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Bipasha Baisya



Bipasha Baisya




5 mins 324 5 mins 324

It was the nose. Most certainly the nose. The little curve and the subsequent roundness at the tip. The shape of the ears too. They were the same as his. And when he opened his eyes, the soft almond brown of the irises – every day, Neil found a new similarity between himself and his seven month old son Meer.

“Look, Jhanvi! His eyes are the same colour as mine, aren’t they?” Meer exclaimed and pulled his wife closer to the bed so that she may inspect it for herself.

Jhanvi smiled gently. “They are, darling.”

Neil tickled Meer’s tiny tummy. “Little Meer’s got his Papa’s eyes! Such a handsome baby boy!”

Meer giggled, happy to receive love from his father. Neil lifted him up and settled on his back so that Meer could be placed on his chest. He kissed his little feet and his small hands. Everything about his child was precious to Neil.

“You should get up now. Dad’s almost done with making the breakfast. Mom will be back soon from her walk.”

“I will but it’s a Sunday! Let me spend some time with Meer!” Neil whined.

Jhanvi rolled her eyes fondly. “All right but you have to rise sooner or later.”

“I will get up before breakfast is served,” promised Neil. Meer gurgled in agreement.

“BREAKFAST IS SERVED!” Came a voice from the kitchen.

Jhanvi burst out laughing. Neil grumbled under his breath as he heaved himself up with a mighty grunt and said to Meer very seriously, “Little man, we have to keep our promise. Off we go to eat!”

Imitating a plane taking off, and aided by the sound of his son’s beautiful laughter, Neil zoomed to the dining room where his father was laying out the breakfast. Hot samosas filled the room with their fragrance. The only other scent which could compete with that was the sharp freshness of the mint chutney.

Roshan, Neil’s father, took Meer in his arms. Meer tugged at his grandfather’s salt and pepper hair as Roshan joked, “You are too small to eat samosas or else you would have realized how great a cook your grandfather is!”

Meer giggled and tucked his face in the crook of Roshan’s neck. The baby looked rather content there. Neil smiled as his father patted Meer gently on his back. At a first glance, no one would suspect them to be anything but a doting grandfather and an adored grandson. In fact, that would exactly be the same in the case of Neil and Roshan. They would only see a proud father and a devoted son. But upon closer inspection one would notice that Neil bore no resemblance to either of his parents. That was because he was adopted.

Neil remembered the first time he had suspected this. At the age of ten, a child is very curious. Especially when older relatives speak in hushed voices.

“...such a pity that Mala could not have a child of her own.”

Mala? That was his mom. She did have a child - him.

“Neil is a good boy but...” Chachaji halted suddenly. “Neil, beta, what are you doing here? Go play with your cousins.”

And just like that he had been dismissed.

He hadn’t thought much about that until he had grown a little older. He would look into the mirror, holding a picture of his parents in his hand, and trying to compare the features he had inherited from them. At first he could see how wore the same t-shirts as his father or how he parted his hair the same way his mother did but then those were not features- they were habits.

Neil identified that he did not have the same lips as Roshan or Mala. Nor did his nose match either of theirs. The shape of his cheekbones was markedly different and so was his build. He had distanced himself from everybody, he remembered, and built a little place for himself in his mind which acted much like a cocoon. Here, he belonged. Here, he was himself.

But his parents hadn’t stood for it. They had tried to draw him out with his favorite food, favorite books, and even a brand new cycle but none of it seemed to have any charm for him. He had finally broken down on the day he found himself going to the stage to talk about his family. Was his family really his family? His classmate Jhanvi, now his wife, had taken him backstage and given him a hug. She had stayed with him until Roshan and Mala could come to find him.

He had been taken home immediately and when he was cuddled safely between his parents, he had asked them the question which had led to all of this. “Maa, am I adopted?”

To this day, he could feel the tension of that moment if he thought about it and closed his eyes. Her eyes had filled with tears as she had replied, “Yes. But you are my son. Our son.”

 It took him several years to reconcile himself with the fact that the ones who had brought him up were not the same as the one that had birthed him. But slowly he had come to realize that he was not unloved. His parents stood by him patiently as he processed all this and returned to his former happy self. He had matured with the knowledge of his origin.

“Everyone, sit down fast! We have to eat the samosas while they are hot!” Roshan said as he pulled a chair for Maya who had arrived while Neil was lost in his musings. “Meer will sit with his Dadu today! Right, Meer! You will sit with Dadu no?”

Meer nodded very condescendingly and proceeded to chew on his bib. Mala laughed fondly. “You used to do that too when you were younger, Neil.”

Neil blushed and nodded as Jhanvi wiggled her eyebrows at her husband. This one similarity opened a ton of different memories which Roshan and Mala shared eagerly with Jhanvi. And Jhanvi, who had probably heard them a million times, responded with the same enthusiasm as she had when she had first heard them. Neil looked around at his family. He may not have his parents’ lips but he laughed like them. He may not share his mother’s blood but both of them still liked their tea with two spoons of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. He may not have his father’s eyes but his father looked at him with the same love in his eyes with which he looked at Meer. He may not be related to them but he had a family. A family who loved him very dearly.


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