Pieter's Bullet swerved down the highway like a golf ball rolling down a hillock. The thumps from the exhaust punctuated an otherwise silent night. He wasn't alone. There were three other riders with him. They had gone for a gig all the way from Goa. None of them were married except for Pieter. And Pieter right now had another huge burden in his chest. As he sat on the Bullet's modified saddle, the bike's thumps seemed to resonate with his own heart beats.
Donna was 8 months pregnant. The last time the Doc visited their place, he brought up the possibility of an early pregnancy. And now in this dark night, the only light illuminating their way being the hazy gold of the Enfields' headlights, the image of Donna writhing in agony with only Aunt Martha as her sole help was much too vivid for Pieter to bear.
They weren't married for long. Donna was already a month into pregnancy when they decided to tie the knot. A small event at the church with only their friends and Donna's parents. Pieter's parents passed away a long time back. It was in some friend's garage party that Donna and Pieter met first. And from then, their relation was amply aided by the greens. Grass, MJ, ganja, whatever you may call it; that was how they got to know each other. It was after their fifth spliff that sparks began to fly between them. And how! Floyd's deep riffs spread out over the whole garden where they first made out. And time stood still as their bodies snaked into each other. Each nerve trying to rub against the others' body, trying to generate a feeling that would send shivers down their bodies; again.
Quite coincidental then, that it was Floyd again that made Pieter take a brief hiatus from Donna at such a stage. Pieter had a small garage band thing going in Goa. And they had the chance to cover a few Floyd songs in a rather popular restaurant in Mumbai.
The gig was over now. And another 100 kilometers ahead, there were other screams that awaited Pieter. He shrugged all the thoughts from his mind. The road waned right and Pieter almost didn't see it. He closed his eyes shut for a second. When he opened it, only the road remained. Better somehow, than never.
"PIETER!!! How dare you leave her like this!!!"
Pieter hadn't even stopped his bike as Jojoes came running. SMACK. His fist connected sharply against Pieter's left cheek. Strong smell of feni surrounded Jojoes like an aura.
"Where is Donna?" asked Pieter as he rubbed his jaw.
"She's at Martha's"
"I don't think its come yet. But you better hurry."
Pieter ran. He jumped the makeshift compound wall and across the stretch of farmland that separated his house from Martha's. There was a dim light that came out of Martha's first floor bedroom.
"Donna?" Pieter asked the lady who waited at the front door. He hadn't seen her before.
"She's upstairs," replied the lady. "The baby must come any moment now. You better wait here though."
Pieter didn't expect this. Waiting like this is rather strange. It was possibly the most important part of married life. And he had to wait like an unwanted guest. He fished into his pocket and got out a small bent joint from his baggies.
And as soon he took the first drag, he heard an unmistakable cry from the first floor. He ran upstairs without thinking too much. The lady downstairs wanted to say something, but now was not the time.
He barged into Aunt Martha's bedroom on the first floor. And there he was. Still tied to his Mom through a cord.
"Ok. First question. He or she?" asked Donna as she laid sprawling on the floor, a joint in her hand.
"He," said Pieter.
"Hmm. Even I think it'll be a he."
"If you think it's a he, it's a he," agreed Pieter.
"What do we call him?"
"Bastard!" said Donna as she lazily kicked Pieter on his butt.
"What's wrong with MJ?" asked Pieter innocently.
"I have bad feelings about that name," replied Donna.
"You have something in mind? What about first parts of our name?"
"Peena?" shrugged Donna. "You think he will be a drunkard?"
"No. What about Dopey?" suggested Pieter.
"Dopey is a weird name."
"We are weird."
"Yeah. But still..."
"Let's get him some boring christian name for the church," interrupted Pieter. "But we will call him Dopey"
"Dopey..." repeated Donna, losing herself into the effect of the smoke. "It's kind of cute."
"Dopey. That's what we will call him."
"You enter this room with that?!?!?! What kind of a father are you????" shouted Aunt Martha pointing at the joint.
Pieter didn't realize he still had it. He took a drag and killed it with his shoes. Martha waved her hands in front of her face. Pieter looked at the baby again. Martha had cut the cord. Donna was exhausted and apparently asleep. He watched as the baby was cleansed and wrapped in a towel. Martha kept the baby next to Donna. And Donna stirred awake, her eyes hardly open. Pieter slowly moved towards Donna who now saw him. She had the ghostliest of smiles. He placed a hand over her forehead. She turned to the other side to look at the baby and then turned back to face Pieter.
"Take him," she whispered.
He turned questioningly to Martha. Martha nodded and turned to cleaning some vessels and clothes.
Pieter gently lifted the baby up. The baby hardly weighed anything to Pieter as he held it close to his chest.
"What do we call him?" asked Pieter.
"You forgot?" replied Donna.
"I thought we were joking that night."
"No. We weren't," said Donna. And she paused.
"He will be Charles Peter Marcoss," completed Donna.
Pieter's eyes dropped a bit.
"Charles Peter Marcoss for the church." continued Donna. "And Dopey, for us."
Pieter smiled. His eyes shone in the dim light as a tear or two sparkled in them.
"Our Dopey," repeated Pieter.
The gentle smell of the stubbed out joint lingered in the stuffy room. Somewhere on the floor, the joint was still burning, almost as if it wanted to witness this event. And it will keep burning, across all the major events of this small family's life -- Donna, Pieter and Dopey.