Today, at school, I came across a Chapter in my English textbook named ‘Mother Dear’. This was a story told by a 23 year old lady about how her mother had raised her alone amidst all the criticisms of the society about raising a girl child.
I came home and kept thinking: Was my story similar to the story about which I read at school? What exactly was my story actually? I knew Mother had raised me alone. And that she had sacrificed her present for my better future. But why was she alone? Where is Father? Why has he never come to see me? Why does she smile so less? These questions made me restless and all of a sudden, I wanted to know everything about her life.
Whenever I used to ask Mother anything regarding Father, I could see her eyes getting wet and she immediately changed the topic.It made me sad to see her upset. So I would just drop the topic there. But nope, not this. However, I did not want to make Mother upset. So I went to Aita (grandmother). Aita has always been there for me. Whenever I am upset she talks to me making me believe that at a point of of time everything becomes alright. I went to her and said that I really needed to know about father. Droplets of tears in her eyes. And Aita started, “There was a time when your mother used to be the most cheerful in the family…”
She said Mother and Father met at a wedding and fell in love. They dated for three years and in the fourth year, he proposed Mother for marriage. She was over the moon that day. She hugged him tight and said “Yes”. She came home and said Aita about their marriage. Aita was pretty happy too. In the subsequent days, families met, the marriage date was fixed, traditions were fulfilled and finally Mother went to Father’s house as his newest family member.
For three years, they lived happily. Love bloomed in their lives as if nothing can go wrong. Their life was so beautiful. It was like they were meant to be.
One day, when Mother went to the market, she met one of father’s lady colleagues. They started talking and the lady wanted to say something. But was not sure about how to frame it. Mother took her hand and said her not to hesitate. Seeing the innocence in Mother’s eyes, she couldn’t resist.
She burst out ,“Your husband is cheating on you! He is having an affair with one of our colleagues!”.
Mother’s beautiful smile faded away slowly. She couldn’t believe what the lady had just said and asked her was she sure about that.
The lady said, “You can ask anyone in our office. Everybody knows.” She continued, “I thought you had the right to know about the reality of that man who you love so much.”
She said this and left. Mother felt numb. Tears rolling down her face as she walked home. She thought how could he do such a thing. They loved each other, didn’t they?
When Father came home from office, he acted normally. She thought she would confront it to him. When he realised that she knew everything about his affair, Father demanded for a divorce. He said that he didn’t love her anymore. And that he loved the other lady now. Mother didn’t say a word. She silently cried. She still loved him. She left for Aita’s house that day and stayed there from then on. She didn’t talk to anyone. Didn’t eat anything for days. She forgot how to smile.
When the divorce papers came in, she signed there.
After some days, she realised that she was pregnant. Aita said that was the first time in 365 days that she had smiled. She gave me a life and everything I needed for a better upbringing. She started doing a job. She worked so hard to give me a brighter future.
I said to Aita, “I am happy that I could be the reason behind Mother’s smile.”
Aita replied, “You are the only reason she smiles. Even today.”
My eyes were red. Tears in them. There were tears in Aita’s eyes too. I kissed Aita in the cheeks and left.
I ran back to Mother’s room. There she was, sitting in the bed, reading a book, with her glasses on. She smiled when she saw me. I ran towards her and hugged her tight like I would never let go. She looked surprised.
I said, “I love you. Always have and always will.”
She consoled me by saying, “I love you too, my baby.”
I said, “Maa, you are such a hero.”
I hugged her tighter. She cried. I wiped her tears and said, “I will always be there beside you. Don’t you worry.”
She smiled. Then she asked, wiping my tears, “Is my little girl hungry?”
I nodded. She held my hand and took me to the kitchen. That was the time I decided that I would never let Mother’s hand slip away from mine.
I love you Maa.