(For a bloodthirsty avenger, Sivapalan was a seriously cute kid)
“Brahmarajan…Brahmarajan, at least talk to me, my love,” she whispered. “just tell me how you feel. You told me everyday that you always loved me, but tell me why you’re so closed now. Is it the situation in Lanka? Or”-she drew back, sadly, twirling her hair with her finger-“did I do it?” Once again she moved away, slumping down onto the bed and gazing up at the stream of memories.
Her Brahmarajan, her perfect Brahmarajan. Minakshi smiled a bit and let her world spin out of focus as she let her hands explore her curvaceous frame, drawing them across her body as she hugged herself tightly, arms folded across her chest as she ventured down to her soft, gently swollen stomach. Soon, rush of heat sped in between her legs as she imagined a young man bending down, kissing her lovingly as he stroked her, moving his lips from her neck to her breasts.
This man had a rather moody but strong and rather square-jawed face with a chin dimple and warm eyes, and was built like a martial artist or a wrestler, with powerfully muscled shoulders and huge, bulging chest. But his hands were so gentle that she felt like a fawn being handled by a velvet-pawed tiger before he went for the killing blow. Yet the power of his heart was immense, so she remembered. Her beautiful, perfect warrior, her Brahmarajan. Minakshi was loosing herself again. She turned around on the bed, loving the amazing image in front of her, only to see him crumbling as he kissed her again, whispering upon the gods that he always loved her.
But she broke back into reality.
The image had now shifted away, and finally, she found herself once more, in the bedroom. “I must see him tonight,” she decided. But stopped. Was she the woman to crawl after her husband and then follow up with a dramatic breakup or death after crying endlessly for the whole night and praying for safety in a cruel world? Was she the woman who would even crawl behind anybody at all? No. She was proud, after all, truly, truly proud.
But her Brahmarajan…
And where was her pride, she mused, when he had entered her so many nights back, and blessed her with Sivapalan? Could a woman’s pride, could her pride, allow her this? Or was her true pride, the true pride of a woman, the pride at being a mother at last? Minakshi questioned herself again, then rose, straightening herself up, as she walked out, and began to search out her husband.
Or would he be her husband again?
The noises of the night around her, the gentle purring songs of crickets; the crying of a newborn baby in the neighbor’s house; the snoring of the old couple in the cozy little house parallel to theirs and the attempts of a sleepless fishmonger to restock his stall, the curses and groans in Tamil as he hefted an albacore as big as himself onto his bench, all seemed to be otherworldly and out of tangent to her now. Nothing seemed to muffle her steps as she felt the world growing misty again. The staircase with the one improperly nailed step, the rough banister, the burnt brick walls that were painted on by Sivapalan and his magical piece of charcoal, all seemed to be an alternate reality now.
“Brahmarajan?” No answer. “Are you there, Brahmarajan? Please answer me!” Minakshi suddenly felt a cold chill overtake her as a strange wind spread through the house, even rustling-or so she imagined-the palm leaf books that lay scattered around the little round table beside the entrance of her special room. Hers and hers alone, but not today, it seemed. Something was definitely in, she knew, as she pressed her ear to the door and listened intently. Curiously, she knocked, and the sound stopped.
It had been the sound of a harp, a huge, rather creaky periyazh, being twanged about.
“How in the world…must be a rat…or not,” she wondered aloud as she reached for the keys she always strung around her waist, tucked snugly into her sari. Tentatively, she opened the heavy, carved wooden door, and peeked inside.
This room had one window, curtained like almost all the rooms in her house, and had a smooth, tiled floor. The moon showed beautifully in the sky, casting a soft glow into the room.
This made the creamy tiles shine, almost, but as she looked further in, began to smile. “Sivapalan! And I thought you were a rat!” For sure enough, seated in the centre of the room with what remained of her best periyazh, was a small child, small even for his age, with slightly darkish skin, and huge, dark eyes that almost filled up his face. He looked nervous at first, but then a smile began growing on his face as two massive dimples appeared on his cheeks and his chin.
The excited Sivapalan ran towards his mother, hugging her legs as she laughed gently at him.