A Real Mother
A Real Mother11 mins 180 11 mins 180
It is the twenty-first summer in Sumati's life. She along with her family lives in a Jhoopri, a temporary hut, that has been erected at the edge of a canal, known as Maratha canal. A long time ago when British didn't invade India Marathas often used it as their passage for trading. Although all these stories were told by her grandfather she remembers still which she observed in her own eyes in childhood that it served many purposes when it was linked with the Ganga river resulted
from an abundant supply of water throughout the year made it perennial. In her childhood, she often observed standing at the edge of it to pass many boats full of jute or sometimes-earthen pots. Now it is of no use from when its lock gate has been locked for a long time. Since then its stagnant water becomes the birthplace of mosquitoes and as soon as the night falls they start hovering the surrounding areas like vampires making the situation unbearable to all, especially, Sumati and her family despite they use mosquito - net in their room recently.
Their room is altogether a rectangular space of twelve feet in length and eight feet in breadth,
enclosed by the bamboo structure with polythene cover providing a living room, kitchen and everything. Maratha canal is very useful to them for all-purpose, especially to use as a toilet. There is no space in this world of God where they can bathe secretly. Perhaps he forgot that being a part of human civilization they would have the same consciousness that we have but compelled by the force of nature they do bathe every day by using a water faucet that has been erected by the Municipal Corporation in an opened area. From early morning to night, they maintain a regular code of their life except for the days when they face blows from either police or Municipal Corporation but those are occasional. Then they are forced to remove their hut for a few days and
when the matter is settled down, they erect it again.
Everything in their life is temporary between birth and death. Sumati never dreams a long future even if she tries sometimes, it moves only within today or tomorrow - a long future resembles her a fathomless deep well in which only dense dark prevails that scares Sumati. She, like other days, also gets up early in the morning as to visit many houses. She works as a house cleaner for washing cloths and dirty utensils, cleaning of floors, etc. Her only daughter Rani is still sleeping lying by the side of her father who is also in a deep sleep. She gives a motherly kiss on her sleeping daughter's forehead and then she whisperingly says to Jiban, her husband, " I am leaving,
lock the door." When she came out of the jhupri, diffused light was slowly scattering beyond the horizon, the first drowsy crow of the day cawed from its nest with a slightly muffled tone followed by the chirping of sparrows from somewhere. Morning prayer brought by a cool breeze from a distant mosque was matched to the morning ambiance.
When she got into the first house, everything was visible by the morning light. Completing work of six houses one by one when she stepped down at the last house of Pratap Bose, the sun was then almost at overhead. Pratap Bose, a wealthy man, earns fat money by his both hands as a road contractor under the municipal corporation. He has been living here with his wife Rima and a little
daughter Trishika. She is two years elder than Rani. To Trishika she has something frantic in her affection. By the force of this franticness, she took special care on Trishika since she was born. To Trishika she was not a simple maid but something more. She often brings something for Trishika despite knowing that these are not the liking matter to Rima. Rima forbade her several times not to bring anything in this manner but an utmost emotional thrust penetrates her heart to do that again and again. As time went on when her affection transformed into a sense of possession that she could not understand. She often took her for a walk or for playing in the park but she never claimed extra money for that.
However, in this way, eleven years had passed. What would be the outcome of her impatient
attitude to Trishika that could be guessed easily and one day that had happened to her when before entering their house she bought two packets of chocolates, one was for Trishika and another was for Rani. Lest she should fall on the sight of Rima, she quickly tied it up at the loosened end of her loincloth. When she was sweeping the floor, she saw Trishika reading in her room. Affection made her hurry to hand over the packet to Trishika. Trishika hurriedly finished it as soon as she had that and then she peeped out of the door, " Go now, mom would come at
any moment." she said whisperingly giving the empty packet to Sumati. “Yes, yes I go," taking the empty packet Sumati came out from her room. When Sumati returned home, the tropical sun at the overhead was shining like a fireball. From a distance, she saw Rani standing in front of their jhupri seemed to be waiting for her mother's coming. On seeing her mother, Rani came forward
quickly and embraced her. Chocolate packet made Rani very glad. Wiping sweat from forehead with the loosened end of her cloth, Sumoti entered into the jhoopri.
Next morning, also she went to Rima's house as usual. When she was entering the house, she saw at a glance to Rima stood on the balcony inquisitively, probably, for her coming. Seeing her entering the house, Rima, from there, said gesticulatingly," Sumati please come upstairs immediately."
On passing in front of the Trishika's room, she peeped through the narrow gap of the doors. She saw her lying on the bed. Bewilderingly she became scared by the situation. " Sumati I told you several times not to bring anything for Trishika but you didn't listen to me. Do you know what happened? He got a serious stomach pain since midnight and today she couldn't go to school. Do you understand how much it was essential to her to attend school today before the exam? You are all useless. I didn't mean that eating chocolate is the only cause of that but...." Now Sumoti
understood everything. At first, she was a little confused than scared and lastly grieved. She said, “No boudi (sister-in-law), I will never do that mistake again in future, I am sorry." Her eyes became obscured by the unrestrained flow of tears.
