“There is an email from Suchi. She is coming today.” Santosh’s excited tone brought his mother Savitri rushing from the kitchen.
His father, Vednarayan, who was engrossed in his morning Puja, sought pardon for having hurried with the daily rituals from the Lord to whom he prayed every day for the well-being of his daughter and ran towards his son’s room.
“Read the message aloud,” Savitri wiped her moist eyes.
“Amma, she has only written that she will be home today.”
“Which flight? What time?” Vednarayan gushed.
Five months had passed since Suchi left for Texas.
She had categorically stated that she would not be contacting them till such time she felt that her condition would bring a smile to their faces. The wait had seemed long and stretched.
“No, appa, there is no mention of flight details. Maybe she does not wish to see us at the airport.”
“Does that mean…..?” Savitri’s voice trailed off.
“No, don’t even think otherwise. I trust the Lord. I know things would have worked out for Suchi, otherwise she wouldn’t have returned before her full tenure of six months stay.” Vednarayan retched.
“She is no dud. Her fortitude and perseverance are worth scripting history. I am sure she wants to enthrall us with her sudden arrival.” Santosh’s eyes glistened with unshed tears.
“Leave the door open. I want to see Suchi as she alights from the cab.”
Savitri asserted with a forlorn smile.
It was nearing lunchtime. Having no clue as to when Suchi would arrive, Savitri had all her favourite delicacies laid on the table. It had been a juggling game for her to keep running in and out of the kitchen, each time desperately wishing that a vehicle would screech halt in front of their bungalow, and her daughter would emerge.
Vednarayan kept walking to and fro throwing anxious glances at the door.
If the two elders made their anxiety palpable, Santosh struggled to maintain his calm. Somewhere in his heart a panic wave contoured and ebbed.
Despite him having always spoken encouraging words, apprehension loomed large over the cloud.
‘Would everything have worked out well for Suchi?’
At about 3.30 pm a rental car halted at their entrance.
The door opened and she stepped out -barely recognisable in her new avatar.
Everything about her countenance had undergone a drastic change. Her black hair had changed to auburn too, but the determination in her eyes persisted.
She looked more graceful than ever in her favourite green salwar-kameez.
Savitri ran her trembling fingers over Suchi’s cheeks and bosom and was revealed to hear her laugh as an utter contrast to the wails that rang through the house five months ago.
“Hey, guys!!! What are you gawking at? I am your Suchi.” The twenty-five-year-old acid attack victim smiled as her father wiped his tears and her brother stood dumbfounded.
She had fought the horrible burn marks with fortitude and was now ready to counter-attack the culprit, an obstinate, imbecile jilted lover.
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