I pretended to be busy with my cooking, as Anusha got ready and packed her school bag.
" Ma, I'm leaving. Will be late this evening, have extra classes ", she said, as she put on her shoes and straightened her tie , glancing at the showcase glass.
" Ok, shall make the vegetable puffs as dinner starters, then. You wanted them na ? ", I asked.
She nodded, " Yeah, that's fine Ma."
I waited till her bicycle turned the corner. I went to my car, and then drove it out of the garage. She needn't know my mission. I knew where she would go.
I saw her cycle at a distance, waiting for the signal to change. My car was at a safe distance from her cycle. She wouldn't see me, even in her rearview mirror.
The signal turned green. But instead of turning left, in the direction of her school, she took the straight road, to where he lived. I followed, all the while maintaining the safe distance.
He seemed to have been waiting for her arrival. He hugged her, as she got off the bicycle and parked it under the big Gulmohar tree on the roadside. She took out a gift-wrapped box from her bag and handed it to him. He beamed. Clearly, he hadn't expected this from her. She stood there with a happy smile on her face as he unwrapped the gift and took out a book.
One thing that they didn't know was that they were being watched.
I drew in a sharp breath and let out a low whistle as the scene unfolded in front of my eyes.
I knew what book it was. It was the fresh copy of, ' Chicken Soup for the Brothers' Soul'.
I had bought it for her from the International Book Fair, at Pune last month. She had loved it when I gave it to her.
Somehow, the mother in me knew what she would do with it.
She hugged him again, kissed him and started back on her bicycle. She rode past me as I ducked in to avoid her seeing me. She wouldn't expect me there, and she didn't look at my car as she sped away on her cycle.
I started my car and drove back home, all the while thinking about how sensitive a daughter I had.
He was Kesar, the twelve -year old son of our house-help, Jaya. Jaya would tell us how difficult it was for her to raise her kids, with a drunkard husband and an ailing mother-in-law. Her work as a domestic help in many homes was just enough and she was somehow pulling on. We helped her as much as we could.
Anusha had heard and seen all this, so she had sort of 'adopted' Kesar as her younger brother. She would give him her old school books, and ask him to read. He was a student at the local school, and he loved to learn.
Anusha would teach him, on weekends.
Today was his birthday, so Anusha had chosen to give him the gift.
I knew of her involvement with him, but chose to keep quiet. I never let her know I knew her secret.
I would surely do my best to help all I can with his education. God has given us enough to be of help to others.
But not yet. I would wait for Anusha to come and initiate the topic , with me.
I knew my daughter. She would come to me, soon.
I smiled as I opened the garage gates and parked my car inside.
I had a daughter I could always be proud of.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers.