DEAR MOM

Dear mom,

I have never written about you. I have written about girls I have liked but never written about you. So here I sit down and type this letter just for you, dear mom. Although I don’t have clear memories of my early childhood and never asked you if it was easy for you to give up your job as a nurse to look after me, to take care of me, help me grow up, I thank you for that. It may have been a difficult decision for you to make I assume, but you still did it for me. Women are hardly asked about the effect of quitting their jobs to care for a baby or look after the family. It is expected of them, so much so that in certain cases if the newlywed wife doesn’t intend to give up her career she is criticized unfairly by others. Of course, things are changing in the present times but men are never expected or asked to give up their careers to bring up a son or daughter. You were so practical and did it anyway just for me so that I could receive your love from the moment I was born.

Mom, we don’t talk much. I mean at least when I compare with my friends talking to their mothers I don’t think we talk much. But I tell you things I would never have the courage to tell dad. I tell you about the girl I like, about the time I went to meet her. You ask me if we watched a movie and I say “no, no”. And I always feel very happy when you ask me to get KFC’s zinger burger whenever I go to a mall. Can I tell you something more? I have many close friends who are women, and also if I wanted to have a sibling it would be an elder or younger sister. Perhaps it’s the way in which women-kind can empathize and sympathize that makes them such amazing people, whom one can easily confide in, and talk about most things under the sun without being made fun off. I have guy friends too who share this trait but they are a rarity.

You know the one thing which is so underappreciated and equally undervalued is the immense hard-work you put in maintaining the home and family. It might seem that you are duty-bound to do it but the commitment and perseverance you show is just unbelievable. I have seen you washing clothes early-morning during the winters, do the dishes, when dad and I either just sit in front of the television or doze-off. I have seen you enthusiastically waking up early to prepare breakfast so that dad can go to the office and I can go to school on time, even though you might be running a fever. You never have any designated days as holidays. Dad has off days at work. I have off days as a student. But you never have. I heard you saying once “we women never have a day off”. I didn’t understand it then but now I do. Especially after you fell ill last Christmas and I had to help out dad with the household work. I realized how effortlessly you do the entire body of work without complaining about your grievances. I know I have let you down, by not providing more help in maintaining the house and share the chores to reduce your workload. But I intend to work on it. Men have so-called “more important jobs” and women are left to do the “unimportant, menial tasks”. I don’t think anymore that women do unimportant tasks. Their contribution is as important and sometimes even more as the husband’s or the son’s. I have to make sure that you have holidays too and that we share the household workload more.

Mom, I love your liking for water-less puchkas and excitement for an occasional “yum-yum chili-chicken”. I love your eyes lighting up for steamed-momos, rosgollas and misthi-doi. I love the sweet mango pickle, our “jelly-pickle” you make during the summers and the kheer you make whenever I return home for holidays. I get so delighted when you prepare “tikhil-asma” and “bairka-asma” and our favorite, though tasteless yet very fulfilling “thappa-roti”. I miss the “osa-dishes” you made when I was small. I used to love mushrooms at that point of time. I miss our walks back from primary school. Mom, you know what quality of yours I love the most. Well, it isn’t just one. It’s your humility, your perseverance, your silent sacrifices without ever making a big deal about it, your quiet stillness and calm amidst all chaos, the way you stay calm and brave even during earthquakes when dad gets all panicky and scampers out of the house like a rat. We both know about that. I have grown up to be a bit like you, mom. I definitely look like you and I have some of your qualities, though not up to your level but I am working on it. And I have so much more to say and write but I will stop here now. I know words are never enough and I don’t say this enough but I love you, mom.

SAY – ONE LINE ABOUT YOUR MOM

Today, on the occasion of International Mother’s Day, I asked few of my friends and family members to say one line about their respective Moms and I received quite a number of responses which I recorded as under:

The most disciplined and systematic women and she is a workaholic.

Can be a lioness when she wants to be, protective and fierce.

She’s the one who truly care…

She is an epitome of Love, Care and Selflessness. She is my Mother.

