By Sobia Ali
Everyday, I wait till your father has gone out to work, before I come into your room to wake you up. He does not like my attention being diverted when he is at home. I think he is a little jealous of you. Or perhaps of me, that I am going to be with you all day when he has to be away. You know otherwise he is absolutely devoted to you, and won’t ever like to part from you.
I open the door slowly, lest I startle you. You lay there on the dainty curtained bed, quite lost under the flurry pink bed sheets and blankets. For a moment I panic that you are not there. That they were right, those women in white uniforms. Then a soft pink little hand peeps out, a small plump foot jumps out of all that velvety pile. And I almost laugh out loud when I see you hacking away at coverlet in anger to remove it from your face. I remove it for you, suddenly impatient to see your milky, moon face, haloed in curly shiny black hair.
I give my finger to you to hold and take to your mouth. You suck and bite it with small uneven gummy gums. I tickle your belly, kiss your hands and feet, then lift you unto my lap. I giggle as your thin lips curl around my nipple and your red busy tongue lap up the milk, gulping, slurping. How I love to suckle you, baby. Read more
By Rinita Banerjee
It was the rainy season. July, Some Year, Some Place.
Against the serenely cool breeze of the after-rains, Tuli’s little face stood still, warm, a throbbing circle of fire and smoke. She had a little round face, very big eyes, a pug-like nose set right in the centre of her face, and small lips — like one fine petal of a red tulip. Her eyelashes were wet. The before-tears had run their course. She breathed in rapid, short gasps – each lasting less than a second – the gasps, moving somewhere behind the throat and the nose. They came in groups of three and sometimes two. She blinked from time to time, looking out through the window facing which she sat, cross-legged, on the chair that Baaboo, her father, had built for her so that she could see the world outside the window of her room.
A wooden chair with tall legs and a round seating space with a pillow on it. On the lower portion of the chair was a small box-like structure with three steps carved into it. Baaboo had made it for Tuli to be able to climb to and down from the high chair.
The inside of the back-rest of the chair had an engraving that said ‘Baaboo’s Tuli’. Baaboo had engraved it for his little Tuli two years ago; she was six then. She had sat on it many a time. In fact, before she went to bed at night, most nights, Baaboo had read her stories while she would sit on that high chair dangling her legs, leaning a little on her Baaboo with her lips stuck into a small pout. The pout was the measure of Tuli’s concentration. Much before he finished reading her the stories, the dangling of the legs would stop, and the weight of her little body would gather on Baaboo like the many bubbles from the ‘bugbugi’ settling on one. The many flurries of bubble from soapy water blown through the circular ring on streetsides? Tuli called those bugbugi. Like she called her father ‘Baaboo’, not Baba or Papa or Dad or Daddy or Bapi. Read more