Shekhar wakes up that morning cramping. Some women, some people, don’t keep track of their cycles, forget and are ambushed. Uma is like that, a little.
Bharti, who runs their front office these days, just keeps tampons in her purse in case, because sometimes she goes months without and sometimes she has two within a fortnight of each other.
Doesn’t eat right, works too late, doesn’t take her vitamin and iron supplements. Shekhar’s never been like that. 19th of every month like clock-work, four days, mild to nonexistent pain.
Twenty years ago. These days the only cycle he tracks is Uma’s. Yajna when she’s at home sulks at high volume and demands chocolates and hot-water bottles and requires no tracking whatsoever.
He must have pulled a muscle somehow. Forty-two in a month, not young anywhere save politics. In the bathroom mirror he looks drawn, wrinkles around the deep-set eyes, grey near the temples.
Pain etched in. He spits the toothpaste foam out, rinses his mouth, caps the tube, and decides to take a bath before breakfast. It’s early yet, and the hot water will help.
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