She’s the most patient, persevering and selfless woman I’ve ever seen and I hope I can be the same at her age even when life has given her so many hardships…

Mother: She maps her esse inside our bones and tissues, knowing and feeling everything even when she is not around.

She is a fighter.

A lady who strives to walk in the way of the Lord – treading the path with sacrificial simplicity, firmness of purpose and an extreme level of God-given power of endurance.

Mother is God personified.

My mother is a peace of heaven. She has spun her life around me. She revolves and rotates around me. I fall, she picks me up. I fail, she lifts me up. She’s my everything. I know that’s more than one line. But I can’t summon her up in a whole volume.

Hardworking and generous.

I spell my mother’s name as I-N-V-I-N-C-I-B-L-E .

Soft n tough… 😘

She is my love and my superhero, my strength and my weakness, my world.❣

She is my friend, my confidant and my go to person in all circumstances.

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of the God is the heart of my mamma.

She’s the most sacrificing mom in the world.

My mother is a simple-hearted, hard-working lady, whose ability to stay calm and face adversities is amazing, and her quiet ways of expressing love understated. She inspires me to be humble, thankful to God and remain grounded.

Next to God🤗

Inspiration to many 😌

Hardworking.

I wish I could be as nice, hardworking and energetic like her.

My mom is someone who has helped me to fight with my problems alone and has made me to learn to lean on God for everything…

Innocent.

The backbone of my mind.

Whenever I pray, Its my mother who listens and grants my wishes!

One who unites the family and one who always puts someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of her own.

Hardworking and God fearing.

My mother is, the most loving, caring, crazy and weird best friend of my life. No one has ever got close to her.

Whatever i am today,its only because of the wonderful mother that God has blessed me with.😊 Even thousand lines wont be just enough to describe the worth of our mothers.

Whenever I count my Blessings, I count my Mummy twice.

Wow! I was overwhelmed with emotions after reading those lines about all different lovely Moms.  Some even tried to treat their Mom as their god though God is supreme and incomparable to any human. I can feel their emotions towards their mothers. They were all adorable.

But I had received few negative replies as well from those who didn’t have great experiences with their Moms. Some were treated bad by their moms. Some have never seen their moms. Some moms have left their children alone to suffer for their selfish motives. Some Moms have left their children forever in tears and grief. I understood their hearts and pain as well. I can understand it more as my wife’s Mom had also left her when she was just five years old. It is truly very painful. I remember one verse from the Bible in this regard which I would like to share for the encouragement of those who are troubled today:

And the Lord said:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
As a mother comforts her child,
    so will I comfort you

What comforting words!

Mothers are the greatest blessings that we all children can enjoy but remember God assures us that He can gather us as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings when things are not going well with us.

Stay cozy with your Mothers and give them the best possible treatment today and everyday!

Stay Blessed!

FEAR OF BEING BLAMED

Lately life has taught me a lot in ways that I wouldn’t prefer.

It was 14th Feb, while everybody was busy wishing Valentine’s day to their loved ones – I was sitting in the hospital with my 3 year old son who had 103 degree fever. Unaware of what is causing the recurrent fever spikes, I was getting really tensed. He has had on and off cough since almost a month which I was not able to get rid of. I thought I had tried all possibilities to get rid of his cough but little did I know what lay ahead.

After 3 hours in the hospital I was in the doctor’s room. With the X-Ray report on her screen, the doctor looked at me seriously and said he has lung infection. We need to start him on antibiotics immediately. I was shocked. Lung infection? Again? Why? I had done all that the previous doctor had told me. What did I miss? He had a serious case of pneumonia when he was 1.5 years old and now again when he was 3. What did I do wrong?

Well 2 days of antibiotic did no impact on the infection. We had to admit him for 3 days. I cried to my pillow like crazy on the second night. Not just because I was worried but I felt horrible that I could not take care of him enough. It was only me and Joey on the third day in hospital because all other family members had to go attend a family wedding (which I and my son missed because of this unwelcomed infection).

