Ashish, a ten-year old boy, enjoyed playing music and creating new compositions all the time. He was a genius at this tender age. All his friends, his teachers, and his relatives appreciated and admired his talent but somewhere deep down, there was a vacuum in his life.
He missed his mother who had left him six years back, to be with God. Ashish would talk to her during the nights when the sky was full of twinkling stars.
It was raining that night. Ashish did not feel like eating anything as he had not talked to his mother in the sky. He was sitting next to window, staring at the sky, trying to get a glimpse of his mom.
Suddenly, the lightening struck and there was a heavy downpour. Ashish was scared and he hid himself in a corner of the blanket on his bed. He did not share his room with anyone, and so he could not look out for any help. He was trembling with fear for so long a time that he started feeling a pain in the chest.
“Ashish…Ashish…Are you there in the room?” He heard someone calling his name.
He peeped out of the blanket. There was no one.
“Are you there, my son?” Came the voice again. This time Ashish was a bit more confident and he uncovered his face to check the face of the voice calling his name with so much love.
He still did not see anyone.
“Will you please walk up to the window?” It was a familiar voice but Ashish was not sure.
Ashish slowly moved from the bed, kept the blanket aside and started walking to the window. His feet were still shaking.
“I have been waiting for you for so long. I haven't heard your music for the entire day today.”
This statement surprised Ashish. Who was this lady? How did she know that Ashish composed music? Who was calling him to the window?
He was frightened but wanted to check this mysterious lady in the rain.
He gathered all courage, sped to the window. He quickly opened the pane that was closed due to strong winds outside, and had been banging for sometime now. He tried to look outside the window. It was pitch dark. He could only see a lady wearing a salwar suit standing at a distance.
“I am Manasi, your mother.”
Ashish could not believe his ears. How was this possible? She had left him when he was still a child.
He did not remember the face but the voice sounded familiar. He knew he was talking to someone who was very close to his heart; but there was something which was not right. Ashish was driven to the voice but his mind was warning him against the move.
“Can you please come a little closer to the window? I cannot see you.”
The figure took a few steps towards the window. Ashish’s heartbeat increased. He could hear the thudding clearly.
“Will you please come here…I want to see your face. I feel I know you, but you can’t be my mother! She left me when I was a little child. You cannot fool me.” There was fear in his heart but boldness in his voice.
“Who told you that I was gone?”
“Everyone knows it. She died in an accident.”
The figure stopped suddenly. “Oh! Is that so?”
“Why did you stop walking? Do you think you are caught?” said the innocent, but a firm voice.
“No my child, I am not afraid that I am caught; I am afraid how will you react if you see me?” The voice was feeble now. There was pain, and Ashish could feel the pain in that voice.
“I am not scared of you. Come closer…I want to see your face. You have been calling my name, and you missed my music. I need to know about you.”
“Ok…But promise me, you will not shout when you see my face.”
“Fine. I promise. Now please, come here.”
The figure came very close but it was still very dark. As the figure walked towards Ashish, he froze for a moment. He could not believe what he saw. The lady resembled the pictures hanging in his room. How was this possible?
He was speechless. The lady touched his forehead. It was a familiar touch…very soothing, very loving. He faintly remembered his mother’s voice.
Was it a dream? Or was God so gracious that He had decided to send Ashish's mom back? Had God realized what kind of pains and loneliness Ashish went through, day in and day out?
“Ashish…It's me, your mother...” Ashish was now staring at the lady; he could not even blink.
“Really?" He tried to touch her face. "But how is it possible? How can God send you back to me? They all say that people who become stars never come back!” There was innocence in his questions. He was still unable to believe what his eyes saw.
“I never became a star, my son. I was around all these years. It is true that I met with an accident but God was gracious enough to keep me alive…for you!”
Happy tears replaced the raindrops on soft, chubby cheeks.
“Why didn’t you come from the main gate? Why were you calling my name from the window?”
Ashish was still trying to convince himself that he was not dreaming.
