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The car drove away just a few minutes ago taking Popples back to boarding school after his summer break. The house feels almost eerie. A strange weighty silence has engulfed us all. It will take time to fill it with the right ‘noise’! Agastya will miss his pal and big bro and Maam’ji will miss her Popples. At this moment we both are feeling lost. Even the favourite cartoon Doraemon could not weave its magic. Agastya just entered my office looking lost. As for me I tried to get back to work but could not.

For the past month the house was filled with the laughter and babble of these two young souls who though a world apart are the best of buddies. True there have been some small skirmishes but when two boys 7 years apart are together, these are par to the course. I must however acknowledge Utpal’s patience in handling Agy who can be quite a handful. From the time Utpal came home after his summer study camp, our lives evolved around these two boys. They went to a summer workshop in the morning, then there was skating in the afternoon and football and cricket in the evening in the neighbourhood park. In between there was an unending stream of games, both indoor and outdoor – in spite of the sizzling temperatures – and the house was abuzz with activity and wonderful energies. Lunches and dinner had to be planned according to the likes and dislikes of these two and playdates organised on weekends. All this was interspersed with some outings to malls and amusement parks. The one party pooper was of course as always the dreaded homework. I would have though that most of it would be finished in the summer study camp but to my utmost horror it was not the case.

Holiday homework is my bete noire, and Popples knows that this is where he can push me to the brink of despair. But as his counsellor said, I am the only one with whom he can take this liberty and this is also part of any relationship, particularly one as quaint and undefinable as ours. So I am the one who has be strong and understanding. Not easy when you see the amount of homework in front of you and your heart tells you to let it go. Yet, you have to listen to reason. We struggled through the innumerable tasks and did our best. I cannot say we finished it all as with a truncated summer holiday, I felt that Popples needed a break. I also wanted him to bond with Agy and the family as there is still a long and arduous way ahead for one who never lived within a real family. I just hope he will adjust, till then I will have to smooth over the edges!

Popples can be difficult at times and he has reason to be. I know I spoil him. I also appreciate those around me calling me to order as I understand that they have the best intentions. It is not easy. More so in a relationship that is so unique. I just hope I can live up to the expectations of one and all.

Agastya is going to miss his buddy. We will try and make as many visits to the school as possible, but when in school, Utpal has his own activities and rigid time table and it is hard to find the few crevices  when we can spend some quality time with him.

Love is never easy and yet so precious.

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To the manor born