In this short story, Dwaipayan Bose displays the power of kindness through the story of Farida, as she battles a moral dilemma after a severe loss in her life with an ending that can leave readers in shock.
Early every morning, Monday through Friday, I commit an act of villainy against my nine-year-old son. Villainy? Nah, something perhaps worse than that. Waking up Ronnie, lost in the folds of a blanket with a huge Spiderman on it (during winter) or cutting off the cool draught from the air conditioner playing with his hair (in summer), at 6 am is an act of cruelty which no atonement can be enough. But then that is life – of early morning schools and villainous moms. Roger Waters sang ‘Momma’s gonna keep baby cozy and warm’. I, Farida Aziz, am made of harsher stuff.
My husband Javed would leave this unpleasant business to me – going to the washroom at that very moment or stepping out into the common corridor to collect the morning deliveries. He’d be deliberately slow and by the time he met Ronnie, the boy would be up, washed, and brushed – with all traces of sleep gone. The same little human being, cribbing, crying, and kicking pillows just a while ago, would flash a sunny smile at his father – relegating me, an evil witch who steals sleep from the eyes of children to the sidelines.