It is after a month Ishani has slept properly since Arnav has gone. Gone means gone forever. A two year old marriage and 7 years of affair ended. A sudden call at midnight changed everything. He had to leave for the ongoing mission at the border. But no one knew that he will never come back.
Ishani’s heart sanked but there was hardly anything she could do. And since the news of Arnav’s demise has come Ishani has turned into a stone. Neither she could cry, talk, sleep nor she could eat anything. Even she forgot that a part of Arnav is breathing there inside her growing belly. She almost locked her in her room and started spending days and nights.
And after a long one month she is sleeping peacefully, breathing normally. No one disturbed her.

Then a voice called out.

“Mumma…. mumma….” It echoed twice.

Ishani woke up and searced for the source of the voice.

“Who is that?”

“It is me mumma. Your cute little soldier.”

Suddenly her mind went back to the past when Arnav used to touch her belly and address the baby as ‘cute little soldier’. She was shocked.

“Cute little soldier?”

“Yes mumma. I have come to see you.”

She saw him now. He was really very small. A 7 month old cute little soldier, wearing military hat and a rifle.
She laughed allowed seeing him in that dress.

She stopped and then asked.

“My baby. How are you? I know I am not taking care of you for sometime. I am sorry my child.”

“Don’t worry mummy. I am alright. Have you forgot that I am the child of a strong soldier?”

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“No my son. I haven’t. But mumma has become careless.”

“Hmmm…. I know mumma what is bothering you but don’t you also remember what daddy use to call you? A strong lady. Don’t you remember?”

“I do my love.”

“Then please don’t worry anything from now on. Daddy has sent me to see you and told me to remind you to take care of yours.”

“Your daddy? Do you meet him? How is he? I miss him very much.”

Ishani started weeping.

“No mumma. You won’t cry anymore. Daddy has said he is still there with us and miss us too. I don’t understand but he said you will find him in me. In the house of Lord we share the share the same room and he takes care of me. Encourages me and tells me the stories of life and war.”

Now Ishani cried aloud. And said, “I know my son. I know. He hasn’t actually left us. He is still with us. He is still with me…”

“I’ll be a soldier too mumma.”

“Yes honey. And I’ll be with you always in this.”

huk huk huk huk huk….. She could no longer hold back her tears.

The cute little soldier came near to her and wiped out her tears. Ishani hugged him. Felt as if once again she held Arnav. She was relaxed as she cried..

She said, “I won’t be sad again my love. I’ll live for you and live with you till time permits… I love you my son. I love you a lot. Tell your daddy that I’ll take care of yours and mine too and I’ll love him forever.”
They hugged each other. Kissed each other. and around in the morning the Cute Little Soldier left her.

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When Ishani woke up in the morning she couldn’t understand anything. But then when she saw the tear stain on her pillow she understood everything. She was relaxed now. And felt a strength inside her. She touched her growing belly and said, “From now mumma will be there for you always and love you as much as your daddy used to do to you my love, my Cute Little Soldier.”

Saying so she got down the bed and opened the closed windows of her room. And saw a new morning has  just started.


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