He took a cab and half way towards Malcha Marg, he instructed the driver to go to Shanti Niketan, and so began his journey of not looking Ranjan in the eye and not talking to him when he "had" to look him in the eyes
The news crews had left for the night, he didnt tell her when he was reaching, he bought tickets at the first airline counter, realized he needed a passport and had gone home to grab it, hadnt packed just stepped out shutting the door behind him
In Hong Kong... His airline in flight magazines sat on the living room coffee table, the dishes from last nights pasta primavera lay in the sink, a half empty glass of Cabernet sat by a half full bottle of wine, uncorked He had forgotten to...
In Delhi, at Sam's... Sam was upstairs reading to Nandu, Nandu peeked out the window every few minutes counting the number of cars across the street with headlights on... he found it amusing and fascinating that some people wanted pictures of him and his house
Sam pulled him inside, closing the curtains, running a search on her phone for Nandu's name... she had called the DPS Princi and told her he wont be at school for the whole week
The "book" he had written "Being a family", was a pictorial depiction of life as a 7 year old...
He picked up the book, the writing was clean (between the lines, AND partially cursive). It was over 20 sides, each side had a hand drawn picture and a bunch of sentences underneath He was not a great artist but he was a good writer, R&B noticed
"Will they be gone when I do my book reading?" he asked Sam
Sam hugged him "Ofcourse they will be, I know they are annoying and mean" she kissed the top of his head
Tan walked in and gave him a hug "Did u feed him?" he asked Sam
She shook her head "Ooopar kya kar raha hai, chal neeche, will make us gin and tonic" he held R&B's hand firmly
Sam ran towards him and hugged him tight
Went on her toes and kissed him on both stubbly cheeks.. "Cuteness!!" she cooed He tapped her head...
"I know... I am short" she hugged him again... his ribs hurt... it was so tight
"Kya banaoon raat ko?" she asked Like everything was normal
"when is Ma getting here?"
Sam's eyes glistened
"Dad ko nahi poochhega?" she felt really terrible
"I can go get her" he said softly
"Chal boss, neeche" Tan dragged him eye signalling Sam
She leaned on the wall crying softly as Nandu began to sleep
Ma arrived after 3 AM... the vultures sought her out, the airport "coolies" took pictures "for sale" and texted to their papparazzi rat bretheren
The picture of how her bag would fall off her cart, tho being first class, nobody came up to help her only busy taking pictures
The ITBP guards at the gate passing her a compassionate look, verbally abusing the "coolies"
R&B would walk over and hug her... she was stoic and calm... in a orange saree... he slid her bindi down, and it had fallen He had personally driven her to Sam, as she protested "I shud go check on him" she had protested
"Hes fine... asleep probably... or drunk" R&B had said flatly
She had bitten her lower lip drawing blood... her head exploding in pain...
He had pulled into Sam's drive way... a papparazzi had the gall to ask for water, hoping to sneak in to get a close up of Savvy as she got off the car
The guard had slammed the steel gates on his face
Sam greeted her with a hug...
"I am asking him to take me home"
Sam looked at her Ma's eyes... "WHEN DID WE START DOING CAMPS? THERE ARE NO CAMPS... THERE WILL BE NO CAMPS. WE ARE A FAMILY
HE IS OURS AS MUCH AS WE ARE HIS.
Chachu had called every phone atleast 50 times, Chachi?
Hadnt bothered to visit, just spoken to Sam with smug satisfaction quoting Krishna and Bhagwat Gita.. much to Sam chagrin
Ma barely ate, Sam helped her change into a salwar kameez Ma sat by Sam's lounge window waiting for the sun to come up, as if it would all be better at sun rise
Ranjan had called her multiple times He had driven up distraught
The guards had let him in
They feared he would be "shredded" by the media outside.
He walked in wearily... in a pair of jeans and a navy tee, unshaven, his thick lustrous salt and pepper hair an uncombed mess
His eyes big and moist, 6 feet tall, skinny as his son, extremely fair, not even having the thin coat of "hiker/biker/trekker" tan R&B had acuqired
He was an extremely handsome man, who reeked wealth and arrogance... his gold plated glasses one of a kind, his watch the "Bentley-Rolex" like limited edition
Sam brought chai... Tan stood up in respect shaking his hand Ma didnt turn to see his face
R&B leaned on the wall... he could see Ranjan's chin quiver first and shake visibly as his tears reached his chin
Ma was stretched out on the window seat, as he approached she drew her legs up, tucking her knees below her chin, hugging her legs, tied up in a knot Ranjan sat by her and muttered "Savvy" Tan turned away sharply... walking out of the room R&B followed him, Tan gathered Sam in his arms nudging her along.
Ranjan had left disheartened, heart broken, devastated? by 9 ish Wed morning.. he did not need to be told he had over stayed his welcome...
Savvy had been there all day Wed Jan 12th... not leaving the window seat... just talking with Nandu
R&B had hovered over like a toddler wanting to cuddle... he had sat by her on the carpet...
She had given him many a finger kangi, and sang Punjabi lullabys.. to both boys, Nandu and him
Nandu held her hand pulled her up "I hid my book, u cant see it until next week Nani Ma... come up, lets play Pokemon"
She had smiled and hugged and stayed on
Sam had fed her khichri urged her to take a nap, she had until midnight on Wed... they had all sat around
she had asked about Manny multiple times, Manny was doing her Masters then, she couldnt get away at the drop of her hat... she hadnt "told her husband much" Thursday Jan 13th would be worse than "Friday the 13th" of every cinema or book put together...
Coz they wouldnt not know it was the very last time they would see Savvy... Thursday at Noonish "I must go back, I cant live the rest of my life here" she had said to Sam
Packed, and LEFT FOR THE airport instead. Sam "pretended" to pick up pieces of her life, she had asked the help to make lamb biryani, done three days worth of laundry, even allowed Tan to make out in the laundry room R&B lay on the couch in Sam's sun room and finished reading the 600 page tome he began to last week, twirling his hair, taking frequent breaks as he was reminded of Ranjan's eyes from early Wed morning...
Ranjan... yep... he was Ranjan from now on..
Savita Bhalla, instead of returning to Malcha Marg would go to the airport buy herself a ticket to Hong Kong, and would call R&B from his land line, around 10 PM on Thursday Jan 13th
"I crashed ur apartment love" she would say softly to R&B
"Make sure you do the dishes and make the beds everyday Ma" "The spoons and forks cant be mixed up in the drawer" "And when u make the beds...the striped pillow goes against the wall the plain pillow goes on top" he ordered with a half smile, just like she would instruct them