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Fiction

HEREDITY                                WORDS-1709, VIJAY LIKHITE, 91 9323674021

      Ashokvilla, Ashokvan, Borivali,

      Mumbai 400066                                                                                         countermate@gmail.com

Sumitra was very happy that she was now a grandmother. Her daughter-in-law Vidya had delivered a baby boy. She was unhappy that her husband Pradeep was not in this world to see his grandson. Her son Satish was extremely happy to get a son.

The child, Abhimanyu was growing healthy. On his second birthday, Abhimanyu’s physical features were getting sharp. The child was as fair as Satish was. His nose was straight as his mother, Vidya.

But now, the color of his eyes was noticeably different. It was grey. Satish started wondering, how did Abhimanyu get this color for eyes. He checked up the entire heritage from both the families. There was not even a trace of grey-colored eyes, in the entire family chain.

Satish was wondering whether that was a classic example of “CHANCE” in the link of evolution.

On the third birthday, Abhimanyu was dressed up as an Army man. Many acquaintances, relatives were invited. Amongst all the invitees, Nitin Bapat, Vidya’s schoolmate stood out. He was their family friend and had continued his friendly relationship after Vidya’s marriage with Satish’s family also. Very jovial and lovable man. Nitin Bapat was a regular visitor.

On this birthday, Satish noticed that Nitin Bapat also had grey eyes. All of a sudden suspicion struck his mind.

Abhimanyu’s grey eyes, could they have any relationship with Nitin Bapat’s grey eyes?

Amongst all the merry-making, Satish's conscious was biting him. Was there any further relationship between Vidya and Nitin?

After the party was over, before sleeping, Satish opened out his heart.

“Vidya, Nitin is a nice man. Is not it?”

"Yes. He is a very good friend, gentle, decent, and jovial."

“And lovable too?” Satish was sarcastic.

“What do you mean, Satish? So, are you doubting me?” Vidya.

 “No. Not doubting. But seeking an explanation. How come Abhimanyu’s eyes have the same color as Nitin's?"

“Oh my God! What a  link you got to doubt my behavior! Satish, the color of Abhimanyu's eyes, I have not chosen. “

"I know that. And I say the same. That is genetically decided. And, in both of our heritage lineups, no one has grey eyes. But Nitin has. That means Abhimanyu has the hereditary quality of Nitin's genes."

"What nonsense! I think you have gone mad.”

“Now, you can say anything. But I am upset.”

“There is no valid reason for you to get upset.”

"Okay. Let me sleep now." Saying this Satish turned on one side, pulled up the sheet, and tried to sleep.

Vidya thought, the next day morning he would cool down and then would realize his mistake. Everything would become alright. But she also could not sleep. On other occasions of tiff, the cause used to be very trivial. But this time Satish had leveled a very serious charge on her. How to handle it? This thought did not allow her to sleep.

The next day morning, Satish was in the same mood as the previous night. He did not speak a word to her. Nor did he take Abhimanyu close to him. During breakfast, his tantrums were noticed by Sumitra.

“Looks like something has gone wrong.”

“Yes. I don’t understand. Aai, he has gone mad.” Vidya said.

"Don't worry Vidya. He will cool down soon and will come on the proper line."

“No Aai. This time he is accusing me of infidelity. The reason being Abhimanyu's eyes are grey as Nitin's eyes."

"Oh, God! What nonsense! Don’t worry Vidya. I will explain to him.”

“No use, Aai. These Engineers don’t understand even this much biology. “

“Don’t worry. I will try.”

Vidya and Sumitra finished their breakfast after feeding Abhimanyu.  

 The day passed in tension. Sumitra found Satish very upset and realized this time it was something serious. After dinner, Vidya took Abhimanyu with her and went into their regular bedroom and bolted it after her.

Satish got into the other bedroom. Even tonight he was not able to sleep. He was haunted by Nitin Bapat. He remembered Vidya had gone to her parents some 4 years ago. But they had to be away for a couple of days as their close relative had expired. Vidya was at home all alone those two days. Nitin staying in the neighborhood must have taken good care of Vidya, then.

How unfaithful! Never thought Vidya would cross the limits of friendship. Satish was getting more and more positive that Abhimanyu was Nitin's son. The color of the eyes, grey was solid evidence of the relationship.

Satish compared Sumitra, his mother with Vidya. What a great character his mother had. His father Pradeep had a touring job. He used to be out of the city for 2-3 weeks every month. But how loyal his mother was to his father! She was also an independent lady. The principal of a reputed college. Very popular with the students. Had a very big circle of contacts. But she had never crossed the limits.

