the ugly writers

THE SIGN

The Sign

That evening she burnt her curry while cooking – this tiny incident made her realize that she had to act fast. Sitting and worrying was not being of any help.

It felt familiar. And it scared her. Being a single parent was hard enough – earning well to provide with a quality life for two living in a metropolitan city and spending quality time with her son was becoming increasingly difficult. More so, with her recent promotion at office. Yet, Meera tried with all her heart to make sure that Sohan was getting her undivided affection and attention. Divorce wasn’t easy – they were still dealing with it.

Sohan, her son, has always been shy and introvert. He neither talked much, nor did he want to. But he was observant and sensitive.

The door was locked. Almost always for the past 5 days. Meera had had heard tales of other kids who were tricked into doing drugs; and before they knew it, they were already addicted. Was it a sign that her teenager too, was caught in the loop? She was sick with worry. She always had to knock and wait for him to open the door. As she waited, she could hear him shuffling something and cleaning up before opening the door.

She did not know how to approach – if it was really the drugs, she would have to stop it right away! But how should she open the conversation, how should she bring up the topic, she wondered. That evening she burnt her curry while cooking – this tiny incident made her realize that she had to act fast. Sitting and worrying was not being of any help.

Switching off the gas burner, she walked to Sohan’s room and knocked. She took a deep breath and pasted on a smile and waited for the shuffling to stop and the door to open. As soon as the door opened, she greeted, “hello dear,” surprising her son.

A pregnant and awkward pause later, she asked, “okay I do not know how to say this but are you doing drugs? By any chance?”

“No,” replied Sohan defensively and then added, “Why would you think that?”

“Then why do you always keep your door locked? And what is all those shuffling all about?” she asked, almost crying with relief.

A tiny smile escaped his lips and he walked up to his table to bring out a book on the American Sign Language for beginners. He explained that there was a new boy, Neeraj, in his football club who played beautifully but was deaf mute. Sohan wished to befriend him and was teaching himself the sign language. For that he needed to practice in front of the mirror. He didn’t know his innocuous act of locking the door to practice would worry Meera so much.

She laughed. A bit embarrassed by herself. And a lot touched by his sensitivity. She hugged Sohan and suggested, “how about going out for dinner? I burnt the curry I was cooking.”

 

Check Bidisa Sarkar on Instagram