Joined: 25 September 2011
It was nighttime. Despite both having got a decent amount of sleep during the day, the pair both prepared to settle into bed. Perhaps the day's festivities with the cactus had them both exhausted, and no one was in the mood to play "Who can stay awake the longest" tonight! Instead, as the evening had drawn to its close and the elders were safely tucked into bed, Sanchi too found herself neatly folding a warm blanket for Indu on his side of the bed. The mosquito repellent was also back where it belonged in the cupboard draw.
As Sanchi heard Indu walking up the hallway towards their bedroom, she quickly got into bed and crawled under the covers pulling the blanket over her head. Meanwhile, Indu entered, a little stunned by his now sleeping wife. Hmm no drama tonight he thought! I am surely winning here! But Indu's gleam of victory suddenly stopped short when he spied the folded blanket on his side of the bed. Sanchi has laid this out for me. He looked fondly at her for a moment, and noticed how she was fully covered by the shield of blanket. There goes my Ice Princess of a wife, with her heart of rock, and her rock blanket. Hmmph!
Nonetheless, he could not help feeling smug about his recent victory with the cactus, and even chuckled to himself as he removed his kurta and slippers and climbed into bed. He leisurely covered himself with the blanket that Sanchi had laid out for him. As he did so, he noticed she had stirred from beneath her blanket, but thought nothing of it, and gladly turned on his side, resting his mighty head on his mighty pillow and beaming like the mighty victor he was. He noticed that Sanchi had even left the light on for him. Odd, he thought, Sanchi Mathur is not even squabbling with me over the light switch! He switched it off and continued to smile and reflect on this evening's cactus battle. For a split, a very split second he thought, "I wonder if Sanchi was hurt from the prickly spears?" But then he thought better of it, commenting, "This woman is the ice queen, who has skin like rock and is incapable of feeling any pain". And with that final thought he tucked himself into bed.
But sleep did not come easily to the mighty Indu Singh. As he lay his head down, he suddenly heard the sound of soft and silent cries in the moonlit darkness. He did not recognise this noise at first, but began to shuffle himself on the bed to get a better idea. But the soft cries suddenly went silent at his disruptive movement on the bed. He went still and then he heard it again - the muffled but quiet cries and he finally understood where the sound was coming from. This time, he turned his body round to face Sanchi. In the moonlit light, he could see she was gently rocking under the blanket and whimpering softly. His heart began to melt, he had caused her pain, he had made her cry and he would never have a restful night's sleep if he didn't tend to her.
"Sanchi-Ji" he called to her softly, tenderly. No answer. But he noticed her rocking stopped. Underneath her covers, Sanchi thought Indu had been asleep, so she could cry in secret with no one but God and the night to hear her. "Sanchi" Indu once more said tenderly. He delicately moved towards her, her back was facing him. Indu deliberated several times as whether to touch her on her shoulder to comfort her, but stopped himself. "Sanchi are you all right?" She knew that she couldn't feign to be asleep now. He had caught her. But she could still hide, and she answered, "Yes, I'm fine". "Sanchi, I know you are not fine, what happened". "Nothing happened, you go to sl..sleep". But with that last word, Sanchi stumbled a cry and Indu could no longer take her back being to him nor her being shielded by the over-protective blanket. He pulled her towards him, and tugged the blanket away from her face and shoulders.
He almost melted. Her face was soaked from crying, and this time he did not let logic get in the way of his deep down emotional instincts. He took the side of her blanket and wiped her tears, asking her what happened. His tenderness, his caring touch and sensitivity stunned her, and in her surprise she cried even more. This time she put her hand to his hand that was softly wiping her face, in an effort to stop him. She thought he was going to make fun of her for crying, or call her a poisonous snake again. She just couldn't cope with that again so she purposely checked herself and made her voice calmer, saying, "I'm ok, it's nothing". But Indu only took his other arm and pulled her shoulders to him and said firmly, "I know you are not ok". She stared at him frozen. Just then Indu stared at her hand that was resting against his, and notices how her fingers looked sore, swollen and red. He leaned back to switch on the light and it confirmed his suspicions. He took her hand delicately in his, sitting up to survey it closer. Sanchi, too had no choice but to sit up now, and she was pulled closer to him as he scrutinised her hand. She squirmed and let out a painful sigh and then she knew she really couldn't hide. "Look at this you are not fine, why didn't you say something earlier?" He said in that same firm but caring tone.
Perhaps it was the light that brought Sanchi to her senses, because somewhere she remembered her anger against Indu. And she madly pulled her hand away, ignoring the pain this time, and shouting, "Because you called me a poisonous snake and YOU TOOK ALL MY JALEBIS, you didn't even leave me one, I was really looking forward to eating them, but you delight in causing me pain, and I thought for once MY HUSBAND is going to bring me beautiful flowers, but instead you buy me a prickly cactus, and you think I am like this cactus, horrible and ugly!!!" It all just spewed out, all the tears, even her voice got unnaturally high in parts, she didn't care if she sounded silly. But then she noticed Indu smiling at her, and this made things worse for poor Sanchi, and she cried even more, "And now you are just laughing at me, how can you be like this?" and with that she quickly grabbed her blanket, dived back on the mattress, covered herself fully with her back turned against him and sobbed loudly this time into her pillow. How could he be so unfeeling? She didn't understand him at all.
