Whenever I see Sundar, I longed to hold him tightly in my hands. I loved to cup his cheeks in my palms and smother him with smooches. I loved to run my fingers through his unruly and curly hairs and smell the fragrance I liked. His dark eyes that always twinkled mischievously at the corner and his defiant don’t-care look were the things I liked most in him. He was always a bit rough with me but I liked it most of the times. He was sitting just a few feet away from me in a corner casting his longing looks at me every now and then as if pleading with me to come and sit by his side. My heart sank for I dared not go near him with dad sitting by my side. Dad is a no-nonsense type brooking no improper behavior.
Sundar made a secret sign that only we two knew beckoning me to come near him. There were a few others in the room including my mom. Everyone knew dad’s disciplinarian streak and I didn’t want to risk however coy and innocent face Sundar put up.. When I seemingly ignored him by talking to others, I was all the time looking at him through the corner of my eyes aware that he stole glances at me. Now he had the audacity to wink at me. Luckily dad did not notice. I could not suppress my smile and the short giggle that escaped from my lips but luckily they went unnoticed by others.
What hurt me most was that dad did not take kindly to Sundar and his ways. He never spoke to him warmly and there was always a note of disapproval whenever he found him with me. Sadly dad had not moved with times and harboured antiquated ideas on men and matters. No one these days are submissive and there is a bit of brashness in all.
It was then the most unexpected thing happened.Sundar all on a sudden stood up from his chair, took a few steps defiantly towards me and hugged me in the presence of all. Dad was livid with rage and shouted”Sunita, go to your room I say. I cannot tolerate this behaviour.”
I was irritated at dad’s boorish manner and blurted “Dad, you forget he is a small boy of five years and expect him to behave like a grown up man. How long would a child sit in a corner unspoken to and away from his mom as a ‘sit out’ punishment?”