“Please, can you take two days off? I have heard many testimonials from our relatives. Just once if we visit this temple, I will surely conceive.” Prathipa spoke as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Dear, I stand by your beliefs. You know how the police department works and the nature of my job as an Inspector. We have an important ongoing investigation. It is impossible to ask for vacation.” Guru replied, wiping her face gently.
“I am the one who stays with your mother all day. Her words indirectly revolve around my infertility. Sometimes it does hurt. Still, I will not blame her. She is expecting her grandchild past seven years.”
“Shall I speak to her?”
“Guru! It is getting late, start to work first.” It was Akilaandam, Guru’s mother.
After the command came, the duo signaled each other, and Guru walked towards the front door.
A few days later, Guru came in rushing.
“Amma, I am in charge of the security squad for an important meeting scheduled next week. Till then, I cannot stay at home but will call when possible and inform the details. Take care, Amma!”
He entered his bedroom.
“You do not have to say anything. I completely understand.” She took the vibhuti and placed it on his forehead. Their eyes exchanged a million words before he left.
As promised, he called his home when time permitted.
“Today’s date is 22nd. He told his duty would be over on the 21st night itself. Why has he not come home? Shall we try calling up his station?” Akilaandam asked Prathipa, who already seemed tensed.
“I tried today morning. No one is attending the call.”
“They are so irresponsible. Let us try again tomorrow. Get me a coffee and switch on the news.”
Prathipa did so and entered the kitchen. She felt the need for coffee herself.
“This is the Doordarshan news. Good evening and welcome to the headlines. Rajiv Gandhi, a former Prime Minister, hoping to return to power in elections this week, was assassinated in a powerful explosion as he walked towards an election rally platform last night in a small town southwest of Madras.”
“Guruuuu!” Akilaandam screamed.
“Athai, what happened?” Prathipa came running.
“Guru went for this event, right?” she pointed her finger towards their Onida television.
Prathipa saw Guru’s name in the list and fainted to the ground. She woke up in the hospital, where the doctor informed her that she was pregnant. Unable to balance the joy of motherhood with the news of her husband’s demise, she struggled every second of her life.
Seven months later
“It is a boy.” The nurse gave the newborn into Akilaandam’s arms.
“I knew it! Today’s date is 21st. My son has come back to me. Oh darling, aim to become a doctor or engineer. I shall work hard and support your education,” she rejoiced.
“Athai, he will become a police officer,” Prathipa replied firmly, looking at the little one, her newfound beacon of hope.
Athai – mother-in-law
Vibhuti – sacred ash
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