September 3 2016: 10 P.M
“Hi, reached home?”Aadvika saw a message from ‘Blooming Buds- Chn’.
She smiled. She edited the contact as ‘Harini – Chn.’
“Hi Harini. I work in a school, so I get back in the evening.”
“Oh, You are a Teacher!”
“Yes.” Aadvika replied.
The conversation which started as an introduction extended for another one hour.
“What are you doing with the mobile?” Manoj asked.
“Chatting. I have got a new friend. She is so adorable.” Aadvika replied.
“Hmm.”, Manoj mumbled.
They spoke a lot about their profession and landed into the most personal topics.
“It has been six years Harini. It is so stressful.”
“I understand Aadvika. My situation is bad too. 28, still single.”
“Parents must be really worried.”
“Oh, yes. A lot. My cousin too.”
“Yes, she is worried that my bachelorette party would be changed to Spinster Party, since I am aging.”
Aadvika covered her mouth and laughed. She wondered when the last time she laughed was.
“You take things light, unlike me.”
“I don’t know. That’s how I am.”
“It’s is so nice talking to you, dear.”, the word dear slipped off her finger tips casually.
“Awww! I am so happy for getting to know such a good person.”
“Thank you Harini. Off late, people have started telling that I am too boring to be with. I just lament about my problems.”
“We don’t choose to lament, do we? It is just the circumstances.”
“True.” Aadvika replied.
Harini’s status showed ‘Online.’ ‘Is she waiting for me to start something?’ Aadvika thought.
“Hey, gotta hit the bed now. My day starts at 5.45 AM.” Aadvika looked at the time. It was 11.00 PM
“Oh, early bird. :). Good night. Sweetdreams.”
“Good night dear.”
The conversation ended.
September 4 2016: 6 A.M
Aadvika woke up fresh and happy. She sat on the bed and reading through the conversation she had with Harini last night.
She stretched her arms over her head. She felt young and light.
Harini was like a cool breeze that skimmed through the loose layers of dust off Aadvika’s mind. It was surprising how she could connect so well to a girl with whom she spoke only for a day.
She walked out of the bedroom. She was positively chirpy. She packed the lunch boxes and assembled the casserole dishes on the dining table. Manoj was still asleep. She wondered why.
“Why are two boxes being packed?” came in Sujatha’s hoarse voice.
“It is a holiday for my son. He told us last night.”
“Oh, I forgot.”, Aadvika smiled. She was happy. She was not sure when was the last time she forgot something, just because her mind was overwhelmed by happiness.
She emptied the box back into the casserole and strode to get ready. She bade her in-laws a bye, and left for her work.
Thirty minutes later, Manoj walked to the living room, in search of the newspaper.
“Manoj, you wanted to tell me something?” Sujatha looked at her son.
“She left?” Manoj asked.
September 4 2016: 8 A.M
“He left?” Asked Meera.
“Meera Ma, Please come in.” Goutham, stood up from his chair, folding the book in his hands.
“Sorry for poking my nose into this, the other boy left?”
“Please don’t be sorry. We know each other for six long years.” Goutham paused to smile. ”He is Raghu. Yes he left for Chennai as he had an interview, last weekend. ”
“Okay Beta. Who is he?”
“His Uncle and my dad were friends during their initial days of work. That is all. He is planning to settle down here, in India, so until he gets settled, I am just helping him out for stay.” Goutham smiled.
“Yes. He lost his parents when he was young. His uncle told me before his visit. I did not take this up in front of him; I was not sure how bad would he feel.”
She nodded silently.
“It was strange,” he spoke to Payal , later that evening. Goutham had never seen Meera, inquiring about any of his visitors.
“She might have remembered her lost son.” Payal said in a low voice.
The couple looked at each other, as they ran out of words.
Meera laid awake, tears flowing through her eyes. She held the picture of her six year old son, which was taken before she lost him. A blue T-shirt and black jeans. He had posed sitting on a children’s bike.
She shut her eyes tight to lock the memories.
September 4 2016: 5 P.M
She shut her eyes tight to lock the memories.
‘Dukku had a holiday today. He should be relaxed. I can call him for a walk. Probably we can get an ice cream, have it as we walk and talk.’ she smiled at her own thoughts.
Aadvika’s day was lighter than most of the days in the recent past.
She entered her home, in the evening after the school.
The house was silent than usual. Pramod Uncle, Sujatha’s second cousin had come.
