And then my soul saw you and kind of went, " Oh! there you are. I've been looking for you."
''Mira ! Where are you.. we should be leaving for the hospital. '' Boomed Honey's voice! '' Coming Honey, '' trailed Mira feebly..What happened to Mira? She sounded so weak.
As long as I can remember, Mira was a gregarious soul with peels of laughter resonating and loud talk.. What happened to her today?
Well, who would tell me.. They were all busy in their world, doing stuff beyond my imagination. The only thing that kept me alive and kicking in this house was Mira's immense love for me and how much care she took of me!!
When the doctor had told her once that I was getting frail, not a good sign, she became doubly cautious. Went into a tizzy fussing around me; Ensured timely and healthy meals with more nutrition and vitamins..Taking me regularly out in the evenings for fresh air and sitting with me on the terrace to bask in the tender sunrays, late in the afternoons. She also made sure that I got undisturbed sleep. By doing all this she believed that I would come out of my chronic foul mood and cheer up, be relaxed, a necessity for my age and constitution.
Honey would give me a fast hug and a tiny peck before leaving for office, his affection started & ended there! It was the two kids I dreaded . They were so wild.. Pulling and jostling, hurting us both in the process, until Mira would rush to my rescue: a daily ritual while leaving for school - it was their way of saying goodbye!
A little less than a year since I began my stay with them and already it felt like family. They all loved me in their own weird ways and I needed to respect their feelings.. instructed myself!!
After all left, Mira would lock the main door and come to spend some time with me. This time of the day I cherished the most! She would sit in a rocking chair besides the bay window overlooking the garden downstairs, put on some lilting music and talk to me anything and everything, describe things she was seeing and happenings around or about some happy moments. She would always share her heart and happiness; it made me love her all the more!
After sometime her words would trail off midway in a sentence; she must have dozed off I guessed. It was her nap time.. After all that hectic packing off to office and school, she needed to relax and breathe. A warm glass of milk and a nap unwound her. By now I had got acclimatised to her daily routine. Amidst all this, I too would try to catch up on my sleep.
Heaving a sigh, I closed my eyes, it was a habit of late, not that I could see when wide open.. and went back to sleep, the one best job I ever did: I slept like a log, they said ! But then, when the world is all dark and you are just listening to voices and noises, what can one supposedly do!!
Even sleep is evading me nowadays, think I am having a bout of insomnia! Nights are getting worse. Keep awake for most part. Could do with some more elbow room, the room they have put me up in, is getting claustrophobic : but how could one ask of them, such good souls putting everything on the back burner and bending over backwards, catering to my every need, whim and fancy !!
The stark silence of the nights made me feel more forlorn. Could not afford to disturb them, all being early risers. I had to adapt to their timings and keep out of their way, as much as possible.. At such times It was Honey"s loud snoring and Mira's rhythmic breathing that kept me company!
As random thoughts tried to play spoilsport, I shut myself up and tried listening to the music which relaxed me in all ways. In no time I was fast asleep. I should try this more often!
That was a good couple of hours of rest, woke up refreshed with a smile. The first time after many days. Mira tells me gently, not wanting to hurt me, that nowadays I am getting grumpy and difficult.. My patience is wearing out and the slightest discomfort triggers my irritation. I wake up with a foul mood and it is not until I have my breakfast, I remain so.. Well, well hunger makes one so, doesn"t she know a hungry man is an angry man! And there is always the age factor at play.. I am growing older.
As I was soaking in all around, I heard a pleasant voice. Isn't that Nana! Recognised her gentle sing song voice. If there was one soul other than Mira whom I loved and trusted the most, it was Nana. The whole house seemed to light up in her presence, a darling of the whole family. She lived nearby, would drop in the mornings, help Mira with her chores and leave in the evenings after tea. She exuded a warmth and gave a feeling of comfort when around.. I just looked forward to her weekly visits which as luck would have it, had become daily of late!!
She loved baking and serving delectable stuff to the kids on their return from school, pleasant smells wafted from the kitchen. The gentlest person I have ever known and the fact that she loved my Mira so much, endeared her all the more.. She would never fail to stop by me, enquire about my health and say a few sweet things to lift my spirits for the entire day!
Now coming to the two kids, Abi and Mini.. the wildest kids ever I came across, felt bullied and insecure in their presence. Their alarming shrills on return from school would scare me out of my wits! Just when I would be all at peace, enjoying my siesta after a heavy lunch . Their decible levels shattering my tranquil proved beyond my tolerance levels (which weren't very flattering though!)
Screaming, pushing and jostling, throwing satchels and shoes, I could picture it all. Seriously some disciplining would do them good. Abi is a bit reasonable among the two. Running straight to me, he would enquire softly how my day went, now, isn't that sweet for his age? Mini was the wilder one, shouting out in joy as she ran towards me and planting a big kiss that hurt me more until, as usual Mira came to my rescue. I need to be more tolerant, I thought to myself, the kids did love me after all!
It was just when I was settling down, having a good time in this house that I heard this hospital talk..
Things started moving at a fast pace. All were in a mad rush, instructions thrown at one and all, doors getting banged and locked, the family car roaring and screeching; I really abhor that noise!!
Silently praying for Mira, I went along. Nana too came with us and I felt better. After a drive that seemed took ages, we were at the hospital. Some time in waiting and then meeting the Doctor. Honey took Mira, this time in a wheelchair for some tests.. Went along and a long wait ensued. It made me tired and hungry, feeble that I was and also age fast catching up. Exhausted by now, I felt giddy and nauseated after this madness, so much so that, shutting myself up, calming down, curled up and dozed off! Sleeping over hunger or any problem beyond one's control always pays!!
After an hour or two when I woke up..what do I see..Such bright light flashing; couldn't open my eyes. Happy voices chirping all around.. a different world! Is this heaven?
Squinting hard..faces and more faces hovering all over.. . Never before seen sight.. What had happened.. Braving all odds and the harsh blinding light, curious that I was to see what the commotion all around was. People and more people filled the room. Felt out of sorts and homesick, until I heard Nana"s reassuring voice, '' Move, move.. let in some air.. Umm.. let me give to mamma. ''
What was that! I felt being lifted up, my stomach went down, a strange fuzzy sensation.. It was pretty scary and then-- a warm pair of arms encircling around me. It felt so safe and cozy, just like the tiny room they had put me up in!
As I turned up to see (quite an effort that was!) who held me so close to their heart? my eyes met a pair of almond shaped brown eyes, gentle and moist. As it became clearer, I saw a beautiful face, the same angelic countenance, I had seen regularly in my dreams! As she cooed sweet nothings in my ear..the voice sounded familiar.. Hark ! isn't it MIRA's!!
It took my tiny brain a little while to comprehend :
It was MIRA, my Mother. Was seeing her FOR THE FIRST TIME!!
She was holding me gently in her arms as an excited Honey bent over and kissed my cheeks.. He was my father Mr. Hariharan, Honey.. that's how Mom addressed him! Who is this boy.. All wild and excited.. Oh my brother Abhishek and this jumping jack shouting in glee.. My sister Meenakshi and then here is my loving Nana, just as I had imagined. Their distinct voices, I was so familiar, hearing every day since the past ten months.. They were my FAMILY!!
I WAS BORN THAT DAY