anchal shukla



anchal shukla




4 mins

"Mom…are you listening???" Sneha jostled my shoulders to get my attention, but my mind today was not in her conversation. She was telling me what happened in her cartoon show, but my mind kept drifting to incidents of the morning. Dejected and scared, I hugged her fiercely. She looked at me slightly startled but then hugged me back habitually.

Then she left me and moved on to play with her toys. Typical four year old behavior. Never sitting still nor mind focused on one task for more than few minutes. I looked at her adoringly as she tried to plait her doll’s hair unsuccessfully. She was my solace, my identity, my world. My day started and ended with her. I was her Mother, that’s what mattered. The job I have left after her birth, the social circle I was ignoring, the friends who complained; everything else was immaterial.

I have now become accustomed to ignore everything and everyone but family can’t be ignored.

On and off there were few altercations but recently those things became much more regular.

Sneha is the angel who lighted our life. Rishi, my husband dotted on her. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her. He became worried even if she sneezed.

Sneeze..that’s all it took to start the argument today.

Sneha sneezed in the morning today. The weather has turned a bit chilly, and Sneha being a bit sensitive, attracted illness much more than other kids her age. Maybe because of her weak immune system or due to over protective nature of my family. She was not allowed to venture out apart from school, no playing in parks, no getting drenched in rains, no ice-cream, no cold drinks…..nothing what her age kids enjoyed.

So Sneha sneezed once, twice and again, I ignored as I knew she will be normal after few minutes. I took her to bathroom, to bathe her and get ready for school.

My mother in law, who usually avoided taking any interest in Sneha, came barging in the bedroom.

"Why is Sneha sneezing so much? Is she okay?", she demanded in a slightly raised voice. It bellowed in the early morning quiet house.

Rishi woke up hearing her question, looked at me demanding an answer. I replied, "‘She usually does that when weather changes. Nothing to worry."

"Huh…why nothing to worry? She had cold 3-4 days back and now again she is sneezing. And you are sending her to school", She said in an irritated voice.

"Mummy jee she is okay. Don’t worry." I tried to pacify her. But it backfired.

"If Mummy is saying that Sneha is sneezing and she might not be well. Then why do you need to argue and send her to school? " Mummy jee’s son spoke.

"But Rishi she has already missed lot of classes. And she is okay. Look no sneezing now."

"Yeah only she knows best about kids. We don’t know anything. Our three kids grew up by themselves." Mummy jee cribbed in an almost whining voice.

That was the last straw for Rishi, the obedient son. He shouted, "When Mummy said not to send her school, then don’t send her school. Why do you need to argue every time?"

Every time??? I don’t even answer back let alone argue as I know no use of putting your perspective or truth in front of him or her. I have always been the guilty one and will remain so.

Discretely wiping my eyes I went in the bathroom, to get Sneha changed for home. Before I could close the door, I heard the whispered taunt from Mummy jee to Rishi, "What kind of mother is she? Not concerned about her child’s health."

I waited for Rishi to refute her, at least on this. He knows how much I love Sneha and I value her above me. He knows I am awake the whole night when she is not well. He knows I don't eat till she has eaten. He has seen the atheist me praying for her everyday. He knows I keep fast for her twice a week. He knows everything. The good and obedient son won't let down the mother of his child today.

But I heard another whisper instead, "Mummy you know naa… No one can take place of Birth mother."

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