Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Believe ...

He ran across the streets almost in a fit, pushing through the crowd as if waging a war against all who came in his way. Almost breathless by the time he reached home, he banged the door open and asked aloud,

“Ma where is the little girl?”

“Little girl, whom are you talking about?”

“The little girl Ma, what do you mean by who?”

She hardly had the time to listen to him, the dough had to be made, vegetables cut and cooked, the house cleaned and then her own daily rituals of worship to be performed.

“You have become selfish ”, he said while hunting madly for the “little girl” amidst the heaps of old newspapers and rags piled up in one corner of the room; “don’t you care for that puny creature?”

She had got quite used to her son’s blabbering to respond to or get perplexed about what he said.

Tired by his solitary search for someone whom her mother refused to recognize, for someone only he cared and no one else did, he sat and shut his eyes in desperation.

How could he find her, he didn’t even remember what she wore or how she looked? But he had seen her enter; he had seen her enter his house in the dark of night when the sky was glowing red by the reflection of the fire that burnt the houses in the village.

He had seen her, from behind the curtain, enter the house and hide herself behind those pots in the garden. He had heard her moan in fear or pain; which he knew not. Only that he was too scared to go and get her in.

But she could not have gone out with all the violence on the streets. She had to be there inside his house, he would give her to eat, make her sleep comfortably; tell her that everything would be fine.

But where was she? Nowhere in the vicinity, he had searched everywhere. How could she just vanish like that?

He broke into an irrepressible cry, “I have to find her or I shall be doomed Ma, help!”

She made him rest on her lap, stroking his hair with care, “Son, it might sound crude but it is the truth. It is perhaps the cycle of nature, men fall in love with creation, get amazed by its wonders, explore it on their own terms and then … then again creation takes back all unto it self and creates again.

Don’t be afraid. Pray. ”

He couldn’t bear her words, “I am not afraid, you don’t understand.

I want to help, to save that little girl; it is not safe for her to be out now.

You have lost faith, haven’t you? But I haven’t Ma.

I have faith in me; I’ll go and find her.”

Tears rolled down her cheeks, where fate had drawn an inscrutable web of lines, and moistened her eyes until she could no longer clearly see her son’s hopeless face.

“God bless!” is all she could utter as he walked out in a search only he could define and know.

Being Born

It was one of those days when I was so happy being myself, my own little world defined so much to me that I hardly looked beyond to search for something which could redefine or add meaning to my life. I was myself. You would probably interpret it reader, as a natural consequence of my becoming pregnant with a child; this sudden revelation of the motherhood inherent quenched the thirst of exploring in and out. Well, if you think so I shall not deny. I was engrossed in knowing new aspects of myself. At times I would be amazed to see that I was so much capable of caring for my own self and later realized that it was all for the baby I was carrying.

This flexibility of my child’s identity and mine was wonderful, it would merge into one and the next moment would split into two. So inexpressible it was to see the identities play within me! Can I ever define my joy? Perhaps not. Then one day the identities split into two forever, what had been lighting lamps within me was there radiating in my arms. I kissed him and felt my warm lips touching my own forehead. I smiled; I had got into the habit of feeling him within. He lay there quietly by my side, a smile on his face would suddenly dissipate into a frown and then would break into a cry and I read the expressions on his face as I read a book.

It was then, when I was doting on him, I heard a shrill cry break out in a thunderous shriek, I held him close to my heart. He was still asleep, unperturbed by the sound. The shriek did not end, someone was howling ceaselessly. A mother had lost her month old infant, the nurse told me. Tears overstepped my eyes imperceptibly, I had never seen how it is when a life disintegrates into nothing and all that one knows as a being flies off without bidding a farewell. Yet I shivered and could no longer hold my child in my arms. His poised sleeping face was too large for me to bear upon my chest. I cried and knew that the next moment I could laugh.