Who doesn’t enjoy privacy? Who doesn’t crave for freedom? But are these two things more prized and vital to us than the mother who still has the stitch marks on her stomach?
He remembered how his mother would constantly feed him khichdi and make endless cups of haldi wali chai for him when he was sick. She wouldn’t let him step on the floor and made sure that his back was resting on the bed. She would continually rub his head and even massage his feet. He loved it when his mother tucked him in bed with a big warm blanket and slept next to him, waking up to his slightest cry of pain.
He swallowed the white round tablet that he held in his hand and dived into the white linen bed whose bed sheet had marks of ashes and stains of alcohol.
He recalled how his mother wouldn’t let him step outside the house without having at least two paranthas and at times fed him with her own hands if he complained of getting late. She would wake up hours before to prepare a meal which could be enjoyed hot by her son. She would ask him daily at night before going to sleep what he would like to have the next day in breakfast.
He took out the milk carton from the fridge and poured the cold liquid into the plastic bowl where his tasteless cereal rested.
He thought of the day when he had to appear for his first job interview. His mother woke him up on time and blistering water in the shower was waiting for him. Flawlessly ironed grey trousers and a crisp white shirt were kept on his bed. His watch, wallet and tie were tidily placed on the wooden side table and the driver waited for him in the black swift.
He woke up to the alarm after snoozing it two times and realised that he had forgotten to switch on the geyser. He applied deodorant and wore the same blue greased shirt that hadn’t been washed since a week. He rushed down the stairs to catch the metro.
That day was still unsullied in his mind. There was not one memory that was forgotten. He remembered every slight detail of that day in his mind like the back of his hand. Most children would die to be in his place. He was a working man and still pampered unconditionally by his mother. His dad was a heart patient and had a major heart stroke one night which lead to him leaving this world but also properties whose rent could be enjoyed by his wife and his son so that their financial stability could be maintained. He had been fed up of his mothers steady nagging in his work. He was irritated by her invariable calls in his office. He was annoyed when his mother would ask him to come home early and not stay till late in pubs and get wasted with his work buddies. Then just like we know that patience is not every ones best friend, he did something that even an adopted son wouldn’t dare to do.
He left his mom all alone and broke all ties with her. He ran away from his house in Chennai and came to Mumbai.
Danish led a typical life like any other man of his age and his state of affairs would. Away from home, single, struggling to pay the rent and his bills. He had changed his number so that no one from his precedent life could contact him especially his mother. But his mother had still waited, waited patiently for her son to come darting back to her. Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. It seemed like the prayers of the forlorn mother had begun to be answered. Danish gave up in his new life and knew that he couldn’t survive there anymore. He wasn’t ready to face such brutal hardships. When life bombards you with difficulties and obstacles, you either overcome them or go running back to your mother. That is exactly what Danish did, with an added fact that he had realised his mistake. More than owning up to ones mistake, it is of utmost importance to realise it. Danish still remembered his house number by heart and called his mother after fourteen months.
“Hello?” spoke his mother from the other end of the line.
Danish spoke nothing. His breathing turned heavy.
“Danish?” his mom could make out that it was her son who had called her after a wait of whole fourteen months.
“Maa, I am sorry maa. I was a stupid fool to have run away from the boon that I have been blessed with. I am coming home maa. I am coming back. I am sorry maa. I love you” continued Danish without taking a single pause.
“What should I make for you? Tell me what my babu would like to eat?” asked his mother holding back a sob which had now turned into happy tears.
Danish jam – packed all his clothes and bits and pieces and handed over the room keys to the landlord. Danish had never been more contented to leave anything behind. He sprinted to the nearest saree shop and bought a printed cotton saree for his mother. He sat in the Mumbai to Chennai Volvo bus with his luggage in the back but the gift in his hand. He couldn’t believe that he would be back with his mother in just three hours and could rest his head in her lap but for now, he couldn’t wait. Three hours were going to be a long time.
His mother finished preparing aloo paranthas and gajar ka halwa. Just one more hour to go, she thought to herself. What to do now? The clock struck 3 and she thought why not watch my serial. Well, women will be women! She switched on the television and flipped through the channels to arrive at the desired one. But first time in her life did she stop at a news channel. A news channel that broadcasted,
“Volvo bus coming from Mumbai to Chennai collides with a truck near a construction site and goes directly clashing into the yet unfinished building. Not one passenger or driver left alive.”
We can blame others, we can blame ourselves.
We can blame circumstances, but we cannot blame life.
The tragedy of life is not death; it is what we let die inside of us when we live.