“My mother and your mother are the strongest ladies I know,” my father once proudly told me. I simply nodded my head, not understanding what he really implied.
I still don’t know why his mother is one of the strong ladies he knows; but why my mother is, I now know. Surely his reason to call my mother strong is different. Here is my reason-
12th August, 2016-
My father’s birthday.
We all are happy. We wish Papa a Happy Birthday and return to our works. I get ready for school and my father for office. Mummy prepares delicious breakfast. She sends us off. Everyone is happy.
I return from school. My mother opens the door as she always does. No expression of indifference on her face.
“Are you going somewhere,” I ask her seeing her all ready to go somewhere.
“Yes. And you are coming with us. Papa is coming too. We are going to Nani’s( maternal grandmother’s) house. Nana(maternal grandfather) is no more.
My heart skipped a million beats at the same time. I froze. Whattt!
I knew that he had been ill, tormented by paralysis for the past eight months, barely able to move; but didn’t know that today could have been ‘the day’.
It was now that I saw tears in my mother’s eyes. I put a comforting hand around her and waited for papa to come home.
He came soon after. He too comforted my mother. She wept like a child. Tears rolled down my father’s eyes too. We three sat together on the edge of a bed, clenching each other’s hand, staring at the wall right in front of us. No one spoke.
Due to some reason, we couldn’t go to Nani’s house that day. So we decided to go there next morning.
Barely a word passed between us for a next couple of hours. Everyone was visibly hurt, agonised and shook to the core.
How does that make my mother strong? Read on…
Come evening, and we saw a bizarre resilience in my mother.
She silently went to her and Papa’s room, blew up some balloons that she had bought the previous day, and spread it all across the room.
When we saw this, we were taken aback.
Papa told her that it wasn’t required. But she wouldn’t listen. “It’s your birthday”, she said as if the day was ‘only’ about his birthday.
Not only this. Later in the evening she asked me if I wanted to have a cake! I refused respectfully. Nonetheless, she insisted that I could have it if I wanted to. I refused.
At dinner, we were served the best food in the best crockery set. She had also bought some ice-cream for dessert.
All this happened while a smile was hung around her lips. But her eyes spoke moaning words. They, her eyes, were melancholic, deeply dejected and dispirited
No one could sleep that night.
13th August, 2016-
We went to Nani’s house. The ambience was marked by total sorrow and grief. Everyone, who had ever known my Nana, had gathered there.
Here, my mother, clinging to her mother, wept and wept and wept…
The onlookers could not hold back their tears either.
14th August, 2016-
We are back at our home. The grief has not been overcome yet. Everyone is trying to veil it by their own suitable ways.
My head bows down to her in reverence and admiration. She chose to celebrate birth over condoning death. My father and her father mean equally dear to her and she showed equal respect to both of them in her own way.
She is an epitome of stability of mind and commendable resilience.
My mother- the strongest person I have ever known and, probably, will ever know.