Through the open window the welcoming winter breeze giving a chill in spine was gushing in,but Bittu let it to touch his face. His eyes have become reddish. But He didn't try to cover his ears with the comforter .The school bus was moving fast as it was behind schedule. Like other kids he also hates waking up early in such cold mornings and to go to school. Again like others he doesn't have an option either.
His parents are both working in government offices. His grandparents are not there anymore. Being a single child, parents are over conscious about him. They wake him early ,make him ready for school,pack his tiffin in the school bag and see him off. He is also told to eat lunch properly after returning from school too. He has a governess, Smriti to look after him till his parents come from office each day.She is a middle edged married woman from the nearby colony.
The bus has reached the school gate. The kids were deporting from the bus in hurry and running to the prayer line. But Bittu slowly deported from the bus and gathering all his strength against his own will turned up for the prayer at the last row.He was not singing the prayer. Though he is too small to judge about existence of god like older people,he doesn't feel like praying before Him anymore.
The first class was Mathematics. He likes the subject but today his mind was on something else. " They have fought again today. I couldn't understand what the topic was though. Most of the times I do not. Why do they argue almost everyday anyway?"- his thought was interrupted .
" Bittu why aren't you listening? I said do the sum now." His mathematics teacher Soma mam rebuked him. He started doing it obediently as he was told.
Through the rest of the day he couldn't focus on any subject and also had to suffer consequences. Being a good student though he was not punished severely,but was rebuked. In tiffin break he never plays. He only finishes his tiffin and keeps staring vacantly to the wide blue sky. "If I would have been a bird , I could have flew away far away from here."he has always wished.
Few days ago his class teacher,D'Souza mam, has called on his parents informing them that Bittu have been having hard time in focusing in studies and also have become too silent and less responsive in school. She even suggested that he was to be taken to a counsellor. But his parents ignored the advice. They thought that the school was overdoing . Only effect of that call was that Bittu had a new tutor in home who was strictly monitoring him to right course of action.
When his parents argue he starts crying. He fears all those shouts and screams . Sometimes he have overheard his parents talking about' Separation' and 'Divorce'. He doesn't have the clear idea about what these were. But he understands that these must be something bad.
It was afternoon. The roads seemed endless to him.The school bus was dropping students one by one. Bittu was not feeling like going home today. The same daily routine bores him now. Smriti mausi was waiting for him like everyday. He handed her his water bottle and holding her hand entered house. She removed his shoes and asked," What happened Bittu baba? You seem very sad today. Did anyone hurt you in school?" Bittu didn't reply. From his sullen face, She understood what was ailing this little soul. She herself have been witness of domestic stress in this house. She feels sorry for the kid. And with her all might she tries to protect him, love him and take care of him. She didn't push Bittu further and brought lunch for him. While feeding him, she narrated story that Bittu loved most -the story of alibaba and forty thieves. But he was absent minded today. After a while suddenly he broke down and tears started flushing through his little eyes," Mausi, they again fought today. They said they will not live in the same house. Where will I go mausi?" Smriti's eyes also became moist. She cant tolerate the pain of this innocent kid. She loves him as her own child. She understand what Bittu was going through. But she was as helpless as Bittu. She hugged him tightly and took him in her lap." Na na Bittu baba they will go nowhere. They will be always with you. I will talk to them . Now don't cry baba. Look I am here with you." Smriti consoled him. Bittu sobbed in her lap relentlessly.
Smriti loves him so much sometimes she wish she could have brought him up as her own child. Had it been possible he wouldn't have to suffer so much.Smriti knows how much Bittu relies on her. She may not have given birth to him,but she have been more than mother to him. She started looking after him when he was only a month old. She herself wouldn't be able to leave him ever.
." Promise me you will not leave me ever. If you go somewhere you will take me with you", Bittu asked her,sobbing.
She kissed in his forehead and took him up in her arms. " I will go no where. I will always be with you Bittu baba . " , she promised him and to herself too. Bittu clinched on to her with his little arms and gradually stopped sobbing. She patted him in his back and sang him a lullaby. Bittu took refuge in deep sleep. He was exhausted . Smriti made him lie down in his bed and continued patting in his back affectionately. May be the world will say that she is no one to him, that she is only a governess. But actually It doesn't matter that there is no blood relation between them. The motherhood of Smriti for Bittu has been flourished with their mutual affection ,love and bonding. It is truly said some relations are beyond explanations.