She continued with chocked voice, "From now I will never bring anything for her. I never want that for my fault she suffers." She silently came out from Rima's room and stood for a while at the stairhead, she thought something for a while and then went to Trishika's room slowly. She was still sleeping. A childish innocence on her sleeping face escalated Sumaoti's flow of motherly philia to touch her forehead but she controlled herself by the thought of restrictions that were imposed on her by Rima. She could not understand how simple chocolate could be the cause of her illness as Rani also ate the same kind of it. She left the room and taking a broom started sweeping the floor. In this world, a strong always hinders a weak and their path of glory is laid on the foundation of the weaker’s sacrifice. A weak always take birth to be a machine to produce a rose bed for strong and that has been happening since then when life set off its journey in this planet- this is the law of nature.
Fifteen years have passed rapidly. Within this long period, she never turned back her face towards the Pratap Bose's house since she left the place on that very day. Although longing for Trishika at least for a single, moment made her restless sometimes. She sometimes imagined that these twenty years surely composed Trishika a beautiful lady. Her daughter Rani has also grown up a pretty looking girl. All these thoughts in a moment threw her in a contradiction and she started
struggling to way out that how she could avoid Rima's call that suddenly came in this morning after a long silence from both sides. However, she decided to go there not only to allay her thirst of affection on Trishika through a glance, which she held back for a long time but today also she wanted to stand before Rima face to face. She could realize that the chocolate was an excuse that Rima used on that day as a shield to protect her possession on her daughter, Trishika. All mothers, in this world, are very protective to their child.
When a mother once starts perceiving a baby of her own, an unwritten motherly affection is raised; an unconditional relation is automatically made between them. Then, it does not matter who gave rise the baby. Thus, Sumoti never condemned Rima for what she had done as a mother but she would be a little polite, she would gently behave with her that a respectable woman does with others. She should not forget that everyone has dignity. Is there no contribution of Sumoti in her life? How did she forget all these so quickly?
Sumoti saw Rima from a little distance standing at the entrance of their house talking with someone. Sumoti was confused by seeing the gathering of many people there, as it seemed to be a sort of ceremony was going on. On seeing her, Rima came forward and with a soft voice said, “come with me please." They both entered into a room where Trishika was waiting for rituals in wedding dress surrounded by many friends. She looked very gorgeous, her forehead was
resplended with sandal paste beautifully and above that, a flower - the crown was fixed to adorn the whole appearance. Trishika once looked at her. She had a fragile beauty of youth. Rima said to her daughter, “Would you recognize her?” She continued," Sumoti, long time ago she worked here. She loved you. I mean she loves you. Would you remember her? "
She gazed at her bewilderedly for a moment, then said, “Yes, as far as I can remember, once you gave me chocolate after that my stomach pain started but I'm sure that was not happened because of eating chocolate but because of some other reason that my mom knows very well. Since then you are off. Am I right? " “Yes," Sumoti said whisperingly with a grin in her face. She tried to say, “I forgot all these and I couldn't understand also that why, after a long time, a woman like me, was remembered by you all again especially on this auspicious day who is already tagged by the society a destitute, wretched, uneducated and also is disentitled for having an invitation in a ceremony." But she could say nothing only she put off a gold chain from her neck silently, gave it to Trishika, she blessed by touching her forehead. She turned around her face towards the door silently. She couldn't say anything those were to be said. All words in mind have remained
unspeakable. All desires of those that had to be done remain in mind as desires.
Only she felt a drop of warm - water on her feet that probably fell off from her own eyes unconsciously. When she was almost coming out from their house, Rima called her behind and said, " These are something little for your family, please take these." Watching on some bowls and dishes with foods Sumoti thought awhile and said, “Please Boudi, these are not much necessary, you remembered me after a long time, that's enough to me. Please let me go now." Approaching little towards the door she around her face again to Rima and asked, “When they will leave tomorrow, Boudi?”
Rima replied," I'm hoping by10 o'clock in the morning." Next morning, Sumoti reached there before time and saw that the bridegroom both were ready for leaving as rituals were almost finished. They were ready to get into the car. Sumoti hid against a wall so that nobody could see her. Trishika's forever departure from this place certainly anguished her but she couldn't shed
tears like others. Only she could feel an unknown pain growing somewhere in her mind. It seemed to be a motherly pain that only a mother can feel it. Suddenly, by the thought of a piece of paper changed her mind. Her chins became hardened and she thought, why should she cry? What an important relation they had. It was nothing but a mechanically processed relation through an umbilical cord that she had already torn in past with her hand. She was of no more use in Trishika's life.
Her job had finished with the birth of this baby. Nothing was left in this relationship because she just had allowed her to be sprung up in her womb, nothing more of it. She was just a surrogate mother not a real mother. Suchrelation shouldn't have emotional bondage because she had let out her womb for hire as when she often observed Rima shedding tears day after day silently for a
motherly crisis. Finally, she came to know that there is no chance for Rima to be a mother in future that her motherly affection melted by the thought of her newborn baby and then she agreed with their proposal. Thus, that relation laid on a written contract bound by the rules that were erected like a barrier between a mother and a child. Despite she knew that sometimes she couldn't control herself. There was a force at the deepest bottom of her heart couldn't be controlled. It was so obstinate and so powerful that it crushed easily the barrier made by a legal paper.
Stricken by the sudden car's horn Sumoti regained her consciousness and she saw the car started moving towards the gate, women were making a sound, a ritual practice, by moving their tongues in mouth, the car came out of the gate and slowly went out of the sight leaving some whirling dust over the black metalled road.