Abstract Children Others
Born in a family of 9 siblings, Asmita was the youngest girl. Her family couldn't be even bothered to remember the day she was born on, though her older brothers and even the two younger ones had their birth dates and times noted dutifully by her father. And so the beginning of the financial year was chosen as her birthday and to this day, she has never had the opportunity of celebrating it.
Yet her reminiscences about her childhood were happy and nostalgic. She remembered climbing on trees, the boat rides to her school during monsoons, the women singing at night, selling things to buy her favourite chikkis along with her brother and their subsequent thrashing by her father on being caught, the ripe mangoes and the early morning jalebis. Thinking about those days were her way of escaping from the grimness of reality.
Marriage had come with its fair share of responsibilities and restrictions. She had always been a closet romantic, a simple girl who had a penchant for painting and writing letters in a poetic style. But her affections were mistaken for naivety, her devotion taken for granted and her honesty scorned at. She used to yearn for a word of appreciation, a look of understanding and all she got in return were bits and crumbs. Slowly, she learnt to realign her expectations and made her two children her priority. She started seeing her dreams and aspirations in them..their tears became her tears, their laughter hers, their achievements a source of pride for her and their well-being a reason for her to work tirelessly throughout the day.
And so this had continued for 18 years until today. Today, her son was going away to college and she was afraid of what she would do with her days henceforth. She shook herself from the daydreaming and went about with the frantic packing. Her son, being him, had left everything for the last moment and went out to meet his friends. As she was organising his desk, she saw a box wrapped in a piece of paper. She unfurled it and saw that in her son's handwriting was a letter for her.
Thank you for all the years you've put in our upbringing. You are our strength and our moral compass. Not withstanding the many, many difficulties you've faced, you have handled them with an admirable grace, setting an example for the both of us. You bind people with love and nurture your relationships with care and respect. You have shielded us from all the bad in the world, the criticisms and the ridicules and always told us to believe in ourselves and take them in our stride. We are grateful for all those lessons.
You may think that you don't have an identity of your own but we know that wherever we are in our lives has been because of you and only you.
But now, I want you to focus on yourself and reclaim all that you left and lost. I want you to read again, write again, paint, to make friends, to sing, to not be worried about what we might be eating and have a proper sleep at night.
We'll be with you like you have always been for us. Sorry for not telling you this before but we are immensely proud of you.
Love you Ma.''
Her eyes were filled with tears but a smile played on her lips. She read the letter again, picked up a piece of paper and started writing a letter to her son.