They were our neighbours for two months now. In our kind of community, good neighbours are very hard to find. But here they were, sharing all festivals and other occasions with us. It’s like they did not have any other family and friends. Social rules have been changing very fast, from joint families owning farms on country side, now nuclear families are in fashion - families like ours. We generally trade our social interactions with our independence, obviously giving importance to the latter. Meeting like- minded people in such setting is nothing less than a boon.
There was a knock on the door. The couple was standing on the door with a suitcase packed in jiffy. They had to leave in a hurry due to some emergency and wanted us to take care of their daughter. We loved her, so we did not mind. Looking at the anxiety on their faces, we did not ask the expected duration of their absence. We did not have a kid so having her at home was a happy experience. We spent a lot of time with her. She was very curious and used to ask questions like why is her hair black while ours were blonde. She used to think that we sunbathed too much, that’s why it happened.
Everything was going great till about after two days she started calling us mom and dad. We felt weird but took it as innocence of a kid. She too us to her school and introduced us as her parents to her teacher. A week passed, we realised that we did not have contact number to our neighbours. So we tried to ask the girl about their whereabouts. She gave us weird looks as if she did not understand. She said that her parents have obviously not gone anywhere since we are her parents. We were now getting irritated. There was something eerie that night.
I was leaving for office when my eyes fell on the picture frame near the keyholder. It was a picture of me, my wife and …….. her!!!! I clearly remember that this was the photo we clicked a year back and till that time neighbours had not moved in. I kept staring at the picture as if trying to locate it in my memories. I shouted and my wife came running. I pointed at the picture anticipating that she will scream. She did not find anything unusual with the picture. I asked if she cannot see the little girl sitting in my lap. She was not supposed to be there. My wife looked at me questioningly and said that ofcourse she was supposed to be there since she is our daughter.
Right at that moment, the girl (supposedly our daughter) entered the room. Guess what was the colour of her hair????