When we came back from hospital, his immunity had dropped considerably. I had to leave my dog at the dog care center because animal hair would make his situation even worse. I called in Aastha to stay with me for those few days till my family would come back and she was a great help. He seemed to get better in a couple of days and I restarted his school – scared and worried.

Though things were getting back to normal, a couple of weeks later we visited a pulmonogist because it is not common for 3 year old to get pneumonia twice. I was literally hoping that he doesn’t give me any bad news regarding the anatomy of his lungs. He did not. But he said something worse – you cannot ignore even a single cough after a case of pneumonia. He needs to eat healthy, avoid dust, no pets, no junk food. Well, all this is something a mother generally knows isn’t it? Where did I miss it? Why didn’t I take him to pulmonogist when his cough wasn’t going away with cough syrups or anti-allergic? Why did I wait for the infection to reach his lungs? Am I not educated enough or do I not have common-sense?

Well, these are the thoughts that run into my mind now and they kill me every day. But initially I blamed everything apart from myself to run into this situation. I blamed my husband for staying away from us, and everybody else in my support system for not taking care of him enough, my work for keeping me extra busy, the circumstances, the doctor who told me that it is common cold and will go away with cough syrups. It took me time to see that I was standing right in middle of all this and all fingers are pointing at me. Every time I would talk to anybody about it, I would try to get defensive and say “You know that doctor doesn’t know anything” or “You know ginger honey really doesn’t work on cough” or whatever.

It took me almost a month of misery to take the responsibility of the situation. And I know that I was fearing getting blamed for all this. Well the fact is that I could have avoided him a lot of pain and whether I get blamed or not – I need to take responsibility of it. The sooner I accept the responsibility, lesser is the fear of being blamed. Blaming others is always easy but that is just one way of not accepting the responsibility.

Like they say – life sometime teaches you a hard way, especially when you resist learning something.

IT WAS DADDY! NOT ME!!

This Monday evening, my daughter decides to have pizza. She wanted to go to a “pizza house” and dine in. I would like to pen down the conversation between my daughter and her daddy.

Anaya (my 3yrs old girl): “Daddy!!! I want to have a pizza.”

Daddy (my husband): “Okay, I will tell delivery uncle to get one for you!”

Anaya: “No daddy. I WANT to go to the pizza house.”

Daddy: “Why??”

Anaya (with a fake crying face): “I want to, daddy!”

So, her daddy takes her to the ‘pizza house’. At her ‘pizza house’, she goes directly to a table and sits and says, “I want to eat here daddy.”

Daddy: “But mommy and uncle are at home. They want to eat pizza too. We have to share.”

Anaya: “No daddy! I want it here!”

Daddy (tensed and confused): “But, mommy will cry and uncle too.”

Anaya (in a low sad voice): “Oh!!! Mmmmm okay daddy.”


Finally, they reach home with her pizza and he narrates this incident to me.

He adds, “What on Earth is a pizza house??”

She stood right next to her daddy while he was narrating and was eating her pizza.

I asked her, “You wanted to eat your pizza in the ‘pizza house’??”

She just nods yes.

I add (I make a sad and almost crying face and makes sure she notices); “Without mommy?” 

She looks at me, stares at her dad. It takes her just 30 seconds to decide. She then, points her finger at her daddy and says, “Daddy said”. 

My husband and I, we looked at each other with surprise. She knows how to blame shift.

Her daddy asks her, “What?? I told you to sit and eat there?”

She looks at her pizza and says, “Yes, daddy!” 

She had the cutest of expression and even though there was a lot of innocence, it wasn’t the right thing. She wanted to be the good girl and please mommy. She knew daddy could handle mommy, and everything would be fine. Even though her expressions and the entire situation was funny but I felt the need to make her understand, that it is okay, if she said so. It’s just a wish she had. I told her the same. I explained that she shouldn’t blame others for the things she did. It is a bad thing for a good girl. I hope she understands, remembers and implements it. Well, frankly, I thought of times when I blame shifted, just be safe and loved. I was reminded how I used to fight, just to prove that I wasn’t blame shifting. Even my daughter has seen me do that. I wondered, what if she has learnt it all from me. Am I guiding her in the right path? No, was the answer. 