Something was wrong.
“How dare you..”, her mother in law started in her usual tone. The fight went on for more than two hours. Sujatha was woeful with the fact that Manoj and Aadvika decided to sponsor a child.
“I can’t believe how today’s generation can take so much vital decisions without involving elders.”, Pramod added.
Aadvika listened to the conversation calmly. She did not have the guts to back answer. She did not want to fight with anybody. She just wanted to hold Manoj by his shirt and shake him to speak up for her.
“Not their fault, Parmod. That was the way they had been brought up. What we see is the spoilt leaf. The roots reek.”
Aadvika looked at Sujatha.
“Ma, I am sorry, but you do not have the right to talk about my roots. I am from a good family background.”
“See, Pramod Anna, look at how they speak to elders”
“What is this Manoj?”, asked Pramod.
‘You idiot, tell her that I am speaking the right thing. Don’t stand like a dumb.’ Aadvika wanted to scream. She screamed, silently.
“Aadvika, Mom is just disappointed. Just let this moment go. She will be ok.” He tried to pacify Aadvika.
Aadvika looked at him, as she thought, ‘She will be ok, but can you understand the emotional trauma, such fights are causing me?’.
“Manoj, I want to talk to you.”
“Parmod, this is how they lock themselves into the room and discuss something. The next day morning, my son will not look right. I don’t know what she does inside.”
Aadvika heard every word her mother-in-law spoke as she walked into the room.
“You heard what your mom told?” She began.
“So you are the only one suffering here?”
“No, you too.”
“Do you even understand that?”
“Aadvika, please stop with your questionnaires. They are irri..” , Manoj was interrupted by Aadvika.
“Irritating is it? That is how my life is. Your mom does not seem to understand. Your mom is just making my life so difficult.”
“Your mom, your mom, your mom. Stop this nonsense. She is OUR mom.”
“You cannot inculcate that feeling in me by forcing me to think so. She does not treat me as her daughter.”
“Call me, Ajju. I will feel better.”
“No time for emotional drama.”
“This is not a drama ,Dukku.”
“Stop calling me that way, it irritates me.”
“Yes. And now coming to the point, I cannot speak against my mom, or in that sense, against any elders in the family. If they hurt you, you just have to find a way to recover yourself. I will help you with the recovery, but if you expect me to talk to my mom to change her attitude, that is something impossible.”
“Then, it is going to be impossible for me to lead a life here. Like this, crying the whole night. Do you even imagine, how many nights I have cried silently?”
“This is my family. This is my mom. If you can’t lead a life here, Then I am sorry, you can never lead a life anywhere.”
“What did you just say Manoj? If not for this house, I cannot find live hood anywhere else, is it?”
“I did not say that.”
“But you meant it, right?”
“If you take it that way, then it is your problem, not mine.”
‘When you have the right to say OUR mom, I should have the to say OUR problem.’ she thought.
She lost the energy to argue more. Her tears were draining her. She sat on the floor with bewildered expression. She was lost. She cried. Cried and cried. She wished her life came out of her eyes, as her tears did.
Unfortunately, she was still alive.
September 8 2016: 10.15 P.M
Fortunately, she was still alive.
“Is there a problem with her?” Asked the coordinator.
“No. She is good. Just a hurt limb.” Harini placed the turtle back on the sand.
They were there for the turtle walk. Considering the number of reptiles and the eggs, Harini thought it might take 4 A.M to get it done.
“Hi.” Harini heard a voice from behind. She turned to see, who it was.
There stood Raghu in his GAP t-shirt and a khaki shorts.
“Hey, Hi.”, Harini smiled. “You here?” She continued in surprise.
“Yes.”, he bent down to pick a reptile. “Look at this tortoise. He looks Lost and sad. If not for me, how will this poor fellow reach home?”
Harini looked at Raghu, smiling.
“First of all, that is a turtle, not a tortoise, you see the shell? Second, that is a ‘She’ not a ‘he’.” Harini’s smile broadened as she kept looking at him.
He slowly let the animal down. “You know that I am not here for the turtle and you also know whom I am here for. Then why do you have to ask?” He raised his eyebrows.
“You came here for me?” She asked.
“You didn’t know that?” He replied.
Harini and Raghu looked at each other in silence.
Harini slowly turned away to look at the sea, hiding her ecstasy.
“So how is this for you? Walking in the night?” Harini asked.
