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Boxer All The Time - Part 2

Boxer All The Time - Part 2

17 mins 845 17 mins 845

Mariya came back to her home quickly than she had promised to Dhanya, who was happy to see her mom before the sunset. Despite her wretched day, she had thrown a smile at her daughter. Mariya didn’t like what she was doing but she didn’t want her children to deluge in the flood of cramped feelings. She didn’t have any interest to let the children suffer because of her roiling encounters. Dhanya was sitting on her study chair and doing her homework. She was sketching some artwork. It was a peacock or some foreign bird. She didn’t draw well. Her small fingers were strewn with blue and green and black colours. Though she was good at studies, she hadn’t got any thrill with this artwork, she was bad at it. But she was doing for the sake of doing as her school miss had asked them to draw it.

“Mom,” Dhanya threw the crayons on the study desk and jumped out of the chair and clasped her mother tightly.

Mariya badly needed such hug from her little daughter. She rubbed her back gently as held her tightly to her chest.

“Grandma has come?” she asked. She slowly released her.

“Yes mom. She came within a few minutes when you left the house. But I hadn’t expected you would come sooner. This is a surprise for me. I know you love me a lot,” Dhanya said.

Mariya gave her a soft and enchanting look and said, “Of course I do baby. Where is your grandma?”

“She is in the kitchen mom. I asked her to prepare egg rolls. She is doing it for me,” Dhanya said.

“Dhanya how many times I told you not to let her do house chores,” Mariya said in a stern voice. Immediately she felt bad for talking briskly with her, she lowered herself and said in a loving tone this time, “She is older now darling.”

“But mom,” Dhanya’s mouth pouted as she sulked somewhat, "she only asked me what I want to eat.”

“Harey, stop ruling your daughter,” Mariya’s mother came to the living room now. Though she was sixty-five years old, she didn’t seem to be like that. She walked down slowly but she wasn’t struggling with her feet. The smell of egg rolls wafted in the air. It was yummy. Yes, her grandma had prepared a wonderful supper.

“Thanks granny,” Dhanya said and drew the plate from her. Before she nibbled the egg roll immediately, her upper lip was stained with the peanut sauce, but she wasn’t going to worry about it.

“Eat slowly dear, there is no hurry,” her grandma said. She gave a weak smile; she had lost most of the back tooth in her mouth. But her front teeth were looked strong. Mariya had inherited the appearance of her father it seems, simply because she didn’t look like her mother at all.

Mariya slightly puckered her nose and said, “Mom, I told you only to look after the small baby Bhavika. But you…………”

“Oh dear, she didn’t need a granny because she is such a nice and sweet girl and never disturbed me at all. She is cool as a butterfly but didn’t have wings. She just woke up once from her crib and I fed her the milk. She again dropped into the cocoon of her dreams, she is having a nice sleep you know,” her mother said. Her moistened blue eyes were as elegant as the ocean. You could jump into it and get many more fairy tales from there. She was such a lovely old woman. She wore a light brown cotton sari and it was plain apart from there was some thin borders which resembled like Amaryllis flower.

“Thanks for being so helpful to me. I love you mom,” Mariya said. She wanted to tell what was happened to her today, but she didn’t want to put her into melancholy. Enough of giving more troubles in an earlier age. This was the time she had to free from worries. But Mariya, your mother is going to find out everything inside and outside of you. After all, she was her mother.

“You are talking to me as if we both are meeting after a long time. C’mon dear, pull off the mask of being so formal. Tell me what really happened. I know there is something wrong,” her mother said, her eyelids didn’t flicker at all. Her eyes bore deep into her daughter.

Mariya was almost surprised to hear this. How in this world, she could read my thoughts like a letter? Mariya wondered. She wasn’t going to tell her problems in front of Dhanya for sure.

“Nothing mom, I will tell you later,” Mariya said.

The little baby cried. Their attention drew towards her now. Mariya sprang her feet, but her mother clasped her hand tightly.

“Dhanya, go and play with your sister for a while. Show her the toys which I brought earlier. But careful you shouldn’t hurt her, okay?”