I have come across a lot of families and blaming others, when they are being questioned, has been a common characteristic for all the different household. Knowingly or unknowingly, it just happens. May be not as frequent, but sometimes people just play that card. In my family, I have seen my mom being blamed for each and everything that goes wrong in our family. I see my mom blaming someone for a thing she couldn’t do. . Even my mom-in-law goes through the same. Sometimes I see myself doing, exactly the same thing. If I am sick and sad, I tend to blame someone for it and bring out my frustration.

There are situations where in a relationship, this blame game comes to play. One of them blames the other for the things that went wrong in their relation. Then the other person blames the former and vice versa and it goes on and on.  These are the things, kids see and learn. When into a relation, both persons are accountable for things they do for or towards each other, good or bad.  This point fades out and situations drift out of hand. Blaming others has always been an easy option. Moreover it keeps us safe, no matter if or how it jeopardizes somebody else’s character or affairs. 

Sadly, we never think of mending this kind of situation. It is so addictive, even though compromising. We don’t put efforts to correct our kids. We don’t explain to them that whatever happens to them is an outcome of what they did, and not because of any situation, person or thing. Whatever they do and the result of it is solely their responsibility. We have only become more intelligent in our work. We as of now blame lifeless elements, where the other person has no option but to just keep mum. For example, today I was asked by one of my brothers, about a task he has given me to do. It was done but wasn’t perfect. Even though I told him the truth, still I blamed my house chores for keeping me from finishing it. Somehow, it has seeped into us and is so deeply rooted that, we just can’t avoid it. Even if we can, we don’t. 

I will not urge you to let go. I will, but try and change myself. I will refrain from giving excuses and blaming others for things I have been doing. All my success and my failures are mine. It’s my efforts that contribute into making me a success or a failure. I will try and be accountable in situations as such. I will try to use my anger, fear, guilt and shame to build me in the correct way. I will not make me, stand in my way to success. I will try and be a good example to my kid and the society. I will try.

REGRETS HAVE NO VALUE – XIII

Nina got up, silenced the alarm. There was something unusual about this day, it was not the month end targets or lined-up meetings that were driving Nina like she was driven throughout all these years. Nina was not her usual self…she was happy.  Without wasting a second she got up and got ready.  Her packing was done.  She was sitting on the edge of the bed, rocking to and fro.  She could feel butterflies in her stomach as she was waiting for the call from the Reception to inform her about the arrival of the cab.

That period of 10-15 minutes seemed to be ages to her.  And finally her wait was over as phone rang, “Ma’am, your cab has arrived”, the receptionist informed her.

And within five minutes Nina had checked out and was in the cab.  The trip started and her journey too for she was finally taking a step forward, a step little closer – driven by her emotions which had been hibernating within her for so long.  Throughout her journey her past rallied in front of her eyes but surprisingly only the beautiful images from the past – fond memories were marching.  It was nothing less than an amusement for Nina herself because she was habituated to recall only the dark days which unfortunately outnumbered the joyous moments.

She was lost and a sudden brake brought her back to the present. “We have reached Madam”, said the driver looking at Nina through rear view mirror.  “Oh! Thank you”, said Nina with a jerk as if she was completely unaware and someone was physically trying to bring her back to her senses. She got down and the driver helped her with the luggage that was resting in the rear of the car. She thanked him again with a gentle smile, made the payment and turned towards her home.

She rang the doorbell and Sathya opened the door. “Diana Di… Nina Di has come”, she loudly informed the family while taking her luggage in with a smile. “Everyone is at the dining table”, Sathya guided Nina towards the dining room.

It was lunch time. Riya and Kiara like any other kid, were throwing tantrums to finish their meals and on seeing Maasi entering the room they got charged up as usual.

