I am wearing blue shorts and red striped shirt. There is big area between our bed and the door, which is kept open in the mornings so that light from the facing sun can come in. I am sure my mother does this so that I wake up with all the light coming in. I get myself up from the bed which I know she is not aware of yet. I think she is getting ready. I can use this time to play with my chimpanzee.
This is a black plastic chimpanzee my father got me some days back. I haven’t had much time to play with it. I grab it and go to sit beside the door. This is the best part of the room in morning. The surface is still cold and the morning sunlight warms it a bit. And if sun gets hot later I can easily move behind the wall. There is a dark spot at the corner of the gate which is my chimpanzee’s cave. From where he can always come out to break the line of giant ants.
She is out now and packing her stuff. As soon as she came out I put my head down. I don’t want her to know that I know she is out. I want to play. But she walks beside me and doesn’t say anything. Hasn’t she seen me? If she has, then why is she letting me play? I will be late. So I ask her,
‘Ma, don’t I have to go to school today?’
‘No’, she says while she goes to kitchen to fill her water bottle.
There is a slight pinch in the area my heart should be. It is some kind of fear. I am not sure why it is there. I stand up and ask her again,
‘Why ma, why don’t I have to school today?’
‘Because you have a holiday today. Your Ma’am called yesterday and told me that school is closed today’ She is in the room now.
‘But you are going. Is your school open?’
‘Yes, your school is off today because there was a fire in the school yesterday. I have to leave now. There are chapattis in the casserole and Bhindi is in fridge. Microwave it for 3 minutes before eating. I have switched off the cylinder regulator; don’t light the stove when you are alone. The lock is on the table. Keep the door closed after I am gone and do not open the door for anyone. If anyone knocks the door tell them that I’ll be home in half an hour’
The pinch is spreading. It is a heavy bubble now that grows every time she begins a new sentence.
‘Will I be alone in the home?’
‘Yes, you are big boy now. Aunty has my school number. Lock the door; go to her if you feel alone. I’ll be back by 3′
The bubble has risen to my throat. And that has made it difficult for words to come out. I am putting in extra effort to speak.
‘Mummy I am frightened, what if someone comes in and… If aunty couldn’t hear me then…. I want to go to school’
She comes to me. While combing my hair she says, ‘Just play with your chimpanzee for a while. I will ask aunty; go to her after some time. You can watch TV there. I will be back early. You are big now; I think you can take care of yourself. We will go to market in the evening and by you a cycle’.
‘But… Can I come with you? I will not ask anything. I will quietly sit in the staff room. Please mummy….’
‘No beta, we have important people coming to school today.’
My eyes are wet. I can feel the heart beat in my throat.
‘I cannot stay alone. Please don’t go, please mummy.’
‘Ohh beta, I’ll drop you at your friend’s house and pick you when I come back. I know you like it there. You can play all day on his video game.’
I like video game. He has 3 different games and color TV. But the bubble is still here, in my mouth. I don’t want her to leave. More I think about her leaving, the more it hurts my throat. I cannot swallow anything.
Sobbing, I tell her, ‘I do not want to go there’.
‘You are being a child now. Nothing will happen. I told you right? You can go to aunty’s place and watch TV there. I will be back soon. You wouldn’t even realize’
I don’t want to go to aunty’s place. And I don’t want her to go. The bubble is as big as me now. I can feel my heartbeat in my whole body. Something comes from the inside to hit my head and tears come pouring out.
‘Ohh… Why are you crying? Okay, I’ll not go. Stop beta, stop. I’ll not go. Stop now.’
‘Please don’t go. Please don’t leave me’. My voice is not coming out as I want it to. Throat is not making way for any sound.
‘Okay, okay. I’ll not go. Don’t cry. Let us wash your face and go to aunty’s house. I’ll call my school and tell them that. Is it fine?’
‘Yes’, the throat is clearing now.
She puts her bag down and takes me to the wash basin.
The next thing I know is that I am waking in a bed. Something hurts on my left hand and I am feeling tired. My father later told me that I had a bike accident. A car had hit me from behind and I fell on my head. I was unconscious for 6 days and at one time they thought they lost me.