Page 15 - September 2020
P. 15


        ‘brotherhood’.  On  the  last  day  of  Boards,  he  felt  an  indescribable  mix  of  emotions  –  relief,  for  that  hurdle
        had been past, and also a pang in his chest when he looked at the smiling faces before him. As he walked
        out   of   the   room,   the   question   paper   in   hand   and   a   slight   smile   gracing   his   lips,   he   was   met   with   the
        banter of his best pals.
                  And  the  warmth  of  the  hugs  from  the  otherwise  ‘tough  guys’  of  the  school  still  lingered  somewhere  in
        his heart…
                   The   third   was   perhaps,   the   one   he   found   the  most   exciting.   It   had   his   heart   racing   and   a   goofy
        being   plastered   on   his   face.   Oh,   the   beauty   of   young   love!   After   numerous   failed   attempts   of   trying   to
        strike   a   conversation   with   the   hazel   eyed  beauty,  he  had   finally   found   the   courage  to   ask   her   on   a   date.
        And   that   was   the   third   setting.   Their   first,   much   anticipated   date   when   he   finally   understood   what   the
        term   “butterflies   in   one’s   stomach”,   felt   like   –   it   seemed   the   entire   swarm   of   butterflies   in   the   land   had
        decided   to   reside   in   his   belly,   for   the   night.   As   her   laughter   rang   out   in   that   dimly   lit,   cozy   cafe,   he   felt
        himself fall a little deeper, a little harder.
                  And  then  her  fingers  shyly  found  his  and  entwined  theirs  together  –  at  that  moment,  he  found  ‘home’
        in a person.
             5:00 AM

             Madhav woke up with the same feeling of emptiness in his heart. The dream always made him feel this
        way   –   as   though   a   hole   had   been   carved   in   his   heart.   The   same   dream   he   had   been   having   for   many
        night now.
                 Suddenly,   the   pristine   walls   of   the   Isolation   Ward   seemed   to   be   stifling   him.   He   reached   for   his
        cellphone   that   was   placed   on   the   tiny   table   beside   his   bed,   and   videocalled   the   ‘most   frequently
        contacted’  number  in  his  inbox.  Thankfully,  she  was  up   –  as  he  knew  she  would  be;  she  has  always  been
        an early bird, after all!
             “What’s wrong, little one?”, came her lilting voice as a worry line creased her forehead.
                    Madhav   traced   her   face   on   the   screen,   with   his   fingertips.   With   a   gulp   of   air,   Madhav   felt   the   tough
        exterior  he  had  built  up  for  years  crumble  down,  as  he  succumbed  to  the  vulnerability  of  that  moment.  “I
        miss  you,  Maa.  I  miss  your  smile,  I  miss  home…  most  of  all,  I  miss  the  way  your  fingers  thread  through  my
        hair  and  all  my  worries  cease  to  exist,  I  miss  the  warmth  that  seeps  in  when  I  lie  on  your  lap…  I  miss…  your

                    Poet and short story
                     writer,Kerala, India

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