Suman has a love-hate relationship with the
house they had recently moved into. "They" included Suman, her husband Sanjay and their 5 year old boy Rohit. Well, she loved the house for its bright sun soaked interiors and spacious kitchen. She hated it utterly for its stuffiness and the constant need to leave all the windows, doors and even the bathroom ventilators wide open to aerate the house. The constant banging of doors by the wind startled her invoking an unpleasant stream of mental expletives. The balance of the love-hate relationship tipped alarmingly after the fiasco on Saturday afternoon.
Suman folded the creamy flour and sugar muttering, “Trust is something that is very special. And somehow I cannot say it goes well with my son!"
She brimmed with irritation at the thought of Rohit’s tantrum after lunch.
He wanted to go out to play cricket with the neighborhood boys in the hot son. For few minutes Suman wondered if her child was simply stupid, who else would want to get fried in the hot summer sun. With each “Howzzzat!” from the play ground below his stomping the floor grew louder. A furious Suman banished the whimpering boy to his room.
He is only a child who wants to play. Suman understood that. But she did not agree that he would want to play in hot sun.
She mixed a few drops of vanilla essence and her secret ingredient the ice cream essence and put the mix for baking.
"Done!" She said triumphantly to herself. It was then that it struck Suman that Rohit has been silent for a very long time. Tantrum or no tantrum, Rohit was not one of the quiet boys.
“Up to some mischief for sure!” Suman shook her head opening the door to Rohit’s room. It was silent but for the thumping of the cupboard door.
”Rohit is stuck inside!” Suman panicked.
“Rohit, sweetie, Mommy is here honey. Don’t worry!”Suman shouted trying to keep fear from creeping into her voice. A million bad thoughts bounced across her mind.
“What if he is hurt?”
“What if he chokes?”
Why is he not speaking or crying now?
Pushing aside these thoughts Suman pulled at the door. Summer had made the door tight and Sanjay had procrastinated oiling the hinges. Her terror struck mind noted the procrastination point and subconsciously added it to the list of things to confront Sanjay with when things return to normalcy. She tugged harder and but the door stayed firm.
“Security! I should call the security to break open the cupboard” Suman ran to the balcony as the thumping continued in Rohit’s room.
She peered over the balcony and shouted, “Security!” Her voice was drowned by the screams and war cries of sweat soaked dust coated Lilliputian cricketers.
For a guilt ridden moment Suman felt she should’ve let Rohit out to play and all this wouldn’t have happened! Tears clouded her eyes and she paused to regain her poise.
“Rohit!” Suman shouted her voice trembling in relief. There he was, her little prankster, red as a tomato, running around the hot sun.”He must have sneaked out when my back was turned!”
“Get back here this minute!” Suman yelled and realizing the futility of her act decided to get down and drag the little Tendulkar back home by his ears.
“It was the blasted wind all the time! Rattling doors and cupboards! It gave me such a scare!” Suman thought as she secured the windows and ventilators.
Suman paused at the front door before going down to bring Rohit back home ”Not a sound. Wind it was!”
The click of lock falling into place filled the house.
Then the thumping started again. Only this time it was louder, more violent, accompanied by the mock whimpering of a little boy and followed by a wicked cheeky chuckle!!
P: S: Now let me confess, our new home has the same issues. On an evening back from work the cupboards in a closed room started rattling scaring me. The scary part is that there was no one in the apartments on my floor. The husband wouldn't pick up my calls as his phone was resting in the dark dungeons of a gym locker. I made panic calls to my friends. All this because the bathroom ventilator was wide open and the wind was playing the prank. Don’t ask, all of them had a nice laugh at my cost !