The Indian Mother
The Indian Mother
It's a gloomy afternoon, River Jhilmil is flowing on her own terms. Bablu is sitting beside her, thinking about something which he doesn't want to express to anyone. He is collecting small stones and throwing them to Jhilmil. The stones are trying to run fast but soon their energy lacks and they're drowning deep into the water. Suddenly Bablu feels a warm touch on his shoulder. He startles and turns back. A boy is standing there. He is Pintu, Bablu's best friend, rather to say his "bestest" friend. They have learnt the term "bestest" very recently from one of their classmates, Raja. Raja has told them that when the friendship is beyond definition, it needs something extra. So, they have added an extra "est" after best.
"Bhai, why haven't you come to the match?" Pintu asks anxiously.
"I didn't feel to go."
"But why? What happened?"
"Nothing," Bablu replies in despair.
"Oh please bhai, I'm your bestest friend. I know something is wrong with you. come on, tell me quickly."
"You don't know anything."
"Arreh!!! Just tell me na what happened? Why are you sitting here with this gloomy face?"
"Nothing I said."
"It's not fair, you can't hide anything from your buddy."
"You will not understand even if I tell you. In fact, no one can understand."
"Hey, what's the thing which I can't understand? Come on tell me."
"It's getting too much okay! If you consider me as your bestest friend, you have to tell me what's bothering you."
"What should I tell you…!!
Ohh… Bablu takes a deep breath.
"I'm still waiting."
"Pintu, actually my mom … my mom is weird."
"I knew it, you can't understand."
" Hey tell me everything in detail."
"What details? I can only say that my mom is not a good mom, she doesn't love me at all."
"And how do you come to this conclusion?"
"I'm not going to tell you anything more. You're getting sarcastic."
"No I'm not. Come on bhai, tell me. Why do you suddenly feel so?"
"You know, she doesn't love me a bit. She spends her whole day scolding me. And… and she always behaves so strangely. I don't like it." Bablu answers with his wet voice.
"Bhai" says Pintu in his scholarly manner, "It's the typical nature of our Indian mothers."
"What? What did you say, typical nature of Indian mothers!"
"Yes my dear friend, if you have had attended Rajeev Sir's class last week, you can understand it."
"In that class, Rajeev Sir has given a long lecture on the respected women of India like Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Sarojini Naidu and many others. And at the same time, he also mentioned that our mothers are the most respectable women whom we can meet each day."
"Let me finish the first pal. And you know what Rajeev Sir has said?"
"He told that the mothers of India are the most adorable kind. No one is like them.They are the small replica of our mother nation."
"What does it mean?"
"I don't know too. Actually I couldn't understand totally what he has said but his last words touched my heart. He said the love of our mothers lies in their anger. They rebuke us, reprimand us, but all for the wellbeing of ourselves. Our moms are the best well-wishers."
"How can it be?"
"Let me explain dear. And you please try to understand, our moms have a lot of works to do, they have so many things to ponder over. That's why they are like this and sometimes behave, even, strangely. And it's not only your mom, my mummy is also like that. But this doesn't mean that they don't love us."
"No, no Pintu. You're not trying to understand. My mom is not like yours. You know what, my mom always asks for money to dad, she says we have to buy this and that. But whenever I want something, she always has an instant excuse, ' we're running out of money beta.' is it so? Always we are running out of money!"
"Hey Bablu, our moms ask for money, not for themselves, but to buy the necessary things for our domestic purposes.
By the way, why do you need money?"
"I want a remote control car like Raja's."
"What!! Oh my God, do you even know how much it costs?"
"A lot... yes, a lot." Pintu expands his arms to show the amount of money, "Bhai, it's not for us. Those cars are made for rich kids like Raja only."
"Is it that expensive?"
"Ya. once I have gone with my dad to see his work, and I saw how much labour they need to give everyday to earn a single buck."
"Really? Is it that hard?"
"Yes, my friend. And Bablu you don't know a secret, but I know."
"What is it?"
"Few days ago I overheard my dad, he was telling mom that the contractor is not paying regularly to the labourers. So our dads are thinking to quit their job.
"Really? Why didn't I come to Know anything about all these!"
