Blessed?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


Adaption of motherhood is taken often taken granted. Still, a woman should be practical enough to understand the consequences that may follow after being a mother.

Submitted: December 07, 2017

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Submitted: December 07, 2017

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Chapter 1

It was almost after a decade that she came to this place. Recalling memories of that locality pleased her as she started observing everything with a wide smile. Seeing those things on the road which didn’t change amongst the changed ones, gave her awed goosebumps. After walking for a while, she came to the central lawn of the area, which she charmingly saw and ran towards it. Her playing days were right there before her eyes. Jumping down the benches, the hide and seek games, plucking off flowers, memories of years just ran in a flash. She kept on walking in the garden because with every step, she recalled new memories, rejoiced it.

After walking for a while and reaching a place where some boys were playing, her eyes got onto an old man sitting on a far bench. She walked closer to his direction. As she got close, she recognized the man, he was her neighbor. Half her childhood was spent in his home with his family, playing, eating, everything. A big smile came to her face and she fastened her walk towards him. A few steps walked, she stopped. She observed that the man was in an awkward silence. Alone, the man was looking at the playing boys in a silently disturbed way. She even realized the attire-change of the man, a decade ago, he wore colors elegantly, but now, a white kurta and pajama.

Upon coming close to his bench, she excitedly called him, “Uncle!!!”, not showing anything she observed and felt of him. She could see a jerk in his eyes by her calling voice, perhaps shattering the deep layers of his thoughts. He turned his face to her and after seconds of seeing, he smiled, exclaimed, “Neha!”, and stood up out of gladness.

Uncle…”, she said, “I am Sakshi”.

Realizing her not being what he thought of, he felt dejected, the smile and excitement faded.

Sakshi?”, he asked.

Don’t you remember me, uncle?”, she said, “Mr. Singh’s daughter, B/101, beside yours

Yaa…”, he recalled, “Sakshi”, looked at her with a brought up smile, “I am so sorry, I thought…

Its okay”, she said and went on to touch his feet. He pleasingly put his blessing palm on her head.

She could see that the old man was going through something strange, as the way he talked and responded seemed abnormal.

So, uncle”, she said, intending to start a conversation, “How are you? Where is Neha and Rohan? And yes, how could I forget, how is my dear aunty!!!

Listening to those questions, all he could do was bringing a hard fought smile on his face.

What happened?”, she asked, sensing the strange silence.

With that smile still wore, he replied, “Your aunty died two months back”.

No…”, she said being shocked, got thoughtfully speechless for the coming minutes. With her wide perturbed eyes, she asked, “How, uncle?

’How’ isn’t important. ‘Why’ is”, he said, his stern eyes into some recalling.

Still shocked, she wasn’t able to respond. Knowing about the death and seeing the old man’s condition, she was dragged into a zone where she could feel the man’s agony and emotions through his grooving eyes.

I haven’t talked about her to anyone”, he said.

 “Then tell me, uncle”, she said.

Why do you want to know? Why does anyone want to know about the death of an old woman? Does anyone care?”, he said with a dispirited smile.

I care”, she said, “Aunty loved me like her own daughter. I still remember the love with which she used to make me eat my favorite dishes, which she herself prepared

Thank God”, he said, “at least there is someone who remembers her loving deeds”.

Don’t say that, uncle”, she said concernedly, “she was a lovely woman, and all she had was love in her, love for her family and care for everyone

He smiled hearing that, said, “Come, perhaps, you are the one I should share that. Will you have some tea?

 

Chapter 2

He kept the tray on the glass table and handed the cup to her. While stirring, she recalled the woman who was constantly running for the households. Cooking, readying children, packing tiffin, dusting and what not, but always with a smile. Neighbors, maids, everyone respected her for the character of love she possessed. She just believed in giving, taking was never in her nerves.

Sakshi was amidst these memories, the old man understood and let her be in it. As the memories got heavier, she closed her eyes. He saw this and smiled, as he could see the edges of her eyes with some moisture.

Back to present?”, he asked smilingly.

She opened her eyes and wiped it with the bent finger, “I miss her, uncle

I miss her too”, he said, “The journey of memories where you just came from, is my daily path, that is all I am left with

She again looked at the kitchen and said with a soft smile, “I still remember, she used to love putting radio on while cooking, even sang sometimes

Yeah…”, he too looked at the kitchen, “And I always irritatingly told her to lower the volume, to which she used to laugh

Uncle”, she said as she turned her face towards him, “What happened to her? Because when I left for New Zealand ten years ago, everything was fine

The previous decade”, he said while removing his spectacles, “is the one which changed everything”, and moved his eyes to a rocking chair beside him.

Why? What happened? And where is Neha and Rohan?”, she asked curiously.

They are in Germany, doing their jobs, living their lives”, he said.

Leaving you alone?”, she asked concernedly.

 Giving a sarcastic laugh, he answered, “Though half-heartedly, they asked me to join them, but I denied. They didn’t deserve anymore love or presence by our side

Why do you say that? What did they do?”, she asked.

Can I ask you something?”, he said, she nodded gently.

With a sigh, he thoughtfully said, “The children behind whom a woman passes her youth, behind whose upbringing she uses all her knowledge and mental strength, the children which is the only concern she possessed, what if they don’t even pick up her phone calls?

With her heart getting heavy, she asked, “When did they go?

