An emotional farewell (tag to Patrick)
Indra saw her daddy and ran to him. "Dahdee! Dahdee! Pick me up!"
"Hello, little one," he said, as he picked up his small daughter who at the moment was all smiles. "Where is your mama?"
"Mama inside........." She pointed towards the door.
It was not long before Lakshmi came out.
"I have come home to get some extra gear. We have a five day mission; it's no joke love. I am not in any trouble the colonel. He was lenient. Perhaps he thought the mission would keep me out of trouble for a while."
"Ha ha! Babuji, nothing can keep you from mischief!"
Though she tried to put on a light manner, Lakshmi felt a sudden spasm of fear in her gut. She always felt that way when Pahtreck went out on a mission. She knew that all the wives felt that way when their husbands went out on missions. It was just part of life, but that didn't make it easier to bear.
"I will get your gear, babuji." She knew where it was; she spent a lot of time making sure it was clean and serviceable.
It was not long before Patrick had his gear ready, so he said, "Bring me Victoria and Ranjit, please."
"Yes, of course." Lakshmi went and got the two babies, who were growing and getting heavier. Soon, she thought, they'd be taking their first steps.
"Alright, little one; will you be a good girl for dahdee while I am away with work?"
"Indra good girl for Mama......." She stood straight and put her right hand to her forehead, in an imitation of a salute.
Lakshmi, just coming out with the twins in hand, saw the gesture and smiled. If, she thought, Indra had been a boy, she would have grown up to be a soldier, like her dahdee.
"Thank you, little one," he said, as he kissed her. "Now let me say goodbye to the twins before Uncle Singh comes to pick me up."
He took his children up, in his arms. They were growing fast.
Lakshmi saw that the twins recognized Pahtreck. They cooed, contentedly, in his embrace. He kissed them and hugged them, then gave them back to Lakshmi.
"Pahtreck, please give me a kiss and a hug. I will miss you."
Meanwhile, Singh was approaching the gate to their bungalow. Seeing the family farewell activities, he paused. Let them, he thought, have their goodbyes.
When Pahtreck embraced her, Lakshmi couldn't deny her feelings. A few tears came down her cheeks. "Please be careful, babuji. We love you and need you. Come back, safe and sound."