Dhanya grinned. She was happy to play with her little sis alone. An hour back, she had asked her grandma to wake up the baby, but she didn’t allow her to do it. Dhanya was waiting to open the new toys angry bird, a juggling train, a camel and a penthouse. It was ordered online during the Dasara season, her grandpa only chosen these toys because he knew the pulse of budding children. He wanted to come and see them, but due to his knee pain, he couldn’t walk down to meet them here. Two years back, he used to visit this house at least five times a day, but not now. He wasn’t happy about the way his legs were aching, and it had almost suffocated his life. Today he wished to come, but when he walked a few steps from his house, he fell on the road as his feet tripped suddenly. He was taking rest in his home now.

“Okay granny,” Dhanya said and flashed a lovely smile.

When the little girl had left them alone in the living room, Mariya’s mother gazed at her daughter. She had probed her deeply before asking this question, “Tell me what’s going on with you. I mean, is your head coach accepted you to represent our country in the boxing game again?”

“No mom, he didn’t. He said I should look ways to quit my career. He is thinking that I am exhausted after giving birth to two girls,” Mariya said. They both were standing. The main door wasn’t closed. The thick black clouds swarmed everywhere in the sky. It was going to rain like anything today. The wind was roaring and hissing along the streets now. The tall coconut and mango trees in the front yard were swaying to the tune of wind. Anytime, Mariya’s husband would stop by here.

Her mother wasn’t grieving because she had a good temperament. She knew if she started shaking, there was no point of being her mother who fought all the ordeals to make her daughter’s dream true. She only took a deep breath instead. Her chest widened a little as she looked at her daughter solemnly and said, “See Mariya, I don’t want to give you advice anymore. Because you have already proved that you are a great living soul than we are. There are many fans yearning to see you on the screen punching your rivals aggressively. They are the true inspiration behind all your success. You only owe an answer to them. Not me or your father or your husband. But the truth is that your fans are creating buzz and pumping their chests to see you again in the high-octane game. That is the fact. Even a week before I had seen NDTV channel where the journalist had re-telecasted the moments when you ran around the ring with our country flag. You know what, I had seen your fans with tearful faces. I had seen they were being proud of Indian because you gave them victory. Remember this, the victory wasn’t yours. Theirs.”

On hearing this, Mariya didn’t know what to say, she had lost her voice. She couldn’t even open her plastered lips. But she didn’t cry. It wasn’t the moment to cry. She knew. There was a strange sensation of ecstasy crept over her soul. It made her head whirl and elevate beyond the joyousness.

“Thanks mom. I never thought I would be going through all these emotions in a day. My thoughts were jumbled and disarrayed and frightful until I had seen you. In the training centre after I had seen my juniors troll on me, I felt like giving up. But after hearing your inspiring words, no,” there was a head shake from Mariya, “I never lose my courage to fight again. I will fight for my country until all my blood drains from my body.”

“That’s my child. I wanted to see you always believing yourself despite problems may surface and try to strangle you. Got it?” her mother said.

“Of course mom,” she hugged her tightly. “Please stay here today. Don’t leave me,” she said with courtesy and compassion.

“No my child. I have to go and give tablets to your father. You know he hates to swallow the tablets, right?” her mother said, smiling.

“Oh mom, I will ask Dhanya to go and give him a pill. But you don’t leave me, mom,” Mariya said to her like she was just ten years old girl.

“No baby, today he fell on the road while walking towards your house.”

“Is it? Is father all right now?” Mariya’s smooth face suddenly crinkled. Her heart jumped out of her throat for a couple of seconds.

“He is all right. He just needs some rest, that’s it. His thoughts are always around this house Mariya. He couldn’t stay in the house without seeing the children,” her mother said.

“That’s why I told you both to come and stay in our home instead, but……………” Mariya’s husband was standing on the doorway now. He threw a good and warm smile at his mother-in-law, who was surprised to see him.

“Oh Santhosh, come inside. Why are you standing there?” Mariya said to her husband.

He removed his paragon sandals and entered inside the house, still smiling. He slowly placed the bag on the wooden sofa and looked at them. His body smelt of bread and samosa, he was coming directly from the bakery. Even his hands were smelled the same, though he had driven by bike. Mariya was surprised because she couldn’t even hear the bike noise, maybe he would have stopped way back not to disturb the little baby who was sleeping inside the bedroom.

