money to buy her flowers every now and then.


They had a strange set of doing-together activities-like watching a movie together in a cinema hall followed by lunch or dinner at his favorite places. She could boast of these little outings to her friends with immense pride. After all, how many sons took out time to do such things with their moms when they were in their teens?? He insisted on educating her in music, and she learnt to appreciate Pink Floyd’s profoundness and Metallica’s hard rock. He on his part did his best to keep his end of the bargain, by treating her more as a friend and less as a parent.

They had their fair share of showdowns. Sometimes he hung to the phone far too long for her sensibilities, and would become very lax every now and then about his grades. At times, he would get into silly fights with ‘the guys’ and come back with bruises after a roll in the mud. His moodiness would get to her sometimes, but she learnt to give him his space, and he grew to respect her even more for the understanding she showed. He loved her just the way she was, and was never ashamed to introduce her to his friends, who almost envied him for having ‘the coolest mom ever!’

All the packing seemed to be done. She went over her checklist one last time and flopped onto the bed with a sigh of relief. It was tiring, getting everything in the right place and ensuring nothing got left out. Her eyes rested on the picture of Rohan and her making maggi together in the kitchen when he was 12, looking thoroughly thrilled, stirring the stringy yellow mass with a spatula and grinning gleefully at the camera. She smiled then, and the tiredness seemed to flow out of her aching body. Instead, she felt a strange sense of sadness wash over her, and it slowly gained weight around her heart- a sinking feeling of loss, of watching something slip through your fingers like sand on the beach. She had to be brave, she knew. But it was killing her inside. Her little boy was going away-to a place she knew he had always dreamt of going. It scared her, but she knew how much it meant to him, and it would break her heart to see his dream being broken. So she had agreed- to let him join the NDA, stifling the little nagging voice in her head and ignoring all the news she read about young soldiers at the border.


They stood at the station, watching scores of young boys bidding their goodbyes to parents, friends et al, as they embarked on a dangerously exciting journey. Rohan looked just a little lost in life, and raring to go at the same time. She felt an irresistible urge to stop him, tell him not to go- but she knew she wouldn’t give in. Any moment now, the train would pull out of the station, taking with it-her little world. Rohan saw the pain in her eyes and put an arm around her shoulders. “Mom, I promise I will be fine. Trust me I will be. Now mom, please please don’t cry.” She smiled then, squeezed back the tears that were threatening to spill over, and hugging him close replied, “What if I do?”













------
Sakshi


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Comments

The following comments are for "Her Little World"
by sakshi

Good
A well written story, packed with quite a bit of emotion. Your tone had some distance in it, but it was more the distance of someone watching the dancer in a music box than an uncrossable vastness. Things flowed well, your descriptions were touching, and the sentiment carried over clearly without losing its reality to the soft mush of sentimentality.

I only saw a problem here and there, mostly with hyphens that seemed to stick out, the breaks no necessarily making sense in the sentence. It was expecially apparent in the last two paragraphs. You might want to consider replacing some of them with colons or semi-colons as appropriate.

A few of your sentences in the first few paragraphs tended to be on the awkward side, like: "An hour-long attempt at getting him clean and Johnson’s-baby-smelling would inevitably result in a bath and more." I wasn't certain about what you meant.

More than once you used double punctuation, which was really uneccessary. You can convey what you mean well enough without adding goggle-eyes at the end of your sentences, right?? *smile*

Well done a worthwhile read.

-Kitten

( Posted by: Kitten Courna [Member] On: March 30, 2004 )





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