Ram pushed open the door and barged into the room complaining about his brother at the top of his voice. Without lifting my head, I pointed to the board kept prominently on my study table and continued writing. Do Not Disturb, it read. He fell silent immediately and tiptoed out, closing the door gently after him.
I had to pause in my writing and smile. It was the Rahul-effect. Yesterday, which was the first day of their summer holidays, Rahul, my darling husband had sat both of them down and explained why Mom should not be disturbed while writing. Our children loved their story books. So, Rahul told them that I was writing story books for grown-ups, and explained that if they wanted to read Mom’s books when they were older, they had to support me by letting me write in peace.
‘Is that why she stopped going to the office?’ Krishna had asked in his crystal clear voice.
He does not play the flute, my Krishna, but his voice is music and eyes full of mischief, like the original, I’d like to believe. Not to be left out, Ram the soulful-eyed one had chipped in too, in his serious know-all way of his (so what if he was younger of the two), pointing to the room where I usually sat,
‘That is her office!’ ‘You, brother, know nothing’ was the tone of his voice.
Soon I could hear declarations about how Mom would be their favorite author when they start reading her books. Naturally the next thing that followed was who would read the most books by Mom. The ‘Mom’ who hadn’t as yet written her first, thwarted the imminent quarrel by calling out to them all to come get their dinner much to the relief of ‘Dad’.
I quickly pulled myself back from my reverie, and putting pen to paper was lost to the world for the next couple of hours. Something seemed to jar on my nerves when I paused in my writing next and I realised it was the unusual silence. I hadn’t heard a door bang even once, or footsteps, or the theatrical whispers as they walked past the door of my study. Abruptly I pushed my chair back forgetting even to cap my pen. What were they up to?
Opening the door I found Shantamma on all fours mopping the sitting room floor. I hadn’t even heard her ring the doorbell. I seemed to have been oblivious to everything.
“Bache kaha hain?” I asked her a trfile anxiously.
“Padhai kar rahe hai, Amma” she replied. “Aaj itne shanth hai!” she added marveling.
A trifle alarmed, I peeped into their room. Both Krishna and Ram were busy scribbling. I heaved a sigh of relief. But they barely gave me a glance before going back to whatever it was they were writing.
“What’s up fellas?” I said plonking myself on the bean bag in their room. “Up for some snacks? I am done for the day!” That should get me noticed, I thought.
Krishna gave me a reproachful look. He pointed to the haphazardly scribbled note stuck to a piece of cardboard and propped on his table. I looked at it and my jaw dropped slightly. It said, ‘Do not Disturb’. To make things clearer Ram said in his know-it-all voice,
“Don’t disturb. We are writers.”
The prompt: Do Not Disturb