Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear Ma

Dear Ma,

It feels strange writing to you. Now, after so many years of silence between us. It must be equally awkward for you to open a letter addressed to you. In the times of smartphone, I had to choose this mode to reach to you. I am sure both Keshav Da and Shobit da call you often. How long has it been Ma? Do you even remember my voice? I could not muster the courage to call you up and have you ask me, "May I know who is speaking?"

By now you must be wondering why I have written to you. To be frank, I have no idea. I have come a long way from home Ma. I live in the city of dreams that is constantly on the move. The hustle of the city is just what I needed to comfort my vagabond soul. I have always been looking to belong and in this city where no one cares about anybody's business, I finally belong. My job is taking me places and I am constantly surrounded with people. Yet on days when I have had a tiring schedule and try to sleep, I have a hollowness in me. It feels like a hole that is deep in my chest and it refuses to cease. I toss and turn in darkness, trying to draw happiness from the past and all I can see is you.

I see Baba and dadas playing in the garden and you sitting at the doorstep, sometimes cleaning the rice. Remember the day when Keshav da was hit by my ball? You rushed to pick him up and nursed him, giving a cursory glance at me. I thought you would shout at me but you walked away with him. Yet another day when I was playing by myself, I slipped and hit my head. You saw me hurt but instead rushed inside. It was Baba who took me to a doctor. Did you hide away purposely Ma? Did you think I would die and you would let that happen? I was just 6 years old then and that day, while my wounds were being taken care of, a larger one had cut through me. I wondered if I was adopted!

I know I am not adopted Ma. No one could make that mistake. The uncanny resemblance of our grey eyes, the pointed nose, and that grin which so rarely broke in my presence. No, nobody has so much of your features other than me. In a way, I always had more of you in me than Baba. Maybe it was our similar traits that led to the detachment. You kept your distance from me, and although I ached for your love, I obstinately waited for you to melt. It was pointless. You lacked the warmth that a mother would possess for a child born to her.

I often went on a self evaluation trip to identify what was it that was making you repel me. I excelled at studies, but while the teachers were full of praise, you sat grimly through the open houses. You never came to any of the functions where I was performing. While the crowd cheered at my dialogues, my vacant eyes searched for you among the spectators. I erupted into spurts of jealousy when you bestowed your attention of Dadas. Many a times, I thought that you had exhausted your source of love on them. What had they done to possess that?

I know I am burying out dead facts. It will not bring those days of my childhood. The childhood, that I spent deprived of motherly affection. The childhood that I spent devoid of emotions from you. Baba was never the one for words. It made him awkward to express feelings. Even though he did everything in his capacity to give me a normal childhood, I knew he was as clueless about your indifference as I was. With Baba's death, the chord had snapped. I could no longer live in that house where I was not welcome. When I decided to move out, I had a bleak hope that you would hold me back. What a fool I was! I could hardly control my tears all the way towards the station. You stood stone like, with no word. When did you actually stop talking to me Ma? I don't even remember! Perhaps as early as I started school!

There is a lot that I could talk about but 25 years of silence is hard to bridge. I am all set to start a new life here. I have chosen my life partner and I have been lucky enough to have someone who loves me with all her heart. Perhaps the burden of past would make it impossible to step into a fresh tomorrow. How will I ever be able to explain my relationship with you? It would be a nagging question in all I do. Why was I the abandoned one?

I want a closure to this Ma. I know it is too late for things to change. I have convinced myself that you will never be receptive to my pleas. A mother knows it all, but do you Ma? Do you know what I went through? Do you feel my pain? I want to know what made you this way? I do not want to hold any bitterness back. Writing this is making me feel lighter in a way. The truth would finally put my wandering soul at peace with itself.

                                                                                                                                   Your son,

Her hands trembled as she held the letter. What could she answer? She fed the letter to the fireplace.

He would never understand. He did not need to know. 

She had never wanted another child. She had done all she could to abort him. She had consumed all the household remedies and had been relieved when she bled. Yet, 4 months later, the bump showed and she felt the kick. She was in for a shock when she discovered she was pregnant. She was bleeding courtesy the side effects of the herbs she was taking. Her child was unharmed, alive and kicking! 

It took her a long time to accept the truth. When he was born hale and hearty, she scrutinized his every move. She knew something was wrong with him! How could he be so healthy, after all the ways she had tried to abort him. She had never come to accept him as her own. He was like a monster who had fed on her. She was convinced that something would claim his life sooner or later and she was not ready to face it. Knowing that she would be responsible for the abnormality. In a twisted way, she had felt she would be spared if she was detached. 

He did not need her, No. But she did love him. Unknown to him, she checked on him every night. The day he fell, she was scared to death. She had run away to fetch the first aid. It did not occur to her to pick him up first. When he returned with his father from the dispensary, she had been on her toe all the time , unable to sleep. When he left the house, she was frightened about the world he was going to be exposed to. She wasn't the one to hold back. Not him. He deserved all that she had tried to deprive him of. 

As the last of the paper turned to ashes, she closed her eyes. If only she could start over again. 


Namrata said...

Now this is crude. Only because you didn't want the child long back doesn't mean you won't love him at all. Look at him now. Look at how hollow and deprived he is. She should have hold him next to her chest, kissed his forehead with all the motherly affection. She should have.
Nice one. :)

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

How priceless is a mother's love! How unique, warm , unconditional and pure it is ! Every child deserves it. A mother in her senses cannot deprive her child of love and care. She cannot.

This is a good story, even though I cannot forgive this mother. No she cannot start again.

maithili said...

Some women develop depression after the birth of an unwanted child. Most get over it , few become like this woman

maithili said...

I know it is hard to believe a mother could be like that. But this story is inspired by a real woman, the reason maybe different but attitude is the same.

Keirthana said...

Oh God, I was thinking in a bollywood style that he was a son born of an affair or something that she wanted to be buried.

Never knew this kind of a depression could happen to women have an unplanned baby.

maithili said...

Usually doesn't happen but not all women have that inbuilt motherly affection..