“Tring tring tring tring”
Smita heard her phone ringing from the kitchen, paused the grinder and moved out of the kitchen to find her phone. She found it, saw it was her son, Nishant’s call and answered immediately without any further delay.
“Hey Mom, what took you so long, I called earlier as well.”
Hearing the same old familiar voice brought utter delight on her face, Smiling she continued talking to him.
“Oh, I am sorry, I was in the kitchen…must have missed your call amidst all the grinder noise.”
“Ok, are you alright? You sound out of breath.”
“Yeah, I am fine…just having a little cold.”
“Get that treated and take rest.”
“Yes, how come you called at this hour?”
“I am coming home the day after tomorrow, thought to inform you.”
“Oh, that’s great news, what time will you get here?”
“I will be there by 9:30 in the morning, anyways I have to go now, see you soon.”
“Alright, travel safe son, bye.”
She was suddenly delighted and she felt so much better despite her ill health and exhaustion that it was beyond any words. She was quickly planning preparations for her son’s arrival.Quickly she finished all her pending work for the day. Opened her notepad and made a list of things she needed to get done so that her son could stay comfortably which included cleaning his room, preparing his favorite food items, loading up the refrigerator with his favorite fruits and beverages, etc.
She knew her son’s arrival would probably be a short trip of just about 2-3 days, but she wanted to make the most of those few days. It was such a welcome change for her lonely life at home living so far away from both her children. Earlier she was living with her younger daughter but even she left for her job recently and now she was all by herself in this big house. She was quite fine; she did not need anyone for her survival and sustenance. She was what is nowadays referred to as a ‘Strong Independent Woman’. It was just that there was nobody for her to converse with at home now.
She was quite used to the loneliness as she had raised her two kids all by herself after the early demise of her husband almost 18 years ago. She did not had the time to even realize the lack of a partner to share her life with back in those days as it was difficult to even have a relaxing breath between generating enough funds to run the house, work and raise two kids. It was only after her kids grew up and started taking care of themselves that she gradually started to realise that she too had a life of her own. She loved both of them dearly and would still do about anything at a heartbeat for them. However, they were both away from her now for reasons of their careers and she did not want to stand in the way of that. She knew it was important for them to find their own footing in this world.
But, now was not the time to think of her melancholy as her son was returning after almost 6 months. She was ecstatic as she went about making preparation for his stay. Everything should be perfect for him. She took out the blankets knowing weather is changing and how he always felt colder than most people.
Two days later, she was waiting eagerly having prepared his favourite meal for breakfast and lunch knowing he must be hungry. She heard the doorbell ring. She rushed to open the door and saw him. One look at his face and she was glowing with pure joy and pleasure. That was the effect he had on this old lady.
“Come in, how was your flight?”
“It was fine.”
“I have made your favourite aloo parathas for you.”
“Oh great, I am very hungry.”
“Yes, I thought so, you go freshen up, and I will serve it for you.”
Nishant came to the dining table after few minutes, sat down and took a good look at his mother. He realised she was not taking care of her health, she seemed weaker than before and her cold didn’t seem any better either. He was starting to get furious for utter lack of regard for own health. He was about to say something accusatory only to realise that it’s his own fault. He was not there to take care of her, he didn’t called her frequently enough. He also was not able to visit her often enough for whatever reasons there had been. Deciding on a different approach, he started talking to her.
“Mom I was thinking we should get you checked out by a good doctor and get some routine tests done today itself.”
“But, I am fine; we don’t need to waste time in that.”
“Its not wastage of time, it is important and we are going.”
So, that day after having an early lunch they went to the hospital got checked out, it was common cold, but her age could have made it more complicated if ignore for longer. After that they went for a bit of shopping and then returned home. They chatted for hours after coming home and her heart was filled with delight and pleasure. She talked her heart out with her beloved son. Later that evening while he went out to meet his friends she ensured that dinner had everything of his preference in it.
Soon three days went by; she didn’t realise how fast time flew by. She was happy and busy in taking care of her son and doing everything in her power to ensure he was happy and comfortable despite his not needing it anymore. Her house had the spirit of laughter and chatter again. There were noises of two people talking and laughing and she was in love with this. She missed her daughter and wished if she too were here, but she was happy with what she was given. Soon the time came for her son to go back to his job. She knew the time for saying goodbye was coming nearer and she started bracing herself for the same.
Nishant too was dreading the time to go back though he knew he would get busy with work once he got back and life will soon get back to normal. However for his Mom life would get back to its monotonous self. It was the day Nishant was leaving for another few months. His flight was in the evening in a few hours. His mother was fidgeting over small things he might need before leaving, but Nishant made her stop and sat down with her to talk.
“Mom, I know you don’t take enough care of yourself as u do of the house. This time I want you to start living your life outside the four boundaries of this house.”
“Explore what you enjoy and Start doing those things, and I want you in better health the next time we meet.”
Feeling at a loss of words on hearing this Smita wondered what he meant by those lines. As far as she was concerned, she was already living her life, doing what she knew to do best which was taking care of her family and her house.
“What do you mean, son?”
“I mean live your life, not just taking care of household things, go beyond that, take care of yourself and be happy doing things you love.”
“I already do that.”
“No, earlier it was taking care of us, working, running the house, now its just running the house, so use the extra time, we can take care of ourselves now, you do whatever pleases you.”
Smita understood what he meant pretty well. She thought of things she always wanted to do but somehow could never do them. Smiling to both herself and Nishant she promised him… “I will be happy, don’t worry about me so much… focus on your work there and do not ignore your health.”
Nishant knew when it was fruitless to continue a topic and didn’t press this any further. He accepted her promise hoping she will abide by it. It was the time to leave. He took his bags towards the cab waiting outside. He was at the gate of the house after putting his bags in the cab, he looked back at his mom smiled the same smile that brightened her dull days and said, “Goodbye Mom.”
Smita heard those two most dreaded words and was saddened as always at the very thought of her son leaving her. She loved her children above anything else and couldn’t bear to be away from them but she knew a mother has to throw her babies out of her nest to make them fly on their own. So she hardened herself and accepted the distance as she always had. She knew once again she would have to welcome her old friend, ‘loneliness’. Her house would be once again without the cheer and laughter of her beloved children and above all there would be nobody for her to talk. She did not give attention to her own emotions, for it was more important that he son could go back guilt free and resume his duties so that he could flourish in his career and be successful at whatever he set his mind to. So despite wanting to tear up, she showed no signs of weakness. She took a deep breath and composed herself.
Smiling back at her son, returning the same bright face which he just gave her, she hugged him, blessed him and bid him goodbye. She stood there at the door till she saw the cab take a turn and go out of her line of sight. Then she went back inside the now once again empty house, bracing herself to greet her old friends, monotony and loneliness.
However, this time she will make some changes and live her life the way her son had asked, as what her children wanted was always most important to her. She too wanted a much needed change in her life.
P.S. Sorry for the long post, and this a completely fictional post 😉