“What have you decided aunty?” Santhosh asked her mother-in-law again. He was pointing at what her daughter requested earlier.

Mariya’s mother didn’t have to think much to tell these words, “No son, it won’t be a good idea to hang on with your family. Particularly my husband won’t encourage this,” she said.

“I don’t know how to convince you both,” Santhosh said little stubbornly this time and turned to look at his wife, “At least you can brainwash them, right?”

“No Santhosh, let them stay there. You know about my father, right? Though he wishes to come and stay here, he would never leave that house for sure. He was so attached with the house and you simply can’t lift him from there,” Mariya smiled on her small joke. Even her mother and her husband chuckled a bit.

“That’s fine,” her husband said. He looked around and asked, “where is Dhanya?”

Whenever he come back from his work, the first thing he would do was to stop by his daughter and give her some special snack which he had made in the bakery. She knew her father was a great cook and Dhanya always loved to eat whatever he prepared for her.

“I know why you are asking,” Mariya said, “you can’t disturb her now. She is having a good time with her little sis in the bedroom.”

“Okay Mariya, I have to leave now, it’s getting late for me,” her mother said.

“No aunty, you got to stay back. Shall I call and talk to uncle?” Santhosh said as drew his basic Micromax mobile from his pants pocket.

“No need son, he told me to come back within one hour, but I have already spent four hours here. If I stay a minute more here, he would come back searching after me. He is already not feeling well,” Mariya’s mother said.

Santhosh was slightly upset. He had high respect for him, even though his uncle was somewhat stubborn and reclusive.

“Yes Santhosh, let her go and take care of him. It is already getting dark outside, the rain might pour down at any time,” Mariya said.

“Fine,” Santhosh and heaved a big sigh and grabbed his slinging shoulder bag from the wooden sofa and opened a zip. “Here you go. This is a nice plum cake for my uncle. I have made it special. I think he would love it,” he gave it to her.

“Thanks son, the aromatic smell itself is telling me how it would taste. He really likes to have it. God bless you both,” Mariya’s mother said, as she set to depart from the house.

After her mother had left, Mariya went back to the kitchen to prepare dinner for them. She didn’t speak anything with Santhosh, who also didn’t feel like talking to her about boxing. But he knew she would have gone today to start her practice session. That’s what she told him in the morning before he had left for the work. But he didn’t know what had happened to her until she shares her anxieties and frustrations with him. No, she wasn’t going to tell anything now. Let at least he have some peaceful time in the house. Mariya was surprised when she had seen her mother had cooked a great dinner for them. When she opened the top lid of kadai, the smell of butter paneer wafted in the air. It had almost let her mouth watered. The crispy and hot parathas were already placed inside the hot pack and it was kept beside the gas stove. All she could muster was to smile through her eyes. She knew why her mother didn’t tell about she had already cooked dinner for them. Because Mariya would scold her for straining her body in the heat and smoke, her mother was already an asthma patient and doctors had strongly told her not to spend much time in pollution. After all the smoke coming from the kitchen is a type of pollution, isn’t?

It was until eleven they didn’t speak about her boxing at all. But they had a good time with their daughters. Dhanya and Mariya played chess while Santhosh had pampered his cute baby on his lap. The baby Bhavika was kept smiling when her mother Mariya pretended to cry after Dhanya had defended her successfully in the chess game. She outplayed her mother for sure. She knew how to move the queen with ease and powerful strokes. Mariya hung down her head all the time after losing all the pawns in a quick time. After losing the game, she thought she should never play a game which she didn’t have an ounce of interest. But nothing would be a spoiler when you play just for fun with your kids, Mariya.

“Shall I turn off the light?” Santhosh asked her wife. Their kids were already sleeping. Dhanya was sleeping on the edge of the bed. Her legs were dangling down.

“Wait a second,” Mariya said and drew her daughter well inside the bed. Dhanya mumbled a few words and dropped again into a deep sleep, “Yeah now you can turn off.”