“Maasi, Maasi” they were erupting with joy and were about to get off the table,  but were suddenly stalled by a booming voice – “No! Don’t you girls get off from the chairs before finishing your lunch. Even Maasi won’t entertain that”, said a stern Diana.  Nina was enjoying this scene – the cute faces were hell-bent on making her laugh, a hearty one but she controlled because she didn’t want her sister to lose control over her kids as a mother.  That was important.  She went to them, sat on her knees between chairs with her hands rested on chair arms. “My little angels, you must listen to your mom because she is the best and a best mom will always want her angels to be the best and to be the best you have to finish this yummy lunch prepared by your mom. What say?”, Nina waited for their response.  “But Maasi we like capsicum only on pizza not in the curry, it’s not so good”, they replied with frowns.

“Hmmmmm, ok finish your lunch – then we will go to the amusement park this weekend and there we will have capsicum….”, she paused to catch the reaction on their faces.  They were staring at each other as if asking each other, “what is she trying to say?” then she concluded “….on pizza as you like!”

“Yay”, giggles and cheers followed, and the girls did resume this important task called eating 😀.  Diana thanked Nina with a nod.

“I shall leave now and see Ma”, Nina seemed to be in a hurry.

“Yes Di, but please have lunch first, she is sleeping anyways”, replied Diana.  Nina refused and said that she would have it later.

“Seems Maasi also doesn’t like capsicum, see mom”, giggled Riya. She was instantly hushed by Diana whereas it left Nina smiling more brightly as she made her way to see her mom.  Her sister’s family was a replica of a family she always dreamt of.

She reached the hospital.  She went to her mother’s room and slowly opened the door and saw from the gap. Her mother was lying with closed eyes.  She carefully entered the room so as not to disturb her and sat on the chair beside her.  She was carefully looking at her mother. Her face once very beautiful, had gone through the test of time and now lay parched and wrinkled. Staring at her mother, in no time she was engulfed in a tide of emotions which found its exit through her eyes and a drop landed on her mother’s hand.  Nina quickly wiped her tears and was about to wipe it from her mother’s hand too.

The moment she touched her, her mother woke up. “Nina” and before she could say something else “sorry Ma, sorry to wake you up” there was some kind of restlessness in Nina’s voice, pretty much the same she had in her childhood.

“It’s okay beta, I was anyways about to wake up”, mother said calmly trying to get up.  Nina lent her support and adjusted her bed in an angle comfortable for her and asked “Ma, shall I bring some tea for you?”

“No, I don’t want anything, please sit with me.  It’s been really long since I saw my doll. In fact had lost hope of seeing you in this lifetime for all the bitterness I had shown”, her voice nearly choked.

“Ma, it’s okay, please calm down. In fact I am sorry for being so rude and not being there when you needed me”, she clasped her hands and was trying to calm her mother.

“See Nina, perhaps I shall be the one who should be seeking your forgiveness because you only gave what you got, how could that be your fault my child?”, said her mother as if absolving Nina for whatever she did.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

“Ok Ma, let’s stop this here because whatever we say now we won’t be able to change our past. So we should better look forward for a new beginning together.” So saying, she laid her head in her mother’s lap.  She felt the warmth of her lap and when her mother’s hand caressed her hair she almost broke down.  Had it been on the day when she was injured, things would have been so different but nonetheless no regret from either side would change anything.

After gathering her composure, her mother asked her many things.  Where she had been all these years, what she had been doing, who took care of her and so on. Nina answered everything as if she had met a long-lost friend.

“Is there anyone in your life?”, her Mom asked softly.

But this one question made Nina pause and literally took her into a trance.

 

REGRETS HAVE NO VALUE – XII

Hospital chores kept both Nina and Diana busy. Nina took a month’s leave from her work. It was quite evident, as she had reconciled with her mother after years of separation since she left their home at Mysore and went to Kolkata in search of a living of her own.

Itwas not easy for Nina to handle the surge of emotions that engulfed when she forgave and reconciled with her Mom. But Kiara and Riya’s innocence, their beautiful relationships with their own mother and Diana’s encouragement made it easy for Nina. She and her Mom rarely spoke to each other or asked forgiveness from each other… they both simply kept looking at each other and holding each other’s hands to let the loving communication flow between them. Nina was aware that her Mom was sick and she should not be made too much emotional. Thus, she kept herself away from her mother, locking herself inside the washroom to breakdown and weep vehemently. Diana was wise and let Nina weep as much as possible without interruption but she kept a close watch on her sister all the time.

