The howling winds created an eerie atmosphere. The starlit evening too scared the demons. There in that dismal parlour, the old woman wailed and wailed. The night was quite phantasmic .The suppositious reconstructions of the woman aggreviated my fears. Quietly, I headed towards the spectacular array – the hut. Tiptoeing, I reached the threshold. The air was clear, silence reigned with the wails of the woman, disturbing this silence occasionally .”Should I enquire or just leave?, “I asked myself. I fear lest I might anger the woman. Nevertheless, I peeped in and found the woman glued to something in her hand. I opened the door, paid my greetings and asked for permission to go inside. The woman turned ,beholding me ,she just crawled to reach me and embraced me. This made me to wonder! was she a mentally ill person or she was in wait of someone? Her curious eyes ,though, had the answer. She surely was in wait of someone. Her sullen cheeks, the eyes welled in tears -apparently embraced me. The shabby walls, the worn out rugs-everything seemed questioning me where I had been. To compromise with the situation, I responded the way circumstances wanted me to….
After holding me for a few minutes or so, she took me by hand and pointed out to a sack and in a broken language, asked me to untie the bundle. While I untied one knot river the other, the volley of twisted questions in me also untied one by one. Oh! the souvenirs! I comprehended! She was a mother, in wait for her disappeared son . It had been years now. I could not stop my tears. I wish someday the footsteps approaching to her hut are none other than her son’s ! I embraced her and in a choked voice cried MAA..
I embraced her and gave a loud cry ,”Maa.”My tears flowed profusely.I felt a twinge in my heart when the mother kissed me. Seating me just infront of her, she began to narrate how she used to pamper me when I (her son )was a child. I too listenend calmly. Though I was not doing a right thing by playing her son, but I didn’t either want to see those hopeful eyes gloomy again. She was ,after a long time, meeting her son.
The mother, seemingly, was elated. She signed me to be seated and she got up. In one of the corners of this frayed room, there was kept a hearth. While she made me to listen to the childhood stories of her son, she prepared the scrumptious dish that her son would have liked. She laid the delicious platter infront of me and began to feed me. I was out of sorts. What should I do! My heart began to torture me. Tears began to fill my eyes. My soul was mournful. But I too didn’t wish to leave this place for I was being selfish. My mom too had left me years back and it was for the first time I was experiencing the love of a mom. I wished to just clasp myself to her bosom and Cry and cry as much as I could.
The mother’s soothing address to me ‘beta’ brought me back from fantasy to reality. And I let out a beam of smile to revert..
Again, I engrossed myself in the bitterness of life. I asked myself how life could have been so cruel to the MOTHER, who is always resilient on its indifferences but never complains. There, the mother was busy in unfolding the intertwined worries and pains she had countered after her son had mysteriously disappeared. I too, silently, kept on listening to her. My heart cried at every word she shared. And incessantly, she would poignantly ask me,” Baeyi ma trawhem cxei?” And I would seep my tears in. Rain drops pitter-pattered on the roof. A few drops splattered the face of the mother, as the roof had leakage. I asked,” Maa, Where are the other members?”,as if I was known to the members. She heaved a plaintive sigh, a tear crossed its boundaries followed by a frail smile, she continued, “I was forsaken by all-your father left me barely after a month of your disappearance as he couldn’t bear it. For you, I wondered like a lunatic. And they(in laws) tried to contain me but my motherhood taunted me and prompted me to abandon the world and set out in search of you. You know they drove me away from my own house. And nothing I took along, just a bottle of water.”This jerked me. And she cried profusely
I could see her trembling hands reaching out to her eyes occasionally to wipe her tears. I could see the bruised hands ,the singed fingers, the swollen eyes and the face that had lost its dreams. My heart cried and cried, a scream escaped my lips ,my hands reached out to her and I embraced her…..
The old mother would incessantly hug me, kiss me and with tears flowing from the flood in her eyes, she would request me to assure her of my presence. Seeing her in such a condition, my heart just wanted to remain with her till my breath allowed me. Alas! I was betraying myself and this old mother. I was not the one she had been searching for. To be in the shade of mother’s love, I was trying to act her son. In my grief, I was being selfish. All this made me to curse myself and I harnessed my footsteps to turn back. While I was getting ready to leave the place, the mother’s loving address ‘beta ‘again chained me ,made me motionless. How much love the mother’s caring words carried! I had always been imagining a mother’s love and lo! I was just infront of a mother. You could understand the unfathomable feeling of joy and delight. Coming back from my musings and fantasy, I gazed and gazed at the mother and explored the concealed pains bedecked by her triumphant smile. I never knew the smile was about to cease, the love I was being showered with was to burn it’s last flame. I began, ‘Maa, you have grown so weak and frail. Now I am back, give me a permission to make you to live again the life of that lady who would love to adorn her hands with Henna, who used to bedeck her dupatta with the tinsels of gold and silver, who would love to run after the butterflies and then give out a hearty laugh. Maa will you?” Again, a painful smile I could feel ,some questions in her eyes, some complaints on her lips. She gave me a relaxed smile, only kept on staring at me and said nothing. She took my hands in hers ,placed them against her heart. A smile flickered across and there! her eyes closed and the last words she said ,”Cxei haa aesai pyaraan.” And there she closed her eyes forever, leaving me to wail and wither. Alas! I lost the MOTHER who never gave me birth. I just cried out ,”Maa!”.