The Brinjal Curry
The Brinjal Curry10 mins 25K 10 mins 25K
The woman was stoic without losing even an inch of her demeanour. People around her were waiting for her to break. They could not believe a woman can be this harsh that she could not shed a single tear. She, on the other hand, was busy with her chores. She has a big job in her hand after all. This was the biggest day of her kid's life. Nothing can stop her from doing her best. She was making her kid's favourite food of all time which she stopped making ten years ago.
Ten years ago.
Vijay was out playing cricket in the ground. Vijay had a good team that always won. That day they were playing with Ravi's team which lost many a game with Vijay's team. Ravi's team brought in a fast bowler who is known for his body blows. It was not common for guards or helmets to protect the batsman. The match is going to be tough to win.
Vijay's mother was busy preparing his favourite food, the spicy Brinjal curry. Vijay can eat the same food every day without getting bored. The mother too likes it a lot. She was also sweating out to prepare multiple other dishes, favourites of Vijay's brothers. She gets time only on a Sunday to make sure her kids had a heartful of hot lunch. After hours of working, she was done preparing lunch. Now, she is waiting for Vijay and his brothers to come back home. The youngest of the three came running home to mother. He said to her mother, Vijay is taken to hospital by the elder brother.
Hearing this, the mother and the youngest one took the driver and started to hospital.
The mother was asked to wait in the waiting room. She did not think of asking what happened. She just wanted to run to Vijay's rescue. Now Vijay is in for some tests and she had to wait. Her mind was telling her it could be just a minor injury. Her mind does not want to think of a worst, a head injury. Whatever be it, some evil eye is hurting my son, she felt. I have to take him home and clear the evil eye first, she was thinking. Meanwhile, the father heard the news and came to the hospital. The mother came rushing seeing her husband asked him to enquire quickly what is happening. The father went to the doctor's office to discuss.
The father came out after fifteen minutes with the doctor. He told the wife to go home. He told her there is nothing to worry about, only that Vijay needs to stay overnight for some observation. The mother wanted to see Vijay. They both went into ICU to see Vijay. Vijay was awake but there were too many wires connected to him. Mother was happy to see there were no head injuries. Vijay was all smiles and told her mom that he won the match that day. The nurse came in and told the parents to leave as the time for visitation is over.
The father asked the mother to go home and come back in the morning. He is used to staying up late as he is a writer and promised he will be in the hospital all night. The mother did not want to go home, but the father convinced her somehow to go home. She started home in the car. She started thinking there were no visible injuries on Vijay or nothing seemed like trouble then why is he in observation. She opened the bag given by the nurse when she was leaving and found the blood-drenched shirt. That made her panic but she does not remember any injury or bandage on Vijay. She was confused, but she is already reaching home. She thought to wait the night find out what is happening in the morning. She could not sleep that night.
The next morning she reached the hospital early. Just to be made to wait again. She brought the box with his favourite food to cheer him. She was searching for the husband in the hospital. He was out for a smoke. She was eagerly at the door waiting for him to come back. She has seen him coming in after what felt like forever. He looked very serious and down. She initially felt that was because of not sleeping all night. Without uttering any word the husband took her into the doctor's office. Seeing the doctor's face the mother got tensed. The doctor started speaking. Madam, your son has Leukemia and it is in a very critical state. We could only save him for few more years after amputating his leg. The mother in her is not ready to understand anything that is happening. But the mind of a PhD professor in her understood and the eyes started dripping of eye drops.
The doctor was telling her hundreds of instructions. He has to take this medicine, he needs to go for radiation, he needs to get to physiotherapy to rehabilitate and he cannot have any spicy food. All morning she was waiting to see her son, now she is not sure she is ready to see him. She walked out of the doctor's room rushed to the car and carefully picked the box of food and threw it so hard the sound of the box hitting the wall by everyone in the hospital. She cried for only 20 seconds in the doctor's room. She was asked to go and see her son after a few hours when he came back from the operation room. Vijay is still sleeping from the anaesthesia. She walked close to him to put a hand on him, but her hand hit the bed, the leg is no more there. She is not crying, she is not showing any emotion. She asked the nurses about what to do for him. She made a mental note of everything there is.
