contd from In deep turmoil- Part 20
“Are you guys going somewhere?” Radha’s soft voice left both of them staring at her with a strange expression.
Kavita was almost on the verge of reacting when she saw that Arti was standing beside Radha as well. Her innocent eyes swept away all the anger from Kavita’s mind.
“Are you guys going somewhere Sangeeta aunty?” Arti asked in her sweet child-like voice. The question held too many emotions, Sangeeta could sense there was more.
“Its her birthday tomorrow and we hardly know anyone here. I thought the five of us could have a dinner. But then its alright you guys carry on,” Radha almost faltered into an explanation.
Sangeeta didn’t quite know what to say, she was on one side moved by Arti’s silent plea but then she knew that Kavita deserved this alone time she had promised.
“Why don’t we celebrate your birthday somewhere else? Get mummy to pack your clothes and we would all go away for a short and sweet trip,” no it wasn’t Sangeeta but Kavita who melted first. She couldn’t bare to stand the thought of leaving Arti alone on her birthday.
A bright smile instantly sprung on Arti’s face but Radha registered no change as such.
“No its quite alright. You guys carry on,” she replied stoically.
“Radha you can stay back, we are taking Arti along with us then,” Sangeeta who now found confidence in Kavita’s plan, walked up to Arti and held her hand, indicating the changed status.
* * *
“I still feel we came uninvited. Kavita must have been looking forward to this,” Radha spoke into Sangeeta’s ear in the car.
Of course Kavita could hear her but then she chose to overlook.
Sangeeta only laughed to dismiss the talk.
“Mumma there is a thing I want to ask you both,” Arti’s question spun both the women’s head who felt the age old photograph might be picked up.
They didn’t even dare to look in her direction thinking perhaps that might defuse the situation.
“And we have reached,” it was Kavita’s booming voice in the car which averted the issue.
* * *
Radha and Arti were alone in their room now. Radha was busy unpacking the suitcases. They had only a couple of hours to rest, the jungle safari would start by late evening.
“Mumma I have a question,” Arti suddenly asked.
“Yes beta,” Radha answered sweetly. In the vicinity of their room with just the two of them she could answer any question of her daughter no matter how awkward.
“Mumma does Sangeeta aunty like women? Is she you know,” Arti stopped short from completing her sentence.
Neither of them spoke, the silence absorbed the entire room.
“A lesbian?” Arti finally said the dreaded word.
For a few seconds Radha was transported to that night when a shorts clad Sangeeta had candidly told her that she was a lesbian. The simplicity of her acceptance about the orientation was thoroughly mirrored in her comfort but inside Radha’s mind there had been an explosion.
And then things had changed, Radha had started to realise that being a lesbian was probably a more comfortable thing. Women are truly an interesting companion for many including women themselves. Radha had found herself a changed person with Sangeeta. She was much more happy and confident. She never felt judged for her age, looks or even marital status. Under a man’s perverse eyes she always found these aberrations inside her.
But then did that have to do with the fact that Sangeeta was a great human being or that she was a woman? All these fourteen years Radha thought about this one single question. The complexity of this answer never quite left her. Was she comfortable around Sangeeta because of the human being or the gender?
But yes returning to the question at hand, her daughter of thirteen years is waiting for some answers. How much is the truth of such things relevant?
“Why do you ask honey?” Radha asked her quite sweetly.
“Mumma I saw them kissing,” she replied scandalously.
Radha didn’t know what hit her more, the fact that Arti saw or the fact that Radha had to hear it.
She mulled over it for a while. A lot was already done, the impression was made in Arti’s mind. Now probably the handling of her queries was left.
“Yes darling she likes women. She is a lesbian. But does that change how you see her?” Radha spoke softly.
to be contd. at “Will you not judge me?”-Part 22
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