“It is wonderful. The moonlight. A beautiful girl beside. It is like a dream.”
“Hey, that’s an exaggeration.”
“No, I am not sure if I can say this. You look beautiful in this pink top, white long skirt and that sling bag across your chest.” He paused.
Harini bent down to take a look at her own self. She smiled.
“Thanks.”, she smiled. “So, tell me something.”, she continued.
Raghu froze for a moment as he saw her.
He stood there, looking at her deep, black eyes, her beautiful smile, her round face, against the dark sky, his legs quiescent.
“What are you looking at?” She disturbed his admiration.
“Uhh.. Nothing. A pair of twinkling.., “he paused as he looked directly into her eyes. “.. stars, over there.”He pointed his finger to the sky.
She turned to see in the direction, he pointed. Few of her hair strands tangled in his two-day-old beard, making him realize how close he stood.
She turned to him with a smile.
They had walked half of the distance. It was 1.20 A.M.
“Any relationships so far?”, probably she asked the most important question of the day.
Raghu shrugged his shoulders. “Haven’t thought about relationship or settling down much. But I guess I will be thinking about it from now on.”
‘No relationship so far, Eight years of experience after his degree. So 21 or 22+8, should be 29 or 30.’ she thought, pausing her mind there. ‘God, why am I thinking about all this.’ She bit her lip.
She turned towards Raghu. He looked deep into her eyes, as if he had been watching her expressions all the while, in the past few seconds.
“Have you been thinking something beautiful?” He asked.
“Wh.. Why?” She fumbled.
“You are blushing.” He smiled.
“Really, Am I? I mean the pink is seen here? “She pointed to the cheek. “My cousin says I am dark to the extent, that even the pimples on my face are not red.”
Raghu looked at her, eyebrows raised.
‘It seems I did not answer his question. I clung onto this stupid complexion stuff.’ She thought.
“It is about the feeling; not the color.” Raghu replied, his face blank.
“Sorry, I am silly.”She shrugged her shoulders as she smiled.
“No Problem. I love that in you.”
Harini turned in a reflex.
Raghu seemed to walk, his movement impetuous, ignoring the strain to take his feet, which submerged into the sand, as the soil became wetter and denser as they moved closer to the water.
“I was not thinking about something beautiful. I was thinking about something handsome.” She lowered her voice, just enough for Raghu to hear the words.
Raghu smiled, looking at the soil.
There was a silence in between, in which both of them let out a deep breathe, after inhaling the air, which was heavy with mist, from the waves spraying in the air.
The sound of the waves ramming against the beach, bought out an intriguing feeling in her. She walked closer, close enough to brush his dorsal hand, with her fingers.
He reacted in a moment, by moving to his right, sensing that they were walking close.
Harini let out a sigh and moved to her left. She did not turn to him for the next few seconds.
The chill sea breeze blew as if it hummed a song, to which her skirt fluttered in response, striking his bare legs, every time.
The white crystals that hung from the frills, tickled his skin. She tried to tuck her skirt, with her hands, to hold the loose ends within her frame.
“They don’t hurt me.” He smiled.
She widened her eyes in sudden gaiety of his smile.
She had been a part of the activity every year. It had never felt the same.
Raghu’s mind played back his memories. The dark sky ,the water and on top of it, Harini’s presence brought him memories.
“So, I cannot call you Mom?” , he asked his Aunt, when he first heard about his parents’ demise.
“Of course dear, you can.”, his Aunt planted a kiss on his forehead.
“How will my mom look like?” He asked.
His Aunt hugged him, tears rolling down from her eyes.
Raghu’s eyes were moist as his mind played back the memories.
He had come over it long back. He had never cried over his bitter past. He was not sure what made him to brood on it.
He slowly moved closer to Harini.
Harini was looking at the sea and did not turn to her right, until she felt his fingertips, brushing her dorsal palm.
He carefully slipped his fingers into hers, holding her hand gently, leaving a small gap for the sea breeze to brush their palm and escape through the tiny gap.
He turned towards her.
“This is a walk to remember.” He spoke softly, as he held her hand tight, leaving no way for the breeze.
September 11 2016: 10.15 A.M
“Booking confirmed.” Harini received Raghu’s text.
“Great. When is the return ticket?”
“I have given the joining date as November 14th. So I have a lot of time. I will catch up with old buddies , bid them a good bye , make things straight for uncle, Aunt, in the new house and I will try to be here by November first week.”
