Friday, February 25, 2011

Maulik, mom loves you!


The most wonderful thing in life is to see your kids grow up. The way they observe, talk, walk, eat – everything is so dynamic and you can never match the speed.

Maulik is a sensitive kid. He saw us when papa passed away and without saying or asking much, was an integral part of our cynical life. He would say things that we never expected from a 5 year old.

His concern towards naani, the video he shot for her when she was in the hospital, his attempt to avoid any conversation around an accident, his saying sorry to the stars (naanu as he would call one of them) one day when he misbehaved with naani – all of it is saying the unsaid pain and anxiety in him. The day he met mom in the hospital, he was quick to say, ‘chalo achha hai naani God ke paas nahi ja rahi’.

Today, everyone talks about Maulik turning a naughty kid, naughtier than what he was an year back. I scold him, scream at him and fail to straighten him. But somehow, deep within I can see my failure in his behavior. For almost 6 months after papa passed away, I was never with him. He spent his days either with cousins, friends or neighbors, but never with me. He wandered on his journey from the age of 5 to 6, the very crucial years of his life, and I was busy with my own self, trying to gain strength to overcome the blows of life. In the process – I clearly ignored him.

While all of us complain about his behavior, I can see through him when he is sleeping next to me, sliding his hands in my t-shirt. I have failed enormous times in asking someone else to drop him at the bus stop so that I do not miss my cab. But I eventually miss it everyday. ‘Mom will drop me’ he would maintain. He even threatened to quit school if I cannot drop him to the bus stop. Countless discussions and here’s the final verdict with moisture in the eyes – ‘aap soft soft meri jaan ho, aur koi itna pyaara nahi and so I will not go with anyone else’. Speechless I was.

I have spent the entire year cribbing and complaining, cursing God for taking away so much from me. Someone who was always there, someone who, I feel is much more precious than anything I could ever deserve - Maulik, meaning precious.

Maulik, I am seeing the sensitive little fool in you. The mature mind who gets fidgety the moment he senses gloom in the house. I am sorry if I ignored you somewhere, and I promise to make life better and this world more beautiful for you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life after papa.

And there we were. Mom, Abby and Anuj, with teeka smeared on our forehead and roli on our wrists. There was silence, in the temple, and inside. Wet eyes, dry thoughts, and papa in our prayers. This was the day, an year ago, when papa was made to leave us.

We blamed God, we blamed the driver who rammed his truck into him, we blamed our destiny – but nothing made it easier to accept the hitting reality – papa was no more. The Whys and the Hows of what happened to us remained unanswered. The only piercing answer to everything was his death. The fact that he was no more.

And then we reached the orphanage. The same place where we celebrated maulik’s birthday last year. As papa had helped him slice the cake, the little faces were gleaming at the thought of gulping it. There was joy, so intrinsic to papa’s presence.

Today, our visit was rather sober.

A lot has changed for us in this year. Though emotionally we feel broke, mentally we have become much tougher. All of us, including Maulik. The little one asks intense questions about naanu, and I can never answer. So many things have pained us cruelly. Like the time when mom returned from the hospital and was face to face with papa’s picture on the wall. Or when after getting my promotion letter at the last job, I so much wanted to call papa. Recently at shopping, when glancing through those kurtas I pointed at one for her, I saw mom turning her face away. Beautiful crimson it was; clearly not the color she wants to consider now. It hurt. It fuckin’ did hurt.

The year has taught me that it is not just a life that falls silent. It is an entire world that crashes, a beautiful era that vanishes. The house that papa tastefully renovated only two years back stands silent, and waiting. The thing that they most enjoyed - their evening walks - would be now so lonely for mom and slower. Her favorite possessions in the almirah - those vivacious, flashy sarees - which once defined her style statement, are now hanging redundantly. For the stylish, savvy, prim and proper mom, I hope her personality sustains against the harsh social norms.

So ya, while the world took a 360 degree turn for us, there is one thing that remains unchanged. The cheerful faces of these young bubbly kids at the orphanage. One look at them and I felt life is enduring. Ajay is 5 and treats me like a friend. He flashes a smile the moment I tell him he is the naughtiest. He indeed is. But these kids have such contented faces. They are so young to acknowledge things, but much appreciate our visit. There was a smile on my face as I tried to wipe that tear on the corner of my eye.

Life indeed is a cruel reality. But we need to go on. And smile should be essential.