And Vidya! What a loose character she had." Satish was upset and he found Vidya guilty in her every action. 

Here, Sumitra laid on her bed. Her mind was revolving around grey eyes. Apart from Nitin, who else, she had found with grey eyes? She was trying to recollect.

And she was disturbed. She remembered it was Samir, her collegemate and usual visitor to their house. She also recollected that eventful night around 30 years ago, when Samir had visited their house when Pradeep was outstation.

Sumitra picked up the phone.

“Hallo!  This is Dighe’s residence. Who is speaking, please?”

“Samir here.”

“Oh, Samir? After a long time. Where are you?”

“I have come to Mumbai, yesterday," Samir said.

“In Mumbai? Ok. Pradeep is outstation. He will be back home tomorrow morning. Why don’t you come over and join us for dinner, tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow? That suits me.” Samir.

“Okay then. I look forward to seeing you around 7 in the evening, tomorrow. Bye."

Sumitra kept down the phone with a smile on her face. Her collegemate Samir Sane would be visiting her the next day. She would be meeting him after about 3-4 years.

The next day, Pradeep called Sumitra and told her about the change in his program. He would be returning only after two more days. Sumitra tried to contact Samir to postpone the dinner but failed.

In the evening Sumitra got ready to receive her collegemate, after cooking some nice dinner.

At 7 in the evening, the doorbell rang. Sumitra opened the door and saw Samir standing there with his pleasant smile and glittering grey eyes. “ Hallo, Mrs.Sumitra Dighe.”

Sumitra returned a smile.

"Hello,” She said and let him in.

After a few minutes, Sumitra told Samir about Pradeep’s changed plan. Samir immediately got up to leave saying “Okay, then I am going. We will meet during my next visit.”

“I tried to contact you but did not get through. Anyway, we will have dinner as planned and then we will meet again with Pradeep, during your next visit. You don’t have to quit immediately.”

“No. I don’t feel comfortable without Pradeep. I must get going.”

"Are you mad? Let us have dinner at around 8:30 and then you leave. Taste, how well I cook! And anyway, it is going to rain heavily now. Getting a cab will be difficult for you. So, cool down. Have dinner with me."

“Of course, I will enjoy dinner with you. But ..”

"Do not worry. Relax. Would you like to have a drink? "

Sumitra led him to a small chest. Opened it for him and said, “Help yourself.”

Samir poured a drink for himself and started chatting with Sumitra.

They had a nostalgic tour of their college days. Other group members also appeared prominently.

With a cool atmosphere, heavy rains and a nice dinner, Samir was enjoying the evening.

But finally, they both could not control themselves and succumbed to the instinct.  

Sumitra also remembered that the next day when Pradeep returned, he was in a terrific mood. And they had very exhaustive bed activity.

Soon Sumitra had conceived. Pradeep was extremely happy. But Sumitra was not sure whose baby she was carrying. Samir’s or Pradeep’s?

The pregnancy period passed with extreme joy in the house. Pradeep was planning with Sumitra the names for the child, either a girl or a boy. But Sumitra was extremely worried not knowing whose child she was going to deliver.

After the child was born, Sumitra was anxious to know if the child had any feature that would indicate who his father was. Most of the features were common in both Pradeep and Samir except the color of the eyes. When Sumitra saw the child had light brown eyes, she was relieved. But later she came to know that some features of the child change between 2-3 years of age. After his 4th birthday, when the child still had light brown eyes, Sumitra was totally out of anxiety.

But then Satish’s son had got grey eyes. Could it be skipping of generation?

And poor Vidya was getting blamed for infidelity. Sumitra decided to talk to their family Doctor and confirm this notion.

The next day Sumitra took an appointment with their family Doctor. Visited her and discussed this matter with her.

When at home, Sumitra reassured Vidya, not to lose her courage. She would try her best to prove her innocence.

In the evening, Sumitra called Satish and Vidya to her room.

“Now Satish and Vidya, please hold your breath and listen to what I am saying. I want to confess something. I had told Pradeep about this. And that great person he was, he pardoned me with his big heart.

And now, Satish, please forgive me for such an unethical thing I was indulged in.

Please do not doubt Vidya’s character. She has not done anything wrong. If Abhimanyu has grey eyes, it is because of my sin. I am the sinner. “

Sumitra narrated the entire story.

Satish and Vidya, both got a jolt.                              

Vidya leaned on Sumitra’s shoulders and sobbed uncontrolled. Satish was also moved. He spoke in a choked voice, to Vidya. "Please, excuse me Vidya. Please forgive me."

August 16, 2021 16:36

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