When Ankur became angry, he flapped his hands and shouted. He told Mala what he wanted by pointing at things. Mala understood what he needed even if he didn't point. She understood his garbled voice. She understood him. He didn't need to use words. A mother can always understand what her child needs, no matter how her child communicates. It's what makes a mother a mother.
Mala knew it was time to give up…
It was time they conceded to nature…
It was the first time Mala cried for Ankur, for Raj and for herself…
Raj reached his apartment just in time to see the doors to the lift closing. He couldn't wait any longer. He ran up the stairs, jumping over two steps with each stride. He reached his door and rang the bell, trying to catch his breath as he imagined how upset Mala's face was going to look. Instead Rahul, Raj's best friend for the past twenty years, opened the door.
"Rahul?! What a pleasant surprise!" Raj exclaimed.
"How could I miss my friend's fifteenth wedding anniversary?" replied Rahul with a huge grin.
Raj entered the main hall and saw the whole home was covered with balloons and streamers. He couldn't believe he almost missed this. Sneha and Tara, Rahul's six-year old daughter, chased each other in circles around the room, while Ankur sat with his index finger on his temple and his head tilted back. Raj recognized it as the way he always sat when he was observing something new happening around him. It always reminded Raj of the way he rubbed his temples when he was working on an experiment.
Mala had sent the help home early that day. The apartment was already so crowded they would just get in the way.
Mala and Anita, Rahul's wife, came out of the kitchen. When Mala saw Raj, she said, "Oh look, here's my husband who can't even pick up his phone or remember our anniversary."
Raj dropped to his knees and held the bouquet out in front of him. The frown on Mala's face quickly disappeared as she took the flowers and read the note Raj had written on the small, heart-covered card in the center of it. Raj always knew how to make her happy.
Mala laughed and hugged Raj as he stood up. "Let's have some cake," she said, leading the four of them toward the beautiful cake sitting in the middle of the coffee table.
"It tastes delicious, darling," Raj said, taking a bite from it.
"You should tell that to Anita. She's the one who made it," Mala said.
The rest of the evening was filled with wonderful fun and happiness. They all ate a large meal that Anita and Mala had prepared and spent the evening watching the girls play. It was the first time in a long time that Raj had a break from thinking about his experiment. The first time he could just be happy and enjoy his family and friends without any stress.
The next day, as Raj was getting ready to leave for work, Tara declared, "Uncle, I am coming with you today. Sneha said you're working on a secret recipe. I want to see it." Then, in a hushed whisper she added, "I promise I won't tell anyone about it."
Raj looked at Sneha, annoyed that she would tell Tara about his secret. "I'm sorry Tara, but you can't come with me. The people at my office will not allow it. They guard the recipe with guns." Raj made a gun with his fingers and pretended to shoot it into the air. "It's a very, very big secret."
At first Tara looked scared, but she was undeterred. "Uncle, they won't use guns on me because they know I'm your niece." She went on citing more and more reasons to go to his office, while he kept coming up with new ways to say no. It was clear that she had spent all night trying to think of reasons why he should take her, but eventually Raj managed to get out of the house without Tara that day.