“Mum, I am going out and I’ll call you if I am gonna be late, ok?”
Kirtish called out as he left the flat. Harshada, Kirtish’s mother, sighed as she heard the door slam. How many times has she told her son to be more careful when shutting the door? How many times has she asked her son to be more precise about details when leaving the house? Does he listen? Maybe. Does he actually answer? No.
Harshada continued to knead the dough as she listened to old songs on her phone. The wonders of technology sometimes were a boon or a curse, her son always rolled his eyes at that statement and teased her about being an old lady. Of course, to teenagers, their parents were always older than earth itself. It wasn’t so long ago that she had been a teenager herself. Of course, times had changes and so had the situations but the age-old problem of not being able to relate to one’s parents during teenage years was still running smoothly.
Working for herself had its advantages and disadvantages but being a baker had never let her down in her life and she thoroughly enjoyed her work as she hummed along to a Kishore Kumar song. Bread in the oven, she set about baking a chocolate cake. Tonight was supposed to be a family dinner night, nowadays something of a thing. It used to be that almost every night was a family dinner night but work constraints made that hard. Their family wasn’t weak because of that, of course, she knew her family well and they knew her too.
Almost an hour later, her phone hadn’t rung once and Harshada finally had time to herself. However, those moments didn’t last long, the doorbell rang and she answered. Her son was back. His pale face and slight trembling told her right away that something bad had happened. She wondered if one of his friends had met with an accident or worse. She let him in and got him a glass of water as he almost fell into the sofa.
“Hey, what happened? Is everything ok?” She asked with trepidation. She knew his friends were good people, she knew it, she reminded herself. Almost all of them had been for sleepover in their younger years, she knew them well enough. He sipped water and spoke.
“I…Vishal told me something…I..I didn’t know what to do so I came home.” Kirtish was starting to scare her with his wooden tone but she pushed back the impulse to demand answers. It would lead them nowhere, it hadn’t before and it wouldn’t now. Lessons learned and all that. So, she simply waited for him continue. Her patience was soon rewarded.
“He…he kinda…no, he deliberately pushed a girl.” Harshada was confused, pushing a girl? What even was he talking about? They weren’t twelve anymore then a light dawned and a terrible feeling gathered inside her mind. She put her hand on his and squeezed, prompting him to continue. The whole story came in bits and pieces and it all terrified her. That one of the boys she knew would do something so horrifying was a shock and she could clearly see it mirrored in her son’s eyes. He wasn’t the best of people but he was good enough to horrified about this. A part of her, she was ashamed to admit to herself, was proud of him for never having done it.
“What did you say to him when he told you? Why did he tell you?” Pausing for a moment, she gathered her courage and asked the one question she didn’t really want answered. “Was he…was he bragging? Talking about it?”
Kirtish nodded shamefully.
Harshada sighed. Well, this was…this was going to be…a troubled period for everybody involved. She could only thank God that Vishal hadn’t gone too far and that he had stopped before something worse had happened. However the fact that it happened at all angered her so much that she needed to gather her wits before she spoke. She knew one thing for sure, they needed to report it. Find the girl, talk to her and her family and see if they were amenable to reporting the incident to the police.
So, she asked her son what he was feeling at the moment and it was almost as if all the floodgates were opened. He talked and she listened. He had such conflicting emotions and so many moral objections to Vishal’s actions and she helped him as he reached the end. They finally decided to wait for her husband to come home before they took any action. So, she let him have a piece of the chocolate cake before dinner, a very rare occurence but then, her son’s candid thoughts were also a rare occurence nowadays.
The one thing that kept coming back to her was the thought that she and her husband had raised a good person. She ran her hand through his dark hair and let him hug her as he put down the plate. He might not be her little boy anymore but he was still a good boy.