It was 8.00PM when there was a knock on the door. It was time for Akash to return from work. He was a hard working guy, who worked nearly 15 hrs a day. Nisha, his wife was very understanding, she knew, all this hard work was for their family of 3. Both Akash and Nisha adored their 3 year old daughter, Ragini. Nisha never asked for a thing from Akash, Sunday was the only day, he got an off, and that he spent with his family, the other days, he was buried in work.
Only complaint Nisha had was his smoking habit. Akash was a chain smoker. He needed one in his hand, all day long. Every day, as soon as he came from work, he would sit on the couch, and Nisha would keep the ash-tray on the table. This was a daily routine. Anytime she asked him to quit, he gave work pressure as the reason. Though Nisha was sad about this, she dint pester him much as Akash was great as a person.
Months passed by, with the same routine. Ragini was being fed her favorite dinner that night, when the door bell rang at 8.00 PM. She rushed to the door to open it up for “daddy”. She felt short, as the latch was at the top end of the door, so her mom had to come to the door, to open it up. Akash was happy to see both of them at the door. He hugged Nisha and then picked up Ragini and gave her a peck on the cheek. He showed his cheek, so that she could return it. She first checked if her dad’s cheek was smooth enough and returned the sweet little kiss, on either side. He put her down, and Ragini ran inside, as if she had unfinished work. He laughed at her excitement, kept his bag on the chair, went to the couch and sat there. He saw Ragini, come out with the ash-tray, she kept it on the table. She then, caught hold of all the ruffles in her frock and moved away from the table, as if, otherwise it would catch fire. She went to her mother, to finish her food and then off to sleep.
Akash, couldn’t sleep that night. When Nisha woke up sometime in the middle of the night, she saw him at the balcony, smoking. She could sense some tension. She walked up to him, kept her hand on his shoulder. When he turned, she just smiled at him, indicating, she is with him and the tense moments would just pass away. All of a sudden, she saw tears in his eyes. She had never seen this in 5 years of their marriage. When Akash realized, he changed expression, he couldn’t be silent. He cried like a baby. All Nisha did at time, gave him the shoulder to cry on; no questions asked. After a while, Akash controlled himself and made a statement. “ I will quit smoking Nisha. I don’t want to see my daughter bringing that ash-tray on the table again”. Saying so, he switched off the cigarette he had in his hand.