Dhruv’s eyes kept straying to the big wall clock. He had just about learnt to tell that a clock had two hands. When those hands came together, his Pallavi didi came to spend the day with him and daddy left for office. And, Pallavi didi stayed till Mommy came home from work.
He heard his Daddy talking on the phone. He sounded angry. Once he finished his call he walked up to him.
‘Hey buddy,’ Daddy said as he crouched in front of him, where he sat colouring the giant paint book his Mommy had brought. A fat yellow crayon was held securely between his pudgy fingers. Didi liked yellow flowers.
‘I have to leave for a very important meeting,’ said Daddy, ‘Pallavi didi will be here soon.’ Hearing her name, Dhruv smiled. ‘You know she will come at twelve, right?’
Dhruv looked at the clock.
‘It’s just ten minutes. Don’t open the door for anyone. She has a key. Ok? Hey buddy, did you understand what I just said?’
‘Don’t open door,’ Dhruv said. He wondered why Daddy didn’t understand that he was not a little boy. He was six now.
‘That’s my boy,’ remarked Daddy smiling and kissed him on top of his head. ‘Just keep colouring and don’t open the door,’ he reiterated as he stood up and walked to the door.
Daddy opened the door and looked over his shoulder.
‘Hmm… maybe it’s better if I switch on the TV,’ Daddy murmured, as he walked back in and picked him up, ‘and you can watch your favourite cartoon.’
‘Nooo…,’ he wailed and kicked. He had to colour the flower for Didi.
‘Come on! Buddy,’ his Daddy shouted, ‘I’m already late. Didi will be here any minute. Promise me you won’t open the door.’ Exasperated Daddy put him down near the drawing book again.
Sniffling, he resumed colouring.
Daddy hesitated at the door, unsure, but a shrug later, he closed the door quietly and left.
Dhruv glanced at the clock, again. The hands were so close.
‘Didi will be here soon,’ he thought and went back to colouring the flower with renewed energy.
Then, the clock struck twelve. He glanced at the door, a smile spreading over his cherubic face in anticipation.
It didn’t open.
He stared at it intently, willing Didi to come. Then he gazed at the clock once again. The hands were no longer together. They were now the shape of the apple pie slices he liked from the nearby bakery. The time had come and gone but Didi hadn’t come.
His brow furrowed. Where was Didi?
He got up. Daddy had said not to open the door. So, he turned and went to the balcony to look at the path that led up to the porch of the building. From the ninth floor, it was a clear view to the road and he could see Didi, when she came.
He opened the door and walked out into the balcony. He then went and stood holding the iron railing and peeping through the vertical bars.
What he saw nearly made him cry.
His lips trembled and his eyes teared up. His breath became choppy and finally a fat tear rolled down his chubby cheek.
There was his Didi, in the garden, pushing that pesky Sonia’s tricycle. They were talking and laughing. He called out to her in a plaintive voice and frantically waved his hands through the bars. Didi looked up, smiled and waved back at him.
Then…she moved on.
He was utterly heart broken. He thought of the yellow flower he had painted.
Dhruv possibly couldn’t know, but perhaps Didi’s favourite colour was not yellow, maybe it was green.
Some people will do anything for the right amount of green, won’t they?