“You be here, I will be back home by evening. Pray.”, said my mother leaving in a hurry with Lakshit.
“Your aunt … I don’t know… just wait for my call.”
And she left me asking me to take care of my little cousin sister. As I closed the main door, so heavy- in my heart too, I remember I was thinking about her face. It seemed all her veins had directed blood to her face. Eyes were red like she had cried, white with the sense of confusion and hope, cheeks were noticeably pink on a pale yellow background of her usual skin tone. Her lips were trembling to find words for her ocean of thoughts whereas mind was still lost in woods of memories, feelings, facts and hope.
“Didi, where is mummy ji?”, Vaibhavi asked without taking her eyes off of awful cartoon creature on T.V.
“Ummm… she will be back. Market.”
“Hmm…” , she hummed as I stared blankly at her, it reminded me of that encounter which had left me paralyzed.
A devious judge-mental stare from my granny at my maternal aunt was a disapproval to all “young” widows, as she herself is a widow of an “old” man, to lead their life however they want, to be happy with whosoever they want, to wear make-up, to wear colorful “flowery” dresses, to wear jewelry, to wear a smile, in all- to wear womanhood and LIFE; even after six years of struggle on that crucifix of her in-laws weathering her soul. For so many years before marriage she had lived with her parents, preparing to be donated as it is usually done, so now she was a wealth of somebody who had promised to be with her in every thick and thin not knowing days might be counted in number of breathes left. “ Ill-omen” she was named after he was gone, though before that she was known as Rimple. Rimple, a lively- young -petite woman with beady eyes sitting below trim eyebrows, straight pointed nose, goldilocks brownish lips, curly locks though with split ends to which silvery voice added charm. I remember her from the days when she became a mother and was yet pursuing studies for some bachelors’ degree. I used to be in-charge of “take-care-baby boy” days during my summer vacations whilst she had to take examinations, well who doesn’t like elderly bossy days when you are youngest in your own home. And rewards were sweets, chocolates, toffees and some scolding for not getting him to do his homework.
There used to be days, “I-don’t-like-her” days, when my bossy days used to get over and I were told to learn multiplying tables, forms of verbs, word-meanings etc. which were used to be the signs of my “home coming” for my mother. Well, childhood is supposed to be hypocritical, ain’t it?
But I couldn’t change even when I grew up. Not until this day when her projections on that white sheet showcased tableau of our shared past leaving treads on dust of her presence.