The inviting early June winds flew inside the room, making the curtains rise and fall to their course. The chill in the wind indicated that monsoon was around the corner. He closed the door behind him, and walked soundlessly inside the room. He didn’t switch on the lights for his own selfish reasons. Walking in the familiar and now dark bedroom, he made his way towards the bed, making sure not to knock off any objects on his way, lest he wakes her up and spoil everything.
Reaching the bed safely, without stepping up on any paint tubes was a victory in its own way given how they are littered all around her room these days and watching his step even on broad day light has become a task for him. He smiled fondly at the memory of her messy curls which she pushed off frequently, whenever she attempted painting. With those cheeks stained with paint, she looked adorable. So what if she ended up having more paint on her face than on paper, he loved it, in fact he couldn’t erase the grin off his face watching her put her imagination on paper, which by the way had become her love these days, making him sulk at the lack of attention he gets from her but that story would be for another day. Today, especially tonight he was here on her room for a purpose. He was a man on mission. Grinning at his course of action, he sat on the edge of her bed, and stared at the angelic face he is in love with. . . Muskaan, his Muskaan.
It goes without saying that she is the love of his life. Hands curled tight, and pressed below her cheeks, wild curls falling on her face, blocking his view to her face, she was an angel directly deported from heaven, now sleeping before him oblivious to every other thing in the world. She looked so innocent in her sleep but he knew better. She was a walking and talking tornado for all you know, but he mused he loved this tornado; he loved her the way she is.
Tucking the wild strands behind her ear slowly, he saw her squirm in sleep, but it was only for a moment. She smiled in her sleep, a beat later with her cute dimples quite visible in the moonlit room. Oh god, the smile, he thought. The smile didn’t leave her even in her sleep. He bent forward and placed a light kiss on her dimpled cheek. Strangely her smile just widened, making him fall in love with her all over again. She was aptly named, he thought; Muskaan, the smile and laughter of his life.
He peered at his wristwatch checking for the time. Two minutes to go to the clock to strike twelve. The moment he was waiting for. The reason he is here. It would be eighth of June after two minutes, meaning it was her birthday, Muskaan’s birthday. And so, he was here, to be the first one to wish his sweetheart. If someone had met him before she came into his life, they might not have expected him to as much stretch the grim line of his lips into a smile, let alone expect him to wish someone at 00:00. He was called some very interesting names at his office by his sub ordinates regarding his lack of smiling and his uptightness, which he was very much aware of. He was a tyrant boss, whose pictures might have been pasted on dart board, by his subordinates.
He passed a hand over her hair, as he thought about it. Frankly, he had never have foreseen himself love someone dearer than his life, but he does now, and the change in him was though unexpected not unwelcome. A self centered man he was before she came into his life, but now his world undoubtedly revolved around the girl that slept before him, she wrapped him around the little finger of hers. He smiled again and wondered…love does that to a man. Doesn’t it?
It’s been two years since he first saw her. The first time he saw her, that instant he saw the twinkle in her eyes, and the smile on her face, he was a man in love.
After she came into his life, his world only revolved around her, his life changed, his behavior changed. Only she could bring the sweetest person in him. For the world, he still was the arrogant and egoist but with her he was a different person.
He checked his watch one more time and smiled. It’s about the time and once the clock strikes 12, he would wake her up and wish her, she in turn would hug him and kiss him. Life could not be any more beautiful.
His heart pounded as he looked at the time. Five seconds to go. He slowly pulled her sleeping form in his arms, with her head cradled against his chest.
Three seconds more.
He tucked a wild strand behind her head and whispered in her ears “Muskaan”
She squirmed in her sleep and rubbed her eyes.
One second more.
He pressed his lips against her cheek and whispered in her ear “Happy birthday baby”
She opened her sleepy eyes to look at him and smiled.
“Love you sweetheart” he murmured dropping another kiss on her head.
“Love you too” she yawned, “Papa” she completed and rested her head on his shoulder, falling asleep again.
He chuckled at her.
Like mother, like daughter, he thought fondly remembering his wife’s antics. Even his darling wife loved sleeping and can come competition to Khumbhakarna any time. There were times when he stared at her sleeping form wanting to wake her up in the most romantic manner ever, but he was surprised that his plan failed every time. She would not wake up for his feather light touches, or hot breaths, not even to his teasing kisses. In fact she snored away blissfully ignorant of his agitation. He wondered how anyone can sleep like that, without as much a twitch even there were trumpets blown before them. But, his wife proved him wrong and erased his doubts. She could and would successfully sleep even if there was an earthquake around her, just like she is right now in their master bed room.
“What is going on hubby dearest?” came a sugary sweet voice from the doorway and he stiffened.
Think of the devil!
Turning to face his wife, who seemed to wear a deepest darkest scowl, he uttered a surprised “What are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here?” his dramatic wife echoed, her eyes wide as saucers, as she stomped towards him with a surprised expression and he knew that he was up to witness some dramatics “Oh right, what am I doing here? After all she’s only your daughter and only you have the right to wish her. Right? Am I not her mother?” she said with a scowl “But who cares for me? Nobody expects me. Actually,” she paused as if thinking of saying something much better “Nobody loves me” she completed as an afterthought.
He rolled his eyes and with his sweet daughter still in his arms, he walked towards his now fuming wife and tilted his head.
“Really?” he said, and with one arm holding a dozing Muskaan in place, he encircled his wife’s waist and pulled her close with his free hand “Is that so? Nobody loves you? What a shame!” he said as he leaned onto and nipped the sensitive part behind her ear “I love my wife a lot” facing her, he gave her a lopsided grin “I am sorry that your husband doesn’t love you”
“What to do, my husband can’t take his eyes off the boring files and his oh so favorite laptop. He is such a bore” she said with a dramatic sigh making him hiss her name. She was dramatic to the T and it was his ignorance to try and play with her.
“Say it again” he said pulling her closer while she placed her palms on his chest, to save herself from getting crushed in his embrace. He saw her giggle and he involuntarily pulled her even closer. “Let us go back to our room, I’ll show you what a bore I am” he said giving her a look, which said he could as well carry his threat right here, if needed.
Right at the moment, Muskaan squirmed in her semi sleep state, with all the muttering going on around her, rubbing her sleepy eyes she looked at her mother and gave her another sweet smile before throwing her tiny arms around her and squealing “Mamma”
Hugging her darling daughter back, she gave a kiss on her cheek after wishing her happy birthday.
As he saw the mother daughter duo that were busy discussing what cake to order, and how chocolate cakes are the best-est in the world, he could not help but to smile at them. He secured his arm around his wife, who was holding their daughter, and his other hand was in the soft grip of his daughter. As he looked at his two favorite girls in the world, he could not help but to remind himself, that life can’t be any more beautiful.
* * *
Khumbhakarna*– A mythological character who slept continuously for six months and ate continuously for the rest of the six months.