But this time, with no hesitation, Indu gently leaned against her, whispering, "Sanchi I am sorry, please forgive me". She stopped crying, her mind was stunned again by the closeness of his approach. She chose not to reply. Indu moved in closer, placing his strong arms over her trembling shoulders. "Sanchi, I am truly sorry. You will see tomorrow, I will bring you twenty jalebis - all for you". This time he won a response from her, and Sanchi muffled from beneath her covers: "Then you will tease me for being a big fat pig to everyone!" Indu smiled and tried to hide a laugh, he said warmly "No I will not do that" A pause and then, "Sanchi, I think you look beautiful when you eat". She didn't reply, but her cheeks were beginning to burn up, she could feel his intensity near her and it was unsettling her. To continue to win responses from her, he added, "I will not let Uncle and Aunt have even one. I will share them with your mama and papa. How does that sound?" "Fine" she grumbled. Indu Singh, being Indu Singh wanted to try his luck, so he playfully asked, "And what about me Sanchi-Ji, will you share some of your jalebis with me?" "No never, you are greedy and mean husband".
And with that he swiftly pulled her to face him, his chest pressed very close to her, and his eyes angrily but passionately staring at her. "I do not always have to be a mean husband" he softened. Sanchi froze, her breathing quickened and she was beginning to feel hot again. She had quite forgotten about her stinging hand from the prickly cactus. But Indu clearly had not. "Come I will show what a good husband I can be" He switched on the light and asked her to sit up. Indu had got off the bed to search for the First Aid box. Desperately opening a couple of cupboard doors and not having any luck, he moaned, "This is our room and I don't even know where anything is" "You keep everything hidden..If it's not the first aid box hidden, then you are hiding that you are hurt…honestly I don't know". With this Sanchi, could not help chuckling at his frustration. He looked back at her and she quickly changed her chuckle grin to a serious one. She motioned with her eyes to the small cabinet on her left, and he went to it and pulled out the box. "Come sit properly, let me apply this ointment" He sat opposite her on the bed, and brought her hand to his thigh where he could apply the ointment. Sanchi sat up, and sat up smugly: "At least I don't complain as much as you when I need my hand bandaged". Indu Singh retorted sarcastically "please my darling wife, let me apply this ointment peacefully, you sit quietly, I beg you. And then let me get some sleep" He gestured with his hands in prayer at her before taking her hand again and placing it on his thigh. Sanchi could not help but chuckle to herself again!
Indu was very gentle as he applied the ointment to Sanchi's hand. With such concentration, he tenderly applied the ointment to her swollen fingers. Gently rubbing the ointment into her skin, he was careful not to cause her more pain. All the while, Sanchi silently watched him, watched his furrowed brow as with such care and precision, he continued to stroke the ointment over her skin. She felt calm, at ease, and she couldn't help watching him and forming a soft smile. He looked up at her, into her eyes, and asked kindly, "Is that better?" Yes, she replied silently. She could not look at him then, so stared down at her hand on his thigh. Indu Singh, being Indu Singh did not understand and thought she is annoyed with me again. "I will apply this bandage" "ok" Sanchi complied. He carefully wrapped the bandage over her arm, and this time he looked up at her as he wrapped. Their eyes caught for a moment, and in that small moment there seemed to be some kind of understanding between them. "Is that better?" as he tied the knot on the bandage. She didn't answer this time. "You know this was the first time you called me your husband. That's why I was smiling. I wasn't laughing at you Sanchi-Ji". Sanchi looked down again. She didn't know how to respond. She couldn't deny she had said it. Perhaps a part of her didn't want to. Her eyes glanced from side to side in her confusion. Indu was beginning to enjoy seeing her in this confused state. He still hadn't let go of her hand, and began to raise it to his lips. Sanchi felt her heart beginning to quicken again. Perhaps he sensed this. So Indu took her palm, raised it to his lips and kissed it. She didn't revile in horror and draw her hand away. But let him hold it. She looked up at him now and he looked at her too.
Then Indu seemed to check himself and said, "we better get some rest". Again Sanchi did not speak. Indu got off the bed, and gestured to Sanchi to lie down, he came over to her side of the bed, and delicately wrapped the blanket around her. This big heavy blanket no longer seemed so rock-like. Instead, it seemed soft, pliable, and he watched as the blanket moulded itself to the soft contours of Sanchi's body. She continued to look into his eyes as he took her bandaged arm, and laid it lightly underneath the blanket. "You rest tonight, I wont disturb you". Sanchi again didn't reply, but her eyes seemed to comply with him. "Are you ok now?" he asked tenderly. She nodded 'yes'. Indu slowly raised his arm to switch off the light by her head. She could feel the closeness of his arm near her face. As the moonlight flooded the room, Indu stopped transfixed staring at Sanchi's face. He checked himself once more, and patted her blanket on the side before climbing into his side of the bed. His arm propped against his head as he laid it on the pillow. The moonlight continued to enfold their room in a calm and soothing silence.
In the moonlit peace of their room, Sanchi turned her head towards Indu and said "Indu". Indu turned his head towards her. "Yes". "Thank you" she said softy. He equally replied softly, "Your welcome".
And with that, the pair both went to sleep, having the best night's sleep they had had in a very long time!
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