"Because you never tried to. Whatever, listen, don't tell this secret to anyone. Because our parents have to stick to this job until they find a new one."
"Okay okay. I understand."
"Good my friend.
But why is your gloomy face returning again?"
"Pintu, I can understand everything you said. But still I will say, you can't understand my problem."
"Why is it so?"
"Because I can feel it for real, my mom doesn't love me. She doesn't, I know."
"Oh God, why is it so hard to make you understand! Listen, moms do not show their love always, but it doesn't mean that they don't love us. They do, indeed. Trust me. "
"It's hard to mak you understand Pintu. Actually your mother is not like my mother, that's why you cannot understand my situation."
"Okay, I accept what you have said. But do you love your mom?"
"Of course I do."
"Then prove it."
"I don't know. Just show your love first, then expect the same in return."
"But… how can I show it?"
"Umm… give her anything she wants."
"What it should be?"
"How could I know!"
"Give me an idea at least."
I'm feeling hungry, so I have to go. Tata."
Pintu leaves the place, but Bablu cannot. He continues to sit beside Jhilmil, putting his face on his palm. A cold wind is revolving around, swelling his pores; but Bablu doesn't pay heed. He must have to find out something which his mom wants to prove his love for her.
"Areeh oh Bablu Babu, what are doing here alone? Where is your partner?" Suddenly a voice floats arond. Bablu can recognize the voice, it's Ghanta kaka, the gatekeeper of their school. Bablu turns his face and notices the man. He is looking very happy today. His happiness is flowing out from his whole body.
"Pintu has already gone home kaka." Bablu answers calmly.
"Then why are you here alone?"
"Casually. But kaka, what's the matter? You're looking very happy today."
"Oh you kid, you've noticed it! Actually yes, I'm very very happy."
"For this." Ghanta kaka hangs a bundle of papers in front of Bablu's eyes. Bablu can recognize these pieces of paper, lottery tickets.
"Lottery tickets! But why do you buy so many of them?"
"To increase the possibility of winning."
"Does it really work? My dad always says that lottery tickets are useless, waste of money, you can't win it."
"Really? Then how could I win last month?"
"Ya, five thousand rupees. I have even bought a colour TV with that money."
"You can come to my house to see if it's true or not.
Whatever, I have to go home now. A horrible thunderstorm is coming here, I saw it in the news on my new TV. He he… okay, bye."
Bablu cannot clearly hear the last words of Ghanta kaka, because now only two words are echoing in his ears… "lottery"... "Money"...
According to Pintu, money is the root of all problems. That means if Bablu can make money from the lottery, then he can give it to mom as a token of his love. Yes, that's it. Bablu put his fingers in the pocket, he can feel the cold touch of few coins. Mom has given these coins to him to try out the new unique sweet of "Rashamoy Mistanna Vandar". But Bablu will taste that sweet later, if he can win the money, then he can taste as many as he wants. So, now the coins should be used elsewhere.
The afternoon has suddenly been doomed down by the black soldiers in the sky. A crazy wind is passing by. But still it cannot stop the sweat to drop down from head to toe, Bablu is panting. He has crossed all the road by running with his little feet and has stopped now only after seeing the cracked hoarding of "Pal Bividha Vandar", the multipurpose shop of Ramen Pal. Ramen Pal is preparing to close the shutter, but he prevents himself after seeing Bablu.
"Hey kiddo what do you want? Rice or salt? Tell me quickly, I am in hurry." Ramen Pal asks while shaking his legs.
"What!" Pal couldn't believe his own ears.
"I want a lottery ticket," Bablu says determinedly.
"Which one?" Pal asks in a confused voice.
"Umm… I don't know, which one will be better?
I have only these…" Bablu puts his coins on the counter, they make a clanking sound over it. Ramen Pal stares at them for a while, a smile comes on his face and also vanishes immediately. He takes out a paper, "you want this, boy."
Bablu takes the ticket in his shivering hands. He stares at it with the utmost care.
"The best ticket of the month, the prize is one crore." Says Pal.
"One crore…!!!" Bablu can't even imagine the number of zeros after one. He puts the ticket in his pocket and silently leaves the shop.
The dark soldiers have already started their war, they are throwing the dazzles at each other, they are shouting at their full. The evil wind is dancing to cheer