Sunnu a novel by Suman Kumar

Chapter 7

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My grandpa's last wish was that Sundar, my elder brother had to live with my grandma in Chennai. So, Sundar was away from us since he was eleven months old. After Sundar, mom gave birth to Seetha, my late sister. Mom has told us, Suresh and I, so much about Seetha that I have a picture of her sculpted on my mind. Mom used to tell us about her every day - about how beautiful she was. She would tell us how Seetha could brighten up a room, a home, or a whole town. Seetha was also very intelligent and she obtained very good grades in her school. Mom keeps saying that sometimes God is so fond of certain wonderful people he creates that he takes them back within a short time after giving them to us. Seetha died from drug poisoning. Mom says a whole bunch of kids died because the medicine manufactured by this particular company had an ingredient that was slightly higher in content than the required proportions. We never got bored of listening to mom talk about Seetha. In spite of being a strong and a stubborn woman, she would have tears welling up in her eyes every time she walked through that memory lane. I used to fantasise about how I would get along with Seetha if she were alive. From what I heard from mom, I thought sisters were good fun. I longed to have a sister, but that was not to be. My mom had a serious health problem when I was in my third standard. She was hospitalised and we were told that they were going to operate on her. We were too young to realise the gravity of the situation, but we knew something was going on. The evening before mom's operation, dad called both of us, Suresh and I. He kneeled down in front of us. He stared at us for a while.

"Let's pray for mummy," he said.

That shocked me because I had never seen this man pray for anything in his life. He never participated in any pooja. The three of us went into the prayer room. We sat in front of framed pictures of gods. I always wondered why we had so many gods- they say god is one. Dad lit a prayer lamp.

"Ask God not to take your Mom away," he said.

His voice was shaky. We closed our eyes. I argued with God. "Boss! We need mom to get us a sister, to give us food, tell us stories and to polish my boots."

We were also told that Sundar would come down from Chennai the next day. The operation was a success, but I was shocked to learn from grandma that Mom wouldn't be able to have any more babies. So, I could not have a sister now or ever. Dad looked at me.

"As God is busy doing a lot of things, he wanted mom to take care of you, so he forgot about your baby sister. But thank him for allowing mom to be with us."

I could not sleep that night, but dad was damn right. If not for mom, life would have been tough for me. I keep thanking God for leaving her alone, but I longed for a sister, an elder sister who would chide me when I made mistakes- someone who would walk me to school, someone who would not compete with me for everything like Suresh does; someone who would stay with me and be around, unlike my elder brother, Sundar. I wanted a sister for all these reasons and more, but then, it was not to be.



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