“Oh.ok.” She replied.
“What happened?” He asked.
“What happened?” She asked herself. She was missing him already. She wondered how she would spend the days without him. She was happy and sad the same time. She was confused and clear the same time. She shook her head.
“Be back soon.” She replied.
‘I will miss you.’ She wanted to say. She wondered why to brood on it. She wanted to keep it simple.
“The way we held hands at the beach.” She typed, when Raghu’s new message popped up.
“Sure.” came in his reply. “I will go to Delhi to take my luggage and board the flight from there,” he continued.
Harini erased the entire text and re-typed.
“Hmm.”, she replied.
“Hey, why so somber replies.”, he asked.
“No, Raghu, I am not sure, but the way we held hands..,” she typed, when Raghu’s next text popped up.
“Hey, can you accompany me to Delhi? “ His text came.
Harini erased her text again.
“Hey, sounds like a plan. But.., ‘ she sent her text.
“??”Came the response.
“But, is that even possible? What would I tell my parents? And what about work?”
“Oh. Ok. No problem. I just had a thought that is It.” He replied.
There was a long pause in the conversation.
After two minutes, a text popped up.
“I will take care. I will manage something at home. I will take an off for a week.” She assured.
Harini did not wait for Raghu this time. She typed her text.
“The way we held hand at the beach told me something about us. What is happening in between us, Raghu?”, she pressed the send button.
Raghu’s status shifted from ‘typing’ to ‘online’ and then to ‘last seen’.
Harini shook her head.
September 21 2016: 7 A.M
Few days later, they were in Chennai International airport, in the Domestic departure. Somehow Raghu left her last text unanswered.
Every time she tried to remind him, he brought in a new topic, skipping her reminder.
Harini did not speak to him for the first five minutes.
“I am so sorry that I could not reply the other day. I got the call regarding the back ground check for the job.”
“No problem.” She kept her reply short. She was taciturn and sulky.
“Harini..” Raghu called her slowly. “I was brought up in a wholly contrasting culture. I am still not sure how to relate myself to you. To be honest, I do not know where to draw a line. I am worried; I might ruin the delicate friendship we behold. I am fine, disenchanting you by staying too far from the line, rather than intimidating you and having myself demeaned in your heart.
I know you are angry. I can explain. I am really not sure what made me hold your hand the other day. Every time I heard your, I saw you, my heart tried to inculcate my mind to hear you more, see you more. When you apprise, how things hadn’t happened to you, no matter how funny you sound, I just wish, I could give you all that, no one has ever given you. “, He paused.
Harini looked at him, fixing her gaze into his eyes.
“I just spoke, what I felt. I am still not sure, if it is right or wrong.” He shrugged his shoulders.
They heard the announcement that the flight had arrived in the respective gate.
They walked in silence for the next two minutes and travelled in more silence for the next two hours.
They got down at the Delhi airport.
Harini was looking at the busy streets of Delhi, as she peered through the windows of the taxi, they had just charted.
“Harini” Raghu spoke in a low voice.
Harini turned to him, nodding. “Hmm.”
“Thanks for letting me be by your side.” He spoke, breaking the silence.
“I could not deny. As I read your text, I just imagined you sitting in front of me, contracting and relaxing those beautiful cheek muscles, displaying an array of various degree of smile. I could never say a No to this face.” She spoke as she looked at him.
“So you accepted this guy’s request?”
“The woman wanted him to be beside too. The man asked, while the woman still wondered how to ask, just because the man refrained from speaking about what both of them meant to each other. Hope the man does not restrict himself, from telling few other things, in the future.”
“What are those? The man does not know. ” He smiled.
“She thought the man, just hesitated to convey; She did not know it never struck him at all.” She raised her eyebrows.
“No.” Raghu shook his head in panic.
Raghu and Harini had a good laugh.
Raghu took Harini’s hands in his.
“Can I ask you something?”
She looked at him, directly into his eyes.
“Sure.” She replied.
“Can we ..” he paused to smile.
“Can we stop the car, Aloo tikki tastes great here.”, Raghu winked.
Harini glared at him. Raghu shrugged his shoulders. They had a good laugh again.
Raghu paid the taxi fare.
Raghu and Harini waited for their order, standing near the shop.
There was a bus stop close by.
“I actually wanted to ask you something too.” Harini looked into his eyes.
