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And Then, Life Happened.

And Then, Life Happened.

7 mins 230 7 mins 230

Anurag looks around and tiptoes inside the kitchen, where Sarita is preparing dinner. He looks at her with a smile on his face. His hands are behind his back as if he's trying to hide something. He slowly approaches her without making any noise.

Sarita is busy in preparing the dish. She is humming a random tune while stirring the dish. The beats of her tune match with Anurag's steps, which are progressing toward her. In an attempt to surprise her, Anurag comes slowly and stands behind her.

“Boom!” Anurag shouts.

Sarika is startled and shocked. She looks behind and finds Anurag standing very close to her. She is relieved when she realizes it is him.

“Anurag!” She heaves a sigh of relief.

“What?” Anurag asks mischievously. He wraps his arms around her waist while she is still stirring the dish.

“Anurag! The kids will see us. Come on!” Sarita smiles. She looks shy.

“Do you think I won't come prepared? They're in their room, studying. We can have some time for ourselves.”

“Is it? You go and freshen up first. Dinner's ready,” Sarita orders.

“Dinner will always be ready. First, let me tell you something important,” Anurag says.

“And what would that be?” Sarita switches off the gas and turns around to look at him.

“I want to say that, um… (ahem)… I… lo….”

“Papa!” Riya comes running with a bottle in her hand and hugs Anurag from behind.

Sarita quickly turns and starts fumbling. She stirs the dish again. Anurag coughs. He then picks Riya in his arms and kisses her forehead.

“How's my angel?” Anurag asks while he cuddles with her nose.

Riya has an innocent smile on her face. She giggles continuously.

“Papa! Stop it. You're making me laugh,” Riya exclaims.

Sarita looks at the father-daughter pair and smiles.

“Riya, why haven't you slept?” Sarita asked.

“I was sleeping only Mumma, but bhaiya told me to get water for him,” said Riya. Sarita takes the bottle from Riya's hand and fills it.

“Go, give this to bhaiya. And you go to sleep now, okay? Tell bhaiya to come out himself if he needs anything.”

“Ok mumma. Good night, papa!” Riya chuckles.

Anurag brings her down.

“Good night, beta,” Anurag presses her cheeks. Riya runs back to her room.

“Do I think you won't come prepared?” Sarita smirks. Anurag laughs.

“Now go and freshen up fast. Call Ashwin and Sanika for dinner while going,” Sarita adds.

Anurag sighs and then goes out. Sarita takes out the plates, bowls, and spoons and keeps them on the dining table in the living room.

The whole family has dinner, except Riya. She has her dinner much before than the others. Riya is five years old, Ashwin fifteen, and Sanika nineteen. Anurag and Sarita have been married for twenty-one years. Their life is always surrounded by their kids, and the life of their kids, their studies, their upbringing, and every other thing related to parenthood.

After dinner, the children go back to studying, and Sarita cleans the dishes. She cleans the kitchen, checks the gas switch, locks the door and closes the windows. She turns off the lights and goes inside the room, where Anurag is in his pyjamas, busy on his laptop. She then goes into the bathroom and changes into her nightgown.

She sits on the bed, wears her night glasses, and starts reading a book.

Anurag closes his laptop after a while and keeps it on the table, along with his spectacles, and lies down on the bed.

“How many days more till you finish reading that book?” mocks Anurag.

Sarita gives him a cold look and closes the book. She removes her glasses, switches off the lights and turns on the night lamp. She wears the blanket and lies down near Anurag. She brings herself close to him, her head on his left arm.

“Phew! One more day has gone by, just like that,” says Anurag.

“After all, what is the meaning of our life if there's no Sanika, Ashwin, or Riya?” asks Sarita. Anurag looks at her but doesn't reply.

“This is our life now. It revolves around our kids. And that is what we have chosen,” Sarita continues.

“Isn't it so strange? It seems like yesterday when Sanika was born. I still remember everything so vividly,” Anurag speaks.

“See? That's the beauty of it. I don't know what I will do when she’ll go to the US after two years.”

“Now, it's Sanika. Soon it will be Ashwin. And before we know it, Riya will also be a grown up. It is exciting and a bit scary as well,” says Anurag.

He doesn't get any response. He looks at Sarita, who is already dreaming peacefully. He tries to remove his hand, but he doesn't want to disrupt her sleep. He smiles and keeps on looking at her sleeping. Eventually, he dozes off himself.

Next morning, Sarita is preparing breakfast for the kids, who are waiting at the dining table. Sanika is busy with her mobile. Ashwin has a history book in his hands. He is reading it and trying to remember something while eating a banana. Sarita comes and keeps the plates on the table. Riya looks at her cornflakes bowl, smacking her lips, but she doesn't eat or touch the bowl. She bows her face sideways and rests her head on the table over her arms. Sanika eats slowly with her right hand while continuing to use her phone with her left hand.

Anurag comes out of the bathroom in his towel. He quickly gets ready, and by the time he comes out in the living room, Sarita brings his plate out and keeps it on the table. Seeing Anurag, Riya gets down from her chair and runs toward him and hugs him. Anurag picks her up, comes and sits on the chair, while Riya sits on the table, waiting for Anurag to feed her, with a big smile on her face.

After a while, when everyone is done with their breakfast, Sanika and Ashwin have left for their college and school respectively. Riya is watching a cartoon on television. Sarita is washing the plates, and Anurag is busy on his laptop on the couch in the living room, with Riya on her side. He finishes his work, looks around, and finds a good opportunity to spend some time with Sarita.

Sarita comes out of the kitchen and goes to their room. Anurag increases the volume of the television a bit, and slowly enters their room, and hugs Sarita from behind.

“Anurag! Not again!” Sarita blushes.

“I didn't get to finish what I was saying yesterday,” says Anurag.

“Riya is just outside, Anurag. She can hear everything.”

“No, she can't. I have come prepared this time,” winks Anurag. Sarita turns and looks at him.

Anurag continues, “I… lo…”

“Papa! Your phone,” Riya comes running inside the room. Sarita and Anurag fumble and get away from each other.

Sarita looks at Anurag. They both smile.

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