On the occasion of Diwali, five years back, I was roaming around the market holding the hand of my five and a half years old son, Amitesh. Earthen idols of many Gods were adoring the shelves, made of wooden planks, on both sides of the road. Suddenly my son let out a joyous cry with his eyes wide open as if he had seen something uncommon or unusual. He pulled my arm and took me to a shop with shelves lined with so many earthen idols. There he pointed his finger to the effigy of Ardhnareeshwara.I got the point and upon gauging the depth and sensitivity of his curiosity I kept silent and tried to distract his attention to the things going around in the market. I had guessed the impending volley of questions from his side.
On the way back home, as expected, Amitesh began showering me with questions about the significance of half man and half woman as a single entity. I paused for a moment as the answer to his questions enveloped an immense philosophy a tender mind could perhaps hardly grasp. I tried to explain in as simple manner as I could do. Being a single father I had to face so many uncommon questions from Amitesh.
I said that no one in this universe is absolute or pristine except that Almighty God. Every male had some female qualities and similarly every female has some male qualities. There is nothing like an absolute male or absolute female.
"Wow! Papa, then a male can also discharge a female's job with as much perfection as it is done by a female?" Amitesh asked with eyes shining with confidence.
"Yes!" I shook my head in affirmation.
As there is an old saying that time has wings. Time went by, Amitesh kept growing parallelly and he turned ten and half years old in a flash of second.
These Autumn vacations I decided to take him to his adoption agency to let him meet the people who had once raised him. I don't want to hide the truth from him and will feel happy accompanying him if he ever expressed his desire to know about his roots.
I hired a car and we both father and son duo started travelling the place that adoption agency is located in. Amitesh was three and a half years old when he came "his" home here in Delhi from Odisha. This journey of 80 kms. from Cuttack to Kendrapara was proving pretty long and heavy. In fact I was running out of patience.
After almost seven years Amitesh had set out to meet his, in one sense, extended family members who had once fostered him with utter motherly love and care. I was observing him from the corners of my eyes every now and then. But found him always devoid of any curiosity and feelings about that journey.
Upon reaching the Institution we found all the staff and children there on cloud nine as they were meeting Amitesh after a long span of seven years time. They had already been informed about our arrival. But I noticed Amitesh looking around with a strange look, expressionless face and eyes staring at them with a queer expressions. Though he was able to recognize the faces and name of all the female care givers and matrons. They were all pulling him to cuddle and caress him but he would shrink and tug my shirt with more force.
"Amitesh! Do you recognize her?" I asked Amitesh.
"Yes! Papa. She is Janki, my foster Bohu" said Amitesh.
(In Odiya Bohu means mother.)
I got surprised on hearing the word foster Bohu. I asked him as to what he meant by foster Bohu.
He explained. "Papa! You are my real mother and father both."
I stressed being a male I can be your father only.
"Oh Papa! How forgetful you are. Recall that interpretation of Ardhnareeshwar's idol you told me that day."
I stressed my memory a lot but could recall.
"Let me tell you. You told me no one in this universe is absolute or pristine. Every male has female qualities and every female has male qualities. Then how come you can't be my mother? In fact you are my mother and father both in a single body" Amitesh said all in a single breath.
I stood rooted to the place with my mouth agape and listened to the replica of my words I said years back. I forgot my own words but he had found an answer about being raised by a single father and these words had got deep rooted in the mind of a child of such tender age.