My wife came home with a bounty of gifts while I tried to rest my sore back from the overload of cleaning. She didn’t ask about our daughter or how I fared with Rekhi. She was like a bull inside a pen, waiting to get her gifts and girl secrets out. I listened patiently and when I thought that she had exhausted reliving her past three hours, spoke out – “Do you know what I had to endure?” And then I narrated everything, including the pain and swearing Rekhi had to go through. She didn’t have much to say, in the form of condolence – for me. Her final parting words before she headed into the bathroom were – “Now you know what I go through every day.” Women, amazing creatures, I thought. They don’t show any emotions when your world has turned topsy turvy but expect great warmth when minor disturbances like spotting a spider bechances them.
I wanted fresh air to clear my mind. I wanted to put today’s entire episode, including my wife’s cold reaction out of my mind. I had learnt something new though – encountering a spider is definitely a catastrophe of sorts than getting treated to schmuck job that left your professional credibility at stake and having to spend an hour and a half stooping and cleaning. I had a presentation to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting and in this frame of mind, I was not in a position to do so. I changed into a T-shirt and shorts and was about to head out to a garden when my wife cried out – “Why don’t you take Rekhi along? I am getting a headache. I need to sleep to shoo it away.”
I strapped my daughter in the backseat and started my car. I need to cross a major intersection to get to the garden. While I stopped at the intersection, I saw the countdown for the red to turn to green – it said 189. My daughter was peeking out of the window and saying something to me. I turned around and she seemed excited at the colors on the bus standing behind my car. I felt that I had to engage Rekhi in a conversation, so I asked her the question which popped into my head involuntarily – “Rekhi, do you know why I beat you today?” She turned at me and nodded her head – “No daddy I don’t know.” My eyes welled up with tears. I clarified – “Do you remember that I beat you today?” She said yes. I asked her again if she knew why I beat her. Her answer was the same as before. She had no idea why I did what I did. Tears started to trickle down my cheeks as I heard the bus behind me honk. The color had changed and I had to move on. I was wrong about the whole damn thing. I shouldn’t have beaten Rekhi. She did what came to her naturally – act on the mushrooming curiosity. I have been frustrated. Over my job, my brother’s success, my bosses, my wife, my wife’s absence and a whole lot others that I had no hold on. I vented all of it on my lass who was defenseless, and more importantly didn’t know what she did to receive the brutality. I am a monster, I called myself and balled until I stopped at the next intersection. My daughter’s nascent innocence sparked a new meaning to relationships in me, and I felt that I knew her better than what I did an hour ago.