As Raghu digged his spoon into the Aloo tikki, he nodded and smiled, as if he understood her.
“Who am I to you, Raghu?” She asked. She knew she was back to square one. She wanted to know where things were going in between them.
More than the actual urge to know ‘An answer’, she had the urge to know ‘The Answer’, the answer that she knew, the answer that she believed Raghu knew.
She slowly raised her head, to look at him, while something caught her attention.
Raghu turned to the direction where Harini fixed her gaze.
“Raghu, excuse me.” She placed the plate down. “Raghu, excuse me for a minute,” she spoke as she started to move.
Raghu stood there puzzled.
September 21 2016: 10 A.M
“Hey.”, Harini called out.
The woman, who was approaching Harini, took her eyes off her mobile and looked up.
She looked at Harini for more than thirty seconds.
“Blooming buds, Chennai, Volunteer, Harini. You forgot Aadvika?” Harini asked, as she spoke breathless phrases to familiarize herself.
“Harini.” Aadvika smiled.
“How come you are in Delhi?”
“I came here for a training program, arranged by my school. How about you?” She forced a smile.
“I have come with my friend, just a casual trip. By the way, is something wrong Aadvika?”
Aadvika swallowed hard. “Nothing. I am just tired. Head ache since morning.”
“Oh. I am so sorry. Where do you stay?” Harini asked while trying to understand Aadvika’s situation more.
“Here, nearby,” came in Aadvika’s disoriented reply, from which it was evident to Harini that Aadvika was disturbed.
Harini had her hand around Aadvika’s shoulders. Her hands engulfed Aadvika’s slim frame.
The sudden sense of touch moistened Aadvika’s eyes. Harini’s hands gave her the most needed warmth.
“Harini, please don’t mistake, that I am asking you a favor right in our first meet. Do you know any good place to stay for a couple of days?”
“Aadvika, you look so drained. Why don’t you take some rest and then go for searching. I can definitely help you with that, but I feel you look so weak.” Harini’s words brought more tears to Aadvika.
“Aadvika!” Harini squeezed her hands. “I need to talk to someone.” Her voice trembled.
“Just a second. Please be here, I will be back.” Harini turned and walked towards Raghu.
“What happened, Harini?” He asked.
“Raghu, she is my friend. She is feeling despaired.” She paused.
“Oh, I am so sorry about it.” He expressed his grief.
“Raghu, I will take her to the hotel room which we have booked.” She looked at him.
“I am not sure..,” she paused.
“Hey, I understand. Let me go for a small shopping. In fact I need few things too. I will see you in one hour’s time.” He smiled.
“Thank you so much.” She smiled, a smile reflecting the solace he gave her.
She turned to walk towards Aadvika. She stopped in between, thinking about the puppy and Dileep. Was she trying to do the same thing to Raghu? Her mind raced.
She turned towards him in a reflex. He stood there, trying to get a taxi, while his eyes met hers. He smiled and waved. He raised his hand, pointing to his mobile.
She unlocked her mobile. Raghu had sent a text.
“Take care. See you soon.” Read the text. Harini looked at him, for a couple of seconds. She regretted about what she thought a couple of minutes ago.
He was beyond compare. He stood in her heart, tall and strong against all the stereotypes.
The two women reached the Hotel.
Harini ordered for two lime juices, as Aadvika sat on the bed.
“I am so sorry for all the trouble. I am still not sure, why I am bothering you.” Aadvika spoke , her voice filling the room.
Harini came close to Aadvika.
“That is ok. After all we are all human. We all need a shoulder.” She smiled pointing to her shoulders.
Aadvika smiled. Harini’s presence bolstered her up. But was it to the extent of sharing everything? She wondered.
Most of the times, it is the instinct. She did not know who Harini was, except for the conversation they had. How did she come here? How could she decide when a man was accompanying Harini? Was he good or bad? What would happen to her if he had other intentions? Good that he was not around. What if he comes back? It was strange. But she had no option. Was it the gut feeling? She pondered.
They sat in silence for a couple of minutes. The room service guy was there, holding a tray which had a pair of covered glass tumblers on it.
“Thank you.” Harini smiled at him, as she closed the door.
She offered a glass to Aadvika.
“It was a lie.” Aadvika broke the silence.
“What happened, Aadvika?” asked Harini.
“My idea of sponsoring a child caused a sudden flare-up between my mom-in-law and me, as I rejected her idea of Adopting a child.” She began.
