As usual it was a dark and stormy night. The ominous clouds were raining harsh on the earth and the people felt as if the heavens have come upon them this time. In this milieu, came a piercing cry that should have been coaxed to silence but no – the newborn bawled madly for a few minutes that seemed like hours in that part of the town.

Electricity was scarce with the lightning flashes from the sky more than compensated for the ghostly feel of the night with few minutes of light every now and then. The baby was quiet for a few minutes and then it began bawling again much to the frayed nerves of the household. The mother lay in the heap of shoddy bed linen. Unable to move. Ever. While the whole house was more concentrated on the efforts of shoo-ing the baby to quieten it, the man of the house lay at the further end of the room. He was shocked and annoyed, but his features belied any of these expressions unless you watched him closely – especially his twitching lips.

The child was looked for by the maids while the father hardly bothered about him – but finally he couldn’t take it anymore and told the maids to leave. They lay the baby in the bassinet and closed the door. The baby was still crying uncontrollably and heightened the mother’s inability to do something about it. The father got up and came near the bassinet. He didn’t look at the child, merely splayed his fingers on its body till it reached the base of the head. There he applied some pressure. The baby quietened for a second and he gave a smile. The pressure was increased until there was no need to apply more.

He walked out of the room – remembering how he had forced his wife despite knowing she won’t be able to live through it – and besides her, apology lay listless – left unsaid.

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