A week passed by… Diana’s husband Shekhar came back from his tour. Nina had never met him before. She found him to be quite an amicable man and she was happy for her sister’s beautiful family. It was a family time in the hospital that day as all were there together in their Mom’s room before they were scolded by the doctor for making the patient hyper. They apologized and came out of the room but their Mom started to recover by leaps and bounds in the midst of her family, especially in the presence of her long lost daughter, Nina.

It was a Saturday morning. Diana came from home with her family and asked her sister to go home with Shekhar and the children as she wanted to stay with Mom during the day time. Nina was also tired as she was with her mother the whole night. She agreed and went back with Shekhar and the children after lunch in the hospital canteen around 12 P.M.

That day after visiting her home and then meeting Mom the next morning, Nina didn’t book any hotel room for herself anymore. She decided she will stay in her parents’ house, her ‘Home’. She was pleased with the fact that Shekhar had agreed to stay at his in laws and take care of Mom. Diana had literally taken care of everything which she would have done if she were there with her Mom. Moreover, it was only because of her, Diana came to Bangalore to meet her from Mysore leaving Mom alone with Sathya. Diana stayed back for a night in a different hotel along with her children only to spend some more time with her, and that was the time Mom got sick. Only she knew how she had driven that day from Bangalore hotel to reach the hospital in Mysore. A three-hour journey seemed a day!

She thanked God in her heart, closing her eyes thinking about all that had happened a week before, sitting in the backseat of the car.

“We are home Di…” Nina heard Shekhar saying and nodded at him. She smiled looking at two sleeping beauties sitting beside her. She pinched their bums to wake them up and they got up giggling, pinching back at their Massi. Nina went inside and rested for some time. In the afternoon around 2 P.M., she informed Shekhar that she needed to go to Bangalore for a night to bring her belongings from the hotel and would be back the next day. Shekhar booked a private car for her so that she could keep it till she returned from Bangalore.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

Nina reached Bangalore around 5 P.M. and got down at a mall on the way to her office asking the driver to park the car. She went straight to the ladies section in the mall to buy few clothes and other things as she hadn’t brought enough clothes with her when she came from Kolkata. 

While shopping, a soft pink and white frilled frock hanging inside the glass showcase of another shop caught her attention. She quickly walked inside that shop and asked for that frock. She was thrilled to see that beautiful frock imagining Riya and Kiara in it. Without any delay she asked for another piece of the same frock but unfortunately the salesman denied her saying, “Ma’am, I am really sorry… We had only two pieces of the same design and…”

Before he finished saying Nina interrupted saying, “Then give the other one too… I want to buy for two girls… they will look so beautiful in them.” She excitedly gave a delightful glee to the man.

“No… Ma’am, I am afraid I can’t do that… The other one is already booked by another lady here…” And he said showing towards a lady standing a little ahead of her in the same counter.

“Oh! Then I should drop this one as well… Do you have similar kind of frocks so that I can take two of them?” She asked feeling disappointed.

“Yes… we have…” The man said and displayed many such frocks in front of Nina but only to her utter dissatisfaction. She didn’t like any one of them. She sighed and started to walk off the shop when she heard someone calling from behind… “Hello…  Ma’am… Listen…”

Nina turned her head and looked back to find a beautiful lady smiling at her holding the same frock in her hand. She looked at her intently as her face seemed very familiar to her… But she could not recall anything about the lady.

“Please take this one Ma’am… I have only one daughter and I can take some other frock.” The woman replied.

Nina’s face glowed in gratitude towards the woman as she walked back smiling, “Thank you so much… I know I troubled you… But I really want to take these two for my two fairies…”

“I thought so as you pleaded for two such frocks…and I am sure your daughters will look very pretty in those dresses.” She replied as she handed over the frock in the counter to be packed for Nina.

