Short story

Mummy’s that you? (Short story)

‘So, whose pet are you? Mummy’s or Daddy’s?’, asked Ramesh uncle.

”Shriya is Daddy’s, and I am Mummy’s’, Priya replied dutifully. Almost immediately, a chubby little girl came skipping along, and tapped her on the arm. ‘Shall we play Peekaboo now?’  Priya nodded, gratefully, and the girls hurried away, hand-in-hand.

Although she was nine, Priya was rather quiet, and had a slow, unsure gait. A voice from a distant past kept ringing in her ears. ‘Beautiful baby!! Best thing that’s happened to me!’. But she just couldn’t remember where or when she had heard it.

‘Come and look for meeeeeeeee’, Shriya’s call jolted Priya back to reality, and she started hunting for the litte imp – her three-year old sister. In about an hour, they tired of the game and scurried indoors, ravenously hungry. Ramesh uncle was nowhere in sight, and Priya was relieved. She was tired of having to answer the same question from him every time they met!

‘Mummy, I am so hungry!!’, Priya whispered, tugging at the sari. Shubha turned around and snapped, ‘There’s so much to do for the party! Where have you girls been?’ Her voice was tense.

‘Playing peekaboo in the garden.. hee hee!’, replied Shriya as she hugged her mother.

‘You cheeky little doll!’ Shubha said, and smiled fondly, tousling Shriya’s mop of curly black hair. ‘Beautiful baby’, the voice whispered in Priya’s head.

Shubha seated them atop the kitchen counter and gave them each a colourful plate piled with potato chips and samosas. Shriya chomped away happily. Priya didn’t realise at what point it was, that her appetite had died.

‘Priya, can you that tray to the guests, please?’, asked Shubha, though it sounded more an order than a request. ‘Some more chips for you, Shriya kutty?’ she asked in the direction of the little one. ‘Best thing that’s happened to me…’, the mystery voice whispered in Priya’s ear again.

Suddenly, in what seemed to be an explosion in her mind, Priya recollected where she had heard that voice. It was the day Shriya had suffered from an unusually high temperature. They had all been so worried to see her shivering that way! Thankfully, the medication had taken effect and the temperature had gradually subsided. It was on that very night, that Mummy had stood beside their bed, and spoken those words. And all the while, she had been looking at Shriya.

‘Priya!!’, Shubha shouted.

Priya’s cheeks were reddening. Shriya was licking ketchup off her fingers.

‘Don’t just sit there! Aren’t you going to help Mummy?’

Priya fixed her gaze on her plate, but couldn’t see through the mist.

Shubha took a step forward and shook Priya by the shoulders. ‘What is THE MATTER with you?’ she asked angrily. She was sweating profusely, as she always did, when she was angry. She was waiting for the party to end so she could put her feet up. And here was her older daughter, supposedly the responsible one, refusing to help!

Priya’s eyes brimmed over. Hot tears fell on her cheeks and rolled onto her lap, leaving spots on her new yellow frock. But she wasn’t talking.

Shubha looked on, completely bewildered. She shifted her gaze to Shriya. ‘Did you girls quarrel with each other in the garden?’  Wide-eyed and perplexed, Shriya shook her head sideways. At that point, Priya burst into an avalance of tears.

‘What happened…?’, Shubha started. Priya shrugged her off angrily. She didn’t want to ask. She didn’t want to know.

Shriya slowly inched closer and stretched out a plump little finger to wipe away the tears.  Then, she hugged Priya tenderly. It was a warm and reassuring hug. The kind of unspoken understanding that seals the bond between siblings.

Shubha stood close – helpless, ignorant.

In a while, sobs receded. Both children slipped off the table and capered into the garden.

‘Priya…’,Shubha called out anxiously.

But she was gone. Holding Shriya’s hand like it was the most precious thing on earth. Realising that Shriya was her anchor. The little angel who loved her completely, unconditionally. Her pet.


Featured post @ Sulekha Ex-pressions

24 replies on “Mummy’s that you? (Short story)”

Hey Pix, thanks a lot. My God, u are so prompt at reading. I just about posted it. Thanks buddy. For everything!!

That was sad and sweet pal. I have a sister too. I could have happily murdered her
when we were little…(i suspect i actually tried) but now, i cant go two days
without talking to her! It really is a special relationship…:)

Arch- LOL, I think all we elder sisters would have been framed under ‘attempt to murder’ at some point of time 😉 But the latter half of your sentence is equally true. The bonding is for life!

Indyeah- Thanks very much, am absolutely flattered. But please don’t be sad. Read my Semiya Payasam recipe and have a laugh 🙂

Oh that is such a lovely story. I love the way you brought out the relation b/w the two sisters. I was for some reason thinking it might go on another line (peekaboo and uncle) and was dreading it, bu you just brought the relation b/w the two sisters so well 🙂

Supps – Thank you so much! And no, I hate reading sad stuff, so I try to make a happy ending out of stories when I can (sometimes, at the risk of them sounding incredulous).

Ritu – Thank you for your lovely words. And I am sorry for having made you gals cry. That certainly wasn’t the intention 😦 Chin up everybody!! The next post will tickle your funny bones, I hope!!

Aww. That was sort of painful and heartbreaking to read. One would think it would be obvious for a mother to see the damage she may be causing, but I suspect we all fall into this mode every once a while and must learn to “hear” ourselves. Thanks for writing this.

Can identify with Priya so damn much, being the oldest kid. Even after decades, I can still cry over my Mum’s partiality. Though she dismisses it with a laugh. I’m glad Shriya made her a pet though.

Tharini- I agree…but after becoming parents, I guess we are in a better position to forgive our parents themselves, right?

Banno- Always the same in almost every family, I think. But had I written the story from Shriya’s point of view also, I guess it would have been on similar lines, because each child ends up thinking the parents love/admire the other sibling more!

PRG- Another apt 4-liner from you! Where do you get your inspiration from?

Oorja- Thank you very much. Were you an only child? Guess that’s a different ballgame on its own, right?

Mommyof2- Welcome to my blog, and thanks a million for voting. Regards, Mommyof1 ;-))

oh no.. i have a younger brother..

i feel my parents NEVER treated us different from each other. there was an initial dislike form my side having been an only child for 5 years and then suddenly sharing parents.. but now i love him so much. 🙂

Mon (can I call u so?) – Seems to be some prob. with my blog, because a lot of comments are automatically going into Spam and I have to search and retrieve them ! Will look for yours now. And thanks for empathising with the story 🙂

Oorja – Wow! That is really nice on the part of your parents. And I am glad you and your bro share a lovely relationship, despite the initial (and totally understandable) jealousy 🙂

That was so very very touching, Pallavi, even though it is claimed to be fiction 🙂

What tugs at the heartstrings is that it is played out with a lot of the elder ones, and children do tend to carry a lot of these things very carefully, and unforgetfully 🙂

Beautifully penned! Keep them coming!

Hi Usha, its been so long since you posted..been visiting your blog regularly and I hope I get to read another thought-provoking post from you 🙂 Thanks a lot, for visiting, and for reading and for leaving your beautiful words behind.

the story had a very good ending
How did u do it
would always want construct short stories and events like this
will you teach me
is great

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