“I had sleepless nights. My husband did not talk to me for three days straight. My house was like a hell. I did not have a feeling of getting back every evening. I wished I could go away, forever. It was not new to me. But something else was new. ‘I have made a wrong choice; you can never fit yourself into a family. You are not a family material.’ I still remember my Husband’s voice. I was shuddered.
I was not able to concentrate in the school. One such evening, when I took a random walk on the corridor, I heard the management and soft skill trainer, addressing a group of students. ‘Get your priorities straight. Focus on your career, nothing else should block your vision. If you don’t take decisions on your own, you can never live for yourselves.’ I stood there, envisaging his words. It was time for me to take some decisions. I decided to take a break off the routine. A place to relax the mind and body, might help, I thought.
I insisted to my husband that we could take a break, but his work schedule did not allow him to take off, for the next three months. I feared things might turn abhorrent to us. I was empathic not to expect anyone. I decided to take a break and move away for a week.
I had a dream of working in Delhi Central School.
I have a friend here in Delhi, who is a teacher there. I contacted her and asked, If I could stay at her place for a couple of days, to get to know more about the school. If my current situation would not change forever, I thought of moving away once for all, with a job and a place to go.
I eagerly knocked her door, today morning, after landing here. She was restless as she offered me a glass of juice. I asked her why.
“Aadvika, I am not sure how I…,” she dragged.
The adjacent room was noisy. ‘Guests’, I thought.
I was still looking at my friend.
“Pooja,” we heard a voice from the adjacent room. I sensed she was busy.
“Looks like you are having a lot of guests.” I smiled.
“I am so sorry, Aadvika. This is so unexpected. My in-laws have come. They called me up yesterday. They are planning to stay here for a week’s time. They reached, just few minutes before you.”
“Pooja.”, we heard again. She rose in panic, the second call gave her.
She came back in few minutes.
“They were searching for the cupboard key.” She forced a smile.
“Pooja, I think I am disturbing you.” I bewailed.
“She doesn’t have a family?” I heard a voice from the adjacent room.
“Aadvika, please don’t mistake Me.”, she began. I stopped her half way, as if I understood.
I stood up to leave. “Leave your luggage at least here.”, she held my hand. I nodded, controlling the tears which welled up.
As I walked out, I stood helpless and pathetic. I could not think about going back home. I started walking; looking for a good place to stay in my mobile app and that was when you ran into me.”
Aadvika completed her narration, while Harini completed her juice.
The women sat in silence for the next five minutes.
“I will check with Raghu where he is.” Harini excused herself, as she walked out with the phone.
A couple of Kilometers away his phone rang , as he was looking for a good after-shave.
“Hello.”, he answered.
“Whe…. y ..” Harini’s voice broke.
“Hey, I am not able to hear you properly.”He raised his voice.
He looked at his mobile. The signal was weak.
“Just a second. I don’t have proper signal here,”he spoke as he started walking towards the entrance of the super market, where he thought he would have better network coverage.
“Can you hear me?” He asked.
“Hey, Yes and where are you?”She asked.
“Super market. Goutham had once mentioned about this. Just few more things. I will bill them and will be there in few minutes.” He cut the call.
As he turned to get back to the Men’s section, he was stopped involuntarily, as he saw the person who stood third in the billing queue.
Aadvika, sat on the bed, as Harini was over phone. She searched for the mobile in her bag. The Home pregnancy test kit, which she always had handy, got caught in between her fingers.
She sighed. Her cycle was late by three days.
She wanted to take the test. She shook her head. She was not ready to disappoint herself again with the negative result.
“What if it is positive? From next month onward, I will not check for a couple of days’ delay. I will wait at least for ten days.” She assured herself and she walked into the restroom.
She looked at the device after taking the test. There was just a line, indicating a negative, once again.
‘A watched pot never boils – wait for two-five minutes.’ The words she read in the internet played at the back of her head. Five minutes were not a big deal. She had waited for six years for the second line to appear.
She was still looking at the single line only.
She shook her head in dismay. There were sweat beads all over her forehead.
It was taking a toll on her. She dropped the hanky into the trash bin and placed the test kit safely back into her bag, without realizing that she had swapped the items.
She heard the knock in the door. She walked out of the restroom.
“Raghu must be back.” Harini placed the mobile on the dressing table to open the door.
As Harini opened the door, she froze, her body trembling.
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