THE AFTER EFFECTS

Ajay and Neelam had shifted to their new house.  Both had worked hard to buy their dream house. It was not a big one, but a comfortable one, even if they had guests. Their seven years old twins were equally excited.

THE  AFTER  EFFECTS

Ajay and Neelam had shifted to their new house.  Both had worked hard to buy their dream house. It was not a big one, but a comfortable one, even if they had guests. Their seven years old twins were equally excited.

"Mom, I'll decorate our room," said Riya enthusiastically.  

"I'll help her," added Riyaan and they ran in their room.

Their happiness was infectious. 

Their neighbours Mr. and Mrs.Sharma came to meet them.  They were middle-aged and seemed to be friendly and helpful.  They regularly came to ask them if they required any help. They were childless but also selfless.  Very soon they became fond of Riya and Riyaan.

Sometimes kids used to go to the Sharma's place.  But Neelam would immediately call them back.  After a few such instances, the Sharmas' looked a bit hurt.  

"Why do you do this Neelam ?" asked Ajay. "Why don't you allow the kids to play there for sometime ? They are childless and just want to express their love. They look very happy when they are around our kids."

Neelam kept quiet. 

When this happened regularly, Ajay took Neelam in one corner and said, "I know you're hiding something. Tell me. Why do you do this ?"

Tears welled up her eyes. "I was physically abused when I was a kid. I didn't know what was right or wrong at that time. So I'm just trying to be protective to our kids."

"What does that have to do with Mr. and Mrs.Sharma ?" Inquired Ajay.

"The person involved was my childless neighbour," sobbed Neelam.

Ajay was silent, trying to digest the facts.

After sometime, he said, "I can completely understand you.  Have you ever spoke about this to anyone ?"

Neelam shook her head.

Ajay said, "Sadly, in our society we never talk about this. Neither to the family, nor to friends.  

"First of all, you need to talk. You need to remove the burden of guilt from your mind. Then you'll be at peace with yourself, and be able to see the world at a fresh perspective.  Forgive yourself.  Love yourself.  And remember, good people do exist in this world."

"But we need to educate our kids about it," uttered Neelam who was still in tears.

"We will soon." Ajay continued. "But before that, I want you to come out of it. You will have to speak. I'm always there. But if you wish, we can also consult a psychiatrist."

"Give me some time. I'll speak," agreed Neelam.

The next week when the kids were asleep in the night, Ajay took Neelam to another room and persuaded her to talk.  With reluctance, Neelam related the incident to him. She cried her heart out. She felt light, as if a heavy burden was lifted from her heart.  Ajay comforted her with love.

The next morning, they made their children sit at one place and educated them. They seemed to understand quickly. 

Relieved, Neelam agreed to send her kids to the Sharma's house to play for sometime.

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