He flicked down the switch as the white glow of light suddenly gone and he immediately turned on the night lamp which lit dull orange. It was mild and tempting setup to douse. You could see he was coming down to lie next to her on the bed. The windows were closed as the rain was splashing outside strongly. It looked like the rain was going to hammer all night. He felt like wearing a jerkin which was embroidered by her aunty, it was his marriage anniversary gift from her. Mariya got a nice cotton saree which too had glorious embroidery work because her mother was very good at it. She didn’t study any fashion design but learned this skill through self-will.

“Good night Mariya,” her husband said in a whisper. The blanket was ruffled as he pulled it to cover his body.

Mariya was disappointed because he usually talks about what she had done every day, but not today. She was both surprised and shocked. She didn’t feel like sleeping at all, even though she tried to close her eyes and turned and tossed on the bed. She couldn’t resist herself from waking him up. She shook his shoulders finally.

He opened his eyes slowly and said, “What happened Mariya? Don’t you feel like sleeping?”

She shook her head.

“I am nervous Santhosh. I can’t sleep,” she said. Her fingers were shivering. He hadn’t seen her like that before. He placed his hands on her head and it was hot and easily would have crossed 104 Fahrenheit.

“Oh shit, you have a fever, Mariya. Did you take any tablets?” he asked. He clasped her fingers tightly.

“Nooooo,” she said and crying.

“Mariya, relax. Don’t cry like a small kid, I know what happened to you. The selection committee has refused to honor you. Are they going to eliminate you from the Olympics tournament?” he said. He knew everything. The floor cleaner had conveyed what happened in the training room. He knew him very well. In fact, during the last commonwealth games when Mariya was practicing seriously here, Santhosh used would bring a lunch box to her from the house and talk with the floor cleaner a few minutes every time he visited. He only had called him and told everything about the way the two skimpy girls had irritated his wife. On hearing this news, Santhosh felt like chopping off their heads but restrained his anger only because of Mariya’s sake. That’s why he didn’t even talk about this matter today with her. He didn’t want to hurt her further. He knew how painful it was to be trolled by her friends.

She shook her head and plunged on his chest like a sheep. He embraced her for a few seconds and slowly released her from his clasp. Then he looked at her eyes and said, “See Mariya, I know everything. I didn’t talk to you because I don’t want to hurt you again. You only told me that God will give troubles to good people only for the sake of their growth and well-being and He guides the people who always trust Him. So I don’t expect you to worry about the problems you are facing now,” he said. It was definitely a bunch of soothing words. There was no doubt about it. Actually, Mariya was worried because she thought her husband was not interested in what she was doing after he hadn’t spoken with her about the practice session today. She didn’t know that he knew about those facts already and he didn’t want to disturb her again. A moment she was embarrassed for thinking about her husband in a wrong way. How a person who had supported her for a decade can suddenly deviate from what was right? She sighed.

“Oh dear, forgive me. I thought you were not happy with what am I doing?” she said. Her misty eyes sparkled against the thin orange light.

He took a deep breath and his face was tightened, “Mariya, I don’t love your gold medals or the money you earn through these big competitions. I love you because you are my wife. I wanted you to succeed because I love my country. I can’t compromise these two things at any point in my life. Be clear on that. Don’t take me wrong for saying this. Even if you hate me after getting so much money and fame, I never hate you for sure. Because I always love you, dear,” he said.

Her lips were quivering now. Her forehead became cold now. Her head was dropped down. She didn’t know if she had to cry or smile now.

“Thank you, Santhosh. I should thank God for giving such a precious husband for me as a gift. I don’t know what good thing I had done in the previous incarnation to earn you and my parents. I love you, dear,” she said.

He clasped her both hands and looked at her eyes, “All I wanted from you is that you should keep pushing up yourself and let make our country be proud of you. That’s enough for me. I wanted you to be happy. You should enjoy your dreams. I am always there to help you and nurture you,” he said. He had never cried before, but he wanted to shed a few tears now. No, he wanted to store it for a big moment in the coming days. He knew what this big moment was.

She kissed him on his lips. She may not get a great time like this to show her love. This was the perfect time to do it. He held her head close to him and they both enjoyed this glorious night passionately.

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