Fiction: Jema’s Daddy

Nilamadhab Kar

It was unusual for Sinu, but he got up early in the morning, showered and searched in the wardrobe, then a trunk. He picked up a coat, a really old one and put it on.

‘Are you going somewhere?’ Raj, the milkman was surprised.

‘No, today is Jema’s birthday. She would come. I have to wait for her. So I am just getting ready.’

The coat did not fit his small frame anymore; he was almost drowned in it.
It’s more than 12 years now, since divorce. Jema was sitting in his lap, when the judge gave the verdict. He tried hard, so also his lawyers, but judge was clear, ‘Jema would stay with her mother.’ His ailing health and all the planted stories by Mita’s lawyers did not leave any chance. To their pleading, the judge softened, ‘Jema can decide when she is 18.’

Mita, pulled Jema away from his lap. Jema was crying uncontrollably. She did not want to go with her mom. The whole situation was overwhelming for a little girl. Sinu was numb, Jema was looking back to him, crying, extending her hand towards him. Jema’s face disappeared soon amongst the crowd there. It was all over in a little while, Mita and Jema had gone from his life. That was the last time, he saw Jema.

It was clear, in few days, Mita moved to Bangalore, with her boyfriend. There was no connection, no news. Sinu wished to know about Jema, but did not have any scope. Grapevine had it, Mita moved abroad after remarriage, but that was that. Sinu did not have the inclination or interest to know.
He just missed Jema, a little daughter, who was everything to him. A friend, who was almost acting like his mother! Not a day has gone by in all these years, without spending time with her album; and checking her toy box. He still hears her cry, not to go with her mom and sees her face, again and again. He sees these in dreams and gets up often, trembling.

When she left, all these years back, Sinu was scared how would he survive; he was wishing just to be able to live on somehow, till he sees her again. With his illness the hopes were fading even then. He surprises himself, how he has moved on, all these years without her; maybe just waiting for her.
Fathers do not leave children midway; they wait till they are able to fly away and high. So he was waiting. He was definite, Jema will come. Today is her 18th birthday!

He stood before the mirror, tried to set his few remaining grey hairs again and polished the beard. It was almost white. He looked so old in these 12 years, as if his age has doubled. He brushed the dust off his coat; it is the same coat he wore on that day in court. It still had Jema’s head scarf in its pocket. He looked at the clock. It had not moved much. Standing behind the window curtain he waited, looking at the road.

He was certain, Jema will come.


  1. mahapatra. anupkumar 5@gmail.comJanuary 4, 2020 at 10:17 AM

    Nice & heart touching.

  2. Good touching story and connecting readers with the characters.

  3. Nice one. The readers want to know whether jema came.

  4. Waiting for part 2. Whether Jema came or not.


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।