Nina stretched her hands and clasped the woman’s hands in hers and continued to thank her for the kindness… “No… No… They are my nieces, not my daughters… I am not married… But I really don’t know how I can thank you for what you did…” Nina paused a bit and asked again,  “But do we know each other… have we met each other before?” Nina asked with thoughtful eye brows.

“No… I’m Sorry… I’m afraid I don’t know you Ma’am… Probably you must have seen someone like me.” The pretty woman replied to her.

And as they kept talking to each other, they walked out of that store towards the cafeteria. Both of their amicable attitudes established a new bond between them. To seal it they sat down for a cup of coffee talking about each other casually. Nina came to know that her husband is on a US tour and will be back only after two weeks and she came to know that Nina’s Mom was in the hospital. And she promised that she would visit Mysore to see Nina’s mom when her husband came back.

Before saying goodbye to each other they shared their phone numbers and names…

“Nishhhhaaa…?” Nina thought about the name as her driver drove the car towards her hotel. She had gone through so many emotional upheavals that she could not really recall anything significant, but she was extremely happy that evening meeting that wonderful lady whoever she was… She had her dinner after reaching her hotel room and went into a peaceful slumber till the alarm screeched piercing her ears the next morning.

REGRETS HAVE NO VALUE – XI

Nina and Diana returned from the cafeteria. They were seated outside their mother’s room in the hospital. Suddenly Nina got up from her seat and opened the window to take a glimpse. She was greeted by the soft cool breeze. The busy streets, whimpering kids, the local market and funny haggling moments caught her attention. 

Meanwhile, silence reigned between the two sisters. Nina was so lost watching her hometown from that window that she didn’t realize it was past 7 pm. “Di, I’ll stay back tonight with mother. You must be tired, you should take rest and freshen up”, said Diana breaking the silence. Nearly startled, Nina couldn’t make sense of what Diana had just said. “Sorry, I didn’t get you. I’ll what? Ca..Can you please repeat,” Nina fumbled. “Its ok… I was just saying I’ll stay back tonight, you should go and take rest,” said Diana, secretly smiling to herself. “No. Kids need you, take them and go home, I’ll be here,” Nina replied in one breath. 

Diana and the kids left shortly. Nina felt deserted! She thought of sneaking into the room to take a glimpse of mother. But she hesitated. After a vigorous tussle inside her, she finally opened the door and went in. She saw her mother was taking deep breaths, she was clearly uncomfortable while breathing. But she felt blank inside. “Why can’t I feel anything? Have I turned into a stone?” Nina whispered to herself. Nina extended her hand and touched her mother’s forehead. “Excuse me Ma’am, visiting hours are over. Please wait outside; don’t disturb the patient.” Nina got startled when the nurse chipped in. “Yea..yeah sure. I’ll wait outside”, Nina replied to the nurse. 

Nina got seated outside and she was observing other patients, nurses, doctors, ward boys, their way of talking, their psyche… all seemed busy and were walking hurriedly. As night progressed, Nina felt her consciousness ebbing away, and a warm blanket covering her. Her eyes felt heavier and she leaned against the wall and drifted off. 

Diana, on the other hand was tensed. She couldn’t sleep… she kept tossing left and right on bed. She had called Nina twice, but it went unanswered. She thought of going out but then who would look after her kids. Unending thoughts stormed her head. “I think she must have dozed off,” Diana concluded finally. That was the longest and hardest night for Diana.

Next morning, light breeze and soft golden sun rays filled the corridor and along with it sneaked in a bumble bee. As Nina was sitting near the window, the bee happily buzzed near Nina’s ear then went to nose, and then from nose to ear and it continued. As a result of the continuous buzz, Nina woke up. She angrily waved her hand trying to shove the bee away. She checked her phone, “ten missed calls!”, Nina shrieked! She immediately called Diana. “I…I don’t know how I had dozed off, I couldn’t take your calls, everything okay at your end?” , said Nina. “Yes, things are fine here. I wanted to know how things were at your end?”, replied Diana. “I’ll reach in an hour”, said Diana and hung up. 