“It was easy for me to come from the main gate, my child. I wanted to make sure that no one has taken my place here. So, I was hiding away from all family members, but I could not stay away from you.”
“Then you should have come from the front door…I would have opened the door for you!”
“I know Ashish. But I did not want to wake up anyone at this hour and I knew you would be awake as the window was not closed.”
She looked at Ashish and continued.
“I have heard you playing such melodious music for so many days. I have also seen you talking to the stars. But today you did not play the music; nor did you come out and speak to the stars. I have been waiting for hours now. Since it is very late, I knew everyone was asleep and you were not. The lights are still on. So, I decided to call you.”
Ashish was still lost. He did not get his answer. Was he really talking to his mother? Or was it a ghost? Was it his imagination?
“Ok…I believe you. Can I request something? Will you please come from the front door NOW? I am sure Papa will be very happy to see you…He misses you too, Mom. We will all stay together happily.”
Manasi did not refuse the request. She was glad that Ashish cared so much for his father. Even at this hour, he was thinking about his father when he himself missed her so much all these years. She was proud of her strong son.
But how would Manish react? She had been missing for a long time.
“Do you really want me to come and stay with you?”
“Yes Mom.” Ashish took a deep breath and continued, “I am going to open the main door. Please come from there. I am waiting there.” And he ran to the open the front door.
Manasi was pleasantly surprised. She could feel the excitement in the happy feet jumping swiftly on the floor.
On his way to opening the door, Ashish had knocked his father’s door and asked Manish to accompany Ashish to the main door.
“Dad! There is a surprise for you…Come fast with me!” By now, Ashish was convinced somewhat.
Manish could feel the excitement and happiness in his child’s voice. He wanted to ask more, but Ashish had no time. So, Manish just walked briskly with Ashish to the main door.
The little hands did not reach the latch of the main door. Ashish asked Manish to open the door and stood behind him.
As Manish was still trying to figure out, he opened the door. He was equally shocked at what he saw. He could not believe his eyes…Ashish ran and hugged Manasi. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she hugged the little angel.
Manish was still trying to come to terms with what he saw. He looked at Manasi, she had lost weight and looked weak.
Manasi looked at Manish, scared of his reaction. Will he accept her back after so many years? Had someone replaced Manasi in Manish’s life? There were many questions hitting her mind.
After hugging her son, she got up and started walking out. Ashish ran after her and stopped her.
“Manasi? Is that you?” asked Manish.
“Yes Manish. I survived the accident. I was in a hospital all these years, undergoing treatment. By the time I remembered everything, it was six years and I was not sure if I would be accepted. I have been staying in a hostel, a few meters from here, for a fortnight now. Don’t worry, I will go away again. I just wanted to see Ashish once and he insisted I come from the main door.”
Ashish was smiling at his father, holding his mother’s hand. Manish sounded shattered. It was the first time in so many years that Ashish had seen his father so weak.
“Manasi, you don’t know how we have lived all these years…only Ashish knows it. I am proud of my son; he tricked you to come face to face with me.”
It was Manasi’s turn to be surprised. She looked at Ashish. He was smiling.
“I had seen you the other day when you were buying something from the medical store. I was coming back from the school then. I was not sure it was you. So, I asked Papa to show me some old pictures of yours. He was surprised but he showed me the pictures without asking anything.”
Both Manish and Manasi were listening to what the smart child was saying.
“When he was showing me the pictures, he was touching your face gently and staring at each of your picture for a long time.”
Manasi looked at Manish.
“I saw you again two days later, when you were hiding behind that tree and listening to my music. I noticed that you were around every day, hiding from us.”
“So, when it rained today, I waited for you to come and hide behind the tree. You did not come today and I was scared that I had lost you once again.”
“When you called my name from the window, I quickly thought of a plan, and here you are!”
Manish was crying too by this time. He had never imagined that the ten-year-old could be so sensitive and caring.
He hugged Ashish and Manasi together and wept like a child.
The three walked into Manish’s room together. It was the beginning of a happy life for them.