“There have been so many developments and you don’t even tell me.” Danisha was miffed.
” You have already done so much as a major sargeant. Now, I want you to enjoy this phase–‘way to motherhood’.” Vikram said nonchalantly.
” Ummhh..so what next? You all should keep a low profile and garner information about him and then stealthily attack him. He’ll go bonkers.” she opiniated.
” Sure dear. That’s what our intelligence is trying to do. Fish out information about him. Ok..now sleep Danisha. You need rest and junior Vikram needs rest too.Sleep now.” Vikram planted a kiss on her cheek.
” You’re digressing from what we were discussing. ” Danisha blurted out.
“Shh..Tomorrow, we need to visit your papa. Sleep now.” Vikram caressed her hair; slowly Danisha’s overtaxed and sleep deprived mind was lulled into deep slumber.
Abhimanyu sir, along with his coterie, was discussing, in his cabin, the reconnaissance activity to be carried out, on the line of control in Boshir when Danisha and Vikram entered his home. He had an official cabin at home to discuss matters which required urgent intervention.
” Why don’t you sit till papa finishes his meeting.” Vikram said drawing Danisha towards a comfy armchair made of mohogany.
She flumped in the armchair gasping for breath when Abhimanyu sir strode toward the living room flanked by his team. His eyes settled on the couple as he remarked, ” Danisha, Vikram , welcome my children. I’ll join you both in a few minutes. Let me just bid my colleagues goodbye.
” Sir, take your time.” Vikram said as he bent and sat beside Danisha on the floor. Clasping her hand, he peered into her eyes.
” Didn’t I tell you. Papa keeps busy. We shouldn’t have come here.” Danisha stated, drawing Vikram’s hand toward her cheek. As she nestled her cheek in his palm, Vikram felt his palms greased by her tears.
” Hey, hey.. Danisha, you are always on the edge nowadays. C’mon papa loves you more than he loves himself. Bugga Reech is annihilating innocent people. All the top brass are devising plans to, not only curtail his attacks but also to eliminate his group, including him.
Abhimanyu sir treaded towards Danisha. Lifting her gingerly, he gave a nice peck on her forehead.
” Ummh..my child is about to become a mother. I hope Vikram is taking good care of yourself. If not, tell me. I’ll persecute him.” Abhimanyu sir remarked while winking at Vikram.
” He gives me no trouble. But, it seems my papa has no time for his lil daughter.” Danisha complained as she hugged her papa.
” Bugga Reech has become a bone of contention in the army circle. You are a soldier so you know that it’s imperative that he should be executed as soon as possible or else he will keep on carrying out massacre. All of us are chalking out plans to kill him.All we can think of is retribution, child.” Abhimayu sir said gnashing his teeth in rage.
” I understand papa.” Danisha lovingly set some of the unruly white hair on Abhimanyu sir’s skull.
” You’ve not had an oil massage since long. Umh papa.” she said.
” My lil one has long gone to her hubby’s place. Who’ll give me a good champi now?” Abhimanyu sir remarked.
” O..papa..I knew.Who will take care of you now? I’m not there.” In no time Danisha was howling.
Vikram and Abhimanyu sir looked at each other, perplexed. Abhimayu sir was falling short of words when Vikram came forward.
” Papa, if you have no issues.Can we stay with you? Danisha misses you a lot.”Vikram mumbled.
Abhimanyu sir, held Danisha as she plonked in the armchair.” I will be more than happy if you both stay with me. Danisha only wanted to stay in your quarter.I acquiesced. I’ll tell Dilawer and Sugrev to carry out the shifting.”
Abhimanyu sir motioned Vikram to sit in the chair that was beside Danisha while he sat in the chair opposite to hers. He stiffened as he observed Danisha.
” Yes, sire”
” Dilawer and you have to get babyji and Vikramji’s all stuff here. They’ll stay with us now.”
” Wow..Babyji and Vikram saheb will stay here, sire. I don’t know how to contain my happiness. Since babyji left, you’ve not had tea.” Sugrev, the domestic help who lived with Abhimayu sir since Karan, Danisha’s brother was born, was over the moon. He loved Danisha unconditionally, and was considered to be a member of the house.
” What papa? Why..Why don’t you have tea?” Danisha was bewildered.
” I ..I miss the ginger cardomom tea that you would make so affectionately.” Abhimanyu sir’s voice trailed off.
Danisha struggled to rise from her armchair. She asked Sugrev to lend her a hand.
” I’m shifting here. I’ll make the tea just now. Sugrev kaka, I hope, you’ve not shifted the places of all the ingredients in the kitchen.” She staggered toward the kitchen, flanked by Sugrev.
” Leave it..daughter.” Abhimanyu sir tried to dissuade her but to no avail.
” Vikram. Danisha needs a break. You’ve been keeping busy.I’ve been busy. During such a time, a daughter needs her mother the most, however, she doesn’t have one. I guess, if you take her to a place where both of you can spend quality time, she will marvel this phase, looking forward to a new journeyof motherhood. I can see, how the anxiety bouts are enervating her.” Abhimayu sir stated, rising from his chair, looking through the window, at the sky, where the yellows and the oranges were vying for attention, a rapid rainbow emanating from them. The first showers had not yet satiated the parched ground as it cried through its broken edges. The petrichor lingered in the air marking the start of the monsoon.