When uncle and Jamila came out of the clinic, uncle was smiling, he was back to his old amiable self.
“Dr.Gupta said there is nothing much to worry about – she will be alright in a couple of days. It’s a load off my mind. Come let me treat you all to an ice cream.”
Amin uncle tried to excuse himself saying he had some work in the shop. But uncle persuaded him to come along, affectionately patting his shoulder and saying, “Come, Amin, you know, I have never gone to any of the ice-cream parlors in this town without you, right from our childhood days. You can’t ditch me know.” Amin uncle nodded sheepishly; he had never opposed uncle.
With Dr. Gupta’s medicines and her own remedies Jamila soon became OK. But uncle kept fussing over her, forbidding her to do any house work or play with us. She was also not interested in telling us stories which she had loved doing before. She looked distracted and had become very conscious of her looks and was often preening before a mirror. Sohail and I didn’t like being ignored but before we could complain to grandmother an incident took place.
I was awakened in the dead of night by a clinking metal sound. It was coming from the staircase that led to my uncle's room. Filled with stories of Chor Police, I slinked quietly beneath the stairs, and the next moment a whiff of uncle's fragrance was in the air and what do I see: Jamila descending the stairs! I came out in front of her –barring her way. She was startled.
" What are you doing here Jamila Baji ?"
"It was very hot – so I had gone to the terrace. Please let me pass".
I did. As she went past me, my eyes were dazzled by the gleaming gold bracelets on her wrists.
Those bracelets seemed very familiar…
To be continued...