Same year when you went to New Zealand. They went to Germany for graduation”, he said, “Their mother was so happy that her children will have foreign education, but what she didn’t know and realize was that the next time when she will meet them would be at her funeral

Did…aunty...herself…”, she asked with nervous pauses.

Facing that question, he again looked at the rocking chair beside him, caressed the wooden handle of it and said, “Not physically. Doctors may have called it depression, diabetes, but this was rubbish. I know that she herself demanded the departure

Thinking of the inner consequences which demand’s one’s own death, Sakshi could feel the cry reaching her throat. “This chair, is it aunty’s?”, she asked as she saw him caressing the chair again.

Yes”, he said, “after a couple of years, she never slept inside the bedroom. When asked why, she said it was suffocating. She spent her nights on this chair

But why on the chair?”, she asked.

To talk”, he said and looked at Sakshi again.

Talk? To whom?”, she asked, showing confusion.

Do you remember, there used to be a Lord Shiva’s photograph with a black wooden frame? On this wall”, he said while looking at the wall.

Which Rohan broke while playing? The one with brown sticking tapes around its corners”, she recalled and said.

 “Exactly”, he said, taking a sigh.

What about that photo frame?”, she asked.

He smiled and looked at her, “She used to talk to this photo

What???”, she asked shockingly, “What do you mean?

Yes, Sakshi. I have seen your aunty talking to it for hours”, he said, “But I always pretended that I am unaware about it

But…how could she…”, she said, continuing her confused shock, “Didn’t you talk about it to her?

Never”, he said, “I have seen her smiling and laughing sometimes, in between her talks with the frame. You tell me, how could I hinder the only moments when she smiled and laughed?

Uncle…,”, she said, “Do you believe she talked to Him?

I don’t know.”, he said while giving a head-shake, “All I know is that when your aunty was lying dead on this chair, she had a smile on her face and that photo in her lap. It was for the first time that the frame was off the wall. Perhaps, she took the frame and eventually the frame took her”.

Hearing it, Sakshi could feel her nerves jammed, refusing to get out of the woman’s thoughts. Out of nervousness and a bit fright as well, she asked, “Why do you say the frame, the God took her

The nights before she passed away, I heard her talks with the frame.”, he said, “Many times, she spoke about the prolonged hollowness of her from within and having no reason to continue breathing, which she couldn’t bear further”.

Recalling everything did bring tears to his eyes, but Sakshi could see his eyes battling those tears, refraining them to come out.

Both were silent, they couldn’t speak out of the running flashes of the woman. Sakshi recalled the happy woman who always cared about her children. The old man recalled the images of his wife sitting on the chair and talking to the photograph in the room filled with darkness.

Amidst this silence, Sakshi’s phone rang, which brought both of them to present. Taking her phone out of the purse with heavy heart beats, she talked over the call, “Yes, I will be there in the hospital within half-an-hour” and ended the call.

Hospital?”, the old man asked, “Is everything okay?

Yes, uncle”, she said. Taking a pause, she said, “Do you know why I have come to India again?

You didn’t tell me, Sakshi”, he said smilingly.

Uncle”, she said, “I have not told the real cause to anyone, but I am sharing with you, because I feel I need to talk out

Sure”, he said concernedly, “go on…

Taking a sigh, she said, “Uncle, I am infertile. I have come here to treat my fertility issues, far from the knowledge of my family in New Zealand

Oh!”, he said being dismayed, “I am sorry hearing that

Its okay, Uncle”, she said, “but can I ask you something?

Of course”, he replied.

I know giving birth to a new life is a physical process,”, she said, “but what happens after that, why does parents’ life is nothing but caring and worrying about their children?

Ha-Ha…”, the man laughed short and then said, “I don’t know the answer, girl. This is a question God should be answering, because this question and its answer is reason behind my wife’s death as well

Yes, I know”, she said, “What happens such that your own life has no value to yourself, everything you think about is children

Nature! God’s conceptual science may be! That is the only answer I have, Sakshi. But something happens which just make parent’s forget even themselves. Child’s health, happiness and wellbeing becomes the only life goal”, he said, smiling softly. Looking at her again, he asked, “Do you really want this feeling?

I don’t think so”, she said, holding her bent forehead, “This is just out of family pressure

Family pressure?”, he said, “Not a good enough reason! It is your body and life

But, Uncle”, she said, “The feeling you talked about, is it worth?

It wasn’t in our case”, he said, “That feeling made my woman suffer badly in her last days and eventually death seemed peaceful than that betrayed feeling”.

Sakshi looked at him with thoughtful but stern eyes. Her inner dilemma about the adaption of motherly concepts was consuming her completely. This dilemma was between ‘holding onto herself’ and ‘surrendering to someone else’.

She stood up to take leave from the old man. After touching his feet and sharing a ‘good bye’, she walked to the gate, but stopped and looked back to the chair, recalling the entire conversation about the unfortunate woman.

The driver drove the car to the place and Sakshi got seated. On the back seat, while looking outside the window, she thought about everything that happened at the old man’s house.

The car took a left turn but suddenly Sakshi told him to stop.

Take a right from here”, Sakshi said.

But ma’am, right would go back to the airport. For hospital, we have to take this left”, the driver said.

I am not going to the hospital, take me to the airport”, she said. The driver took the right turn. Seeing the right road, in true sense, being taken, she softly said to herself, “People may call it a bodily drawback, for me it is a blessing”.

 


© Copyright 2018 Abhishek Navathe. All rights reserved.

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