Vijay came home after a few months. The mother did not leave his bedside for all this time. He learnt to walk on his own. Walking from room to her mother the first thing he asks her mother, the spicy Brinjal curry. The mother in her broke into thousands of pieces. She cannot show it, she wants to be confident for her son. She told him, he will get only a Brinjal curry, not a spicy one. Mom, you are evil. I was in the hospital for so long and was eating tasteless food. When I ask you one thing, how can you say no? She said a hard no. Vijay walked back to his room slowly. Mom started to cook Brinjal curry, out of habit took out the spices. She stopped herself to put back the spices on the cabinet and could not move for a few seconds. She regained composure to finish cooking the curry.
Vijay has always been a great student in school. He finished with top marks in the school. He went onto getting selected to a reputed Engineering college in his hometown. The college was a new devil. He made a lot of friends. No one of them was initially aware of his situation. Vijay was very happy to be in the new world with no prejudices. Few felt sorry for his leg but that was it. Vijay did not mind it as he did not want to drag too much attention to himself or his condition. As they say, you cannot keep things hidden for long. He not appearing for college trips and examinations made everyone curious. In no time all the class knew of his condition. Days passed by and teenage love stuck Vijay.
The mother, on the other hand, forgot all her life and devoted to Vijay. The husband found happiness elsewhere. The brothers of Vijay did not like that her mother had only time for Vijay. That day Vijay came to her mother and told about her crush. She cannot say no to him this time. She thought it will be harmless to have a crush at this age. Teenage love had different ideas. The life of Vijay is filled with the girl from dusk to dawn. One fine day he brought the girl home to introduce to his family. The girl is mostly harmless, but Vijay does not know is she accepted his love out of pity. Mother was a little worried. But she wanted her son to be happy, so let it slide by.
Vijay began spending all his time chatting with the girl. He has no time to take his medicine, his breathing exercises or anything else. He started to get sick again. He took a break from college to go for a treatment. The treatment was taking a toll on his body. He was also missing his girlfriend. After weeks of treatment, he was ready to be discharged in a few days. The doctor gave news about some experimental medicine which will be available in less than a year. The mother was listening to every word. She had no excitement or happiness to show.
The girlfriend and some other close friends were missing Vijay. So, they all traveled to visit Vijay. Vijay was very happy to see them. They could only see him smiling from the glass door as no visitors were allowed inside Vijay's room. All of them spoke to the mother for a while and came back to college. The friends told the class how Vijay is recovering and will come to college soon.
Ten years passed by from the day the mother tried to touch the leg of her son which was not there anymore. The mother was with Vijay till yesterday night in the hospital. She travelled back home after the doctor confirmed Vijay will come home the next day. She is now waiting for Vijay to come home. Every one of Vijay's friends, relatives are waiting for him in the house he was born. The grandfather's house was a small one located in a small street. The crowd looked too big for the place. Vijay came and he was made to lie down on the bed. The father signalled to mother something. She nodded a ‘Yes’ but her face had no signs of any feeling. The father disconnected the oxygen and Vijay let out his last breath in the same place where he took birth.
Every one of his friends and family started to cry. The father a tall man could not control his tears and cried till he had no tears are left. The girlfriend fainted. Many of his friends started bargaining with his father, god, I just want a few more days with him. He is too young, please do something. There is nothing to be done anymore.
The mother was in the kitchen. She started to prepare food for the relatives. The hotels or catering will be ready slightly later in the day. The mother wanted to make sure the old people and children won't go hungry meanwhile. She searched everywhere in the small house for something to make. She found lots and lots of Brinjal. She started cooking Vijay's favourite. Everyone else is trying to console her. Some said to her he is too young. Some said he had a lot of potentials. Some were angry with God, some angry with doctors. She received everything with the same stoic strength. Vijay started for his long final journey. The mother walked to him bid him a final goodbye. She went to take a look at the face one last time.
Alone now in the kitchen, she was thinking about what she should do next. From the last ten years, her life is filled with Vijay. Every second of every day is Vijay. There is no life for her beyond Vijay. She has two other sons, one elder, and one younger. She hasn't spent less time with both of them combined than Vijay. If Vijay was a healthy kid, he would have not had that much time for her mother. But what will she not do give more years for Vijay even it means he will have less time for the mother. Thinking this she walked into the kitchen to start cleaning. There it was, the spicy Brinjal curry, she stopped eating 10 years ago. Today, she took one spoonful held it close to her mouth. Smelling it and almost tasting it broke her and the crying could not be stopped anymore.