Life as we know it is something well regarded, well esteemed; it’s something sacred and at the end of everything it’s all that matters. Life is all but a journey towards a predetermined destination. But death, it’s something that everyone evades. It holds a rapport of being an abrupt halt in a path towards ones destination. Death is not an end; it’s the biggest misconception prevailing in the nerves and minds of people. It’s rather a new beginning, to a new destination. The one departed is all but fortunate enough to have relocated to a place more enchanting, more beautiful, tranquil and serene. When people realize this, they would liberate themselves from the guilt and remorse of death.
It was one of the sleepless nights during my final exams when I was indulged in a conversation with my mother. I lay still on my bed with my head cushioned on the pillow and eyes inspecting the small crack on the ceiling, wondering, how did it appear. She was sick and questioning her reluctant answers I could sense her uneasiness from her voice.
“How many times have I asked you to go to Bhai”, I said “Would this be your condition if you were with him? He would have taken care of you, wouldn’t he?”
“I can take care of myself son, just as I did for you all after your father departed”, she finished with a remorseful silence.
“There’s nothing left in that house mom, why wouldn’t you understand?” I said for the umpteenth time, “You’ll feel better when you’ll have people around you instead of being all alone”
“It’s not that I am fond of living like this, away from everyone that I care about, but, I don’t want to leave either”, a heavy gasp followed her words.
“Where do you want to go then?” I asked.
“I don’t know”, she said with the same remorseful gasp, “You wouldn’t understand son; this house has something which I treasure the most. I can’t leave this house.”
There was no hope in appeasing her. She was hell-bent in her opinion. She was never the same since dad left. She had an intuition that somewhere he was present with her. She had a ridiculous and an unfeasible feeling that if she abandons the house she would leave her husband behind, all alone. I could only imagine her sorrow. I lost a father too but her loss outweighed mine by a huge margin. She lost a part of herself. When they married, they became as one and integrated into one entity. His departure broke the other half of my mother. Even the dumbest person could witness the agony in her eyes.
I called my brother the following night. He held his hands up by narrating how persistently he tried to persuade mom to come to him, but she refused. She backed the same ridiculous theory. Even though she didn’t like to live there but she won’t leave, for a reason unknown. She did not want to live in that house; she did want to live with her son. Where did she want to go? No one knew, not even her. I had my exams knocking at my door so I tried to calm the turmoil in my mind. I evaded my thoughts and slept with a weird thought
“How did the crack appear on the ceiling?”
Days and nights passed but she was not getting any better, rather her condition was deteriorating. I was worried about her. My exams had started and I couldn’t do anything except making a failed attempt of convincing her. I was waiting impatiently for my exams to get over. Her condition was affecting my exams as well. I couldn’t focus on my studies as it was getting difficult to keep my mind in peace.
Sometimes it just feels as if everything is falling apart and god is testing your might to keep it intact. For a purpose unknown, god tests your ability to walk against the storm. Being the sole witness of your destruction he takes pride in your courage. An invisible push from him thrashes your ability and leaves you on the ground only for you to stand again, stronger than before. He gives you something and then takes it away from you, only for you to understand its worth. He trains you, forges you to survive in this world full of scavengers ready to consume one another for their own survival and success. An unusual yet effective phenomenon, which I call Gods Justice.
After a series of intolerant events, my exams were over, finally. I was all set to go home, to my mother. I had my reservations and fulfilled every task before going home. It was a night before my journey home when I got a call from Bhai.
“Mom is really sick”, he said in a bleak tone.
Those were the only words that emerged from his tongue and his tone sent a shiver down my spine. I was cold feet. I knew at once that it was not a usual sickness. It was something terrible. I could read it in his voice. He wanted me to come as soon as possible. Although I had my reservation for the other day I couldn’t wait. I took the first flight in the morning and cancelled my reservation. That was the longest journey of my life. Every second seemed to be like an extended hour. The clock was circling so slowly as if it would start running in the opposite direction in a matter of time.
“Is it going to happen again?”
“Am I going to lose her as well?”
Vilest of the thoughts flooded my mind and I couldn’t help myself to calm my mind. I tried my utmost to deviate my mind from such thoughts in order to calm my annoyance and anguish. I looked through the window pane. It was weird to imagine how I was floating above billions of people. The distances were converged and it appeared as if I can walk my way from one corner of the earth to the other. I was above the entire population and it made me feel like the man in charge. Though it seems stupid but it helped in diverting my thoughts for a while.
After a few hours of the hasty journey, I reached my hometown. Without a delay I cleared all the formalities and reached for a taxi. On my way home I pictured what would be the situation back there. It was hard to figure as why suddenly she fell so sick. I evaded myself from any further vile idea.
Everything would be normal. Just a fever is all she has. She would receive me as she does always.
That was what I hoped, that was what I wished.
The reality in turn was just the opposite. There was no one to receive me at the gate. No one to greet me welcome. There was no sparkle of hooting laughter to mark my arrival. I stood at the gate for a moment anticipating that my mother would come out, greet me, hug me and tell me how happy she is for my arrival. But, no one came. I pulled my luggage and prompted inside. No sooner did I get inside than I disengaged myself from the luggages and ran to my mom’s room.
My heart sank when I caught her sight. She was lying on her bed with her eyes closed, taking heavy breaths. Her body had shrunken like anything. She had become so weak that she struggled within herself to open her eyes. Bhai was sitting next to her holding her hand and gently massaging her forehead. My feet were shivering when I took few slow steps towards her. Bhai stood up and gestured me to set beside her. I did.
“How was the journey, son?” the same old question which she asked every time I arrived.
“It was good”, I said and then took a moment to swallow my grief, “Turns out you can’t take care of yourself after all”, tears welled up my eyes as I could no longer hold it anymore. Bhai placed his palm on my shoulder with a faint hope of assurance that everything’s going to be alright.
“Why didn’t you listen to us? For once you could have done what we wanted. Look what happened”, I said in my anguish while I flooded her arms with my teardrops. She didn’t bother to wipe it up. She just kept on staring at me, smiling. Her adorable gaze.
“Everyone has to go my dear, one day or the other. It’s just a matter of time when your life runs its full cycle. I’ve lived my life son. I’ve lived it during those moments when you both grew up, when you stood on your feet holding my hand, when you used to wipe your tears on my shoulders. My life was all but an empty vessel and you both filled it with your love and tenderness. What else could a mother wish for? Nothing more. I’ve lived my life son. Now my time has come and I’ve accepted it with all my heart.”
I fell on her and hugged her. I cried my heart out. Bhai couldn’t hold himself anymore and he did the same. Our cry echoed the house and shook every brick of the foundation.
“Not again”, I cried.
Her face was getting pale and her breath was softening. She was no longer smiling. Her eyes shut its lids and a soft diminishing breeze of breath was flowing through her nose. The adorable gaze was shut, forever. I sat there looking at her as a flashback of memories ran through my brain. An aura of contentment was reflecting from her face. She was looking peaceful than ever. Finally, she was at a place where she wanted to be – with my father. They became one as a whole once again to take a walk through the paradise.