Nina grabbed a cup of coffee as she waited for Diana. As she was strolling down the corridor she heard Kiara and Riya scream, “Good morning maasi”. “Good morning, my honey buns”, replied Nina hugging and cuddling them. “I think you should go and get refreshed”, Diana interrupted them. “No, not now, after doctor examines her”, said Nina firmly. “Doctor will be late, so you go and get refreshed”, chipped in Diana. 

Nina left hesitatingly. She drove hurriedly in search of a small hotel that she thought to book for few days but came to a bumping stop at the signal as the signal changed from green to red. She took a deep sigh of relief. As she glanced to her right, she saw a scantily clad child whimpering and asking her mother to take her home. The word “HOME” rung deep into her ears. As the signal turned green she drove homewards. Part of her was hesitant but the other part was longing to have a glance at her home. With mixed feelings she rang the doorbell. Sathya gasped! “Didi,..yu..you have come home” Sathya couldn’t believe her eyes. Nina just smiled and went in. “Breakfast is ready, you freshen up, I’ll….” Sathya turned to Nina and saw that she went inside the house, room to room, hurriedly, touching the walls, windows, doors, taking a keen look at the interior décor. Nina was amazed to see the interior décor was exactly the way she liked. She was clean bowled by the symmetrical alignment of things as per her choice. At last she entered her parents’ room. She gave a quick glance and turned to leave, just when her eyes caught notice of a tin box which was covered with dust from all sides except the top part. It seemed strange to her. Still, she turned to leave but she changed her mind and turned towards the box. With much difficulty she grabbed the box and opened it. To her surprise, the box was full of Nina’s childhood dresses, toys, and… several gifts neatly wrapped along with a letter. When Nina saw all this she didn’t know how to react. From the handwriting she knew it was her mother. Those gifts and letters were for her birthday. She opened and read the letters. Nina noticed all the letters had a similar conclusion which read as, “I am very sorry dear Nina. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I never did. I love you a lot, but I have failed to express my love for you. If possible forgive me.”  Nina was dumbfounded. She didn’t know how to react. She got alert by Sathya’s presence and immediately told her, “I’m coming, you go.” Sathya left. 

Nina rushed to freshen up, gobbled up the breakfast and left for the hospital. Puffing and panting she reached the third floor and nearly dashed against Diana. “Ouch!” cried Diana. “Sorry, I didn’t see. What did the doctor say?”, inquired Nina. “Di, calm down, reports are good and mother is recovering, but she is still weak so we cant proceed with the chest scan now. Doctor has advised to follow a strict timing of her meals”, Diana said assuring Nina. After a while when the nurse came with breakfast, Nina volunteered, took the food and went inside. Nina saw mother’s eyes were still closed. She began caressing her head softly and after a while she opened her eyes. Mother saw Nina sitting in front of her. She didn’t believe it and closed her eyes. Again after sometime she opened her eyes and again she found herself looking at Nina! “I think I have started hallucinating!”, mother thought. Third time when she opened her eyes and found Nina still sitting beside her, she was about to close her eyes and turn away her face, just then, Nina said, “I am very much sitting here”. Her mother didn’t blink her eyes; she was just looking at Nina. She just gazed at Nina. Nina gazed back. Not a word was exchanged, but still everything was understood. After a while her mother pointed towards water. Nina gave her the glass but she was unable to drink from it. So Nina gave her water in spoon. It seemed each spoon of water that Nina offered, bridged each of those distances that had distanced them. Silent and heavy tears flowed down from their eyes. Neither of them turned their face away, neither of them blinked. But silence spoke louder than words that day. Nina could feel, her mother wanted to sleep. So she patted her mother and she fell asleep in no time.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

Nina went out of the room. She felt nauseated as a dense cloud of mixed feelings engulfed her. With several thoughts, Nina absent mindedly sat on the edge of the seat, as a result of which Nina had a great fall and found herself kissing the floor. Squeals of laughter greeted her. “Maasi fell down, maasi fell down”, yelled Riya. Kiara joined her. Kiara and Riya threw themselves on Nina and all had a hearty laugh. 

First time after years, Nina caught herself laughing from the bottom of her heart. Nina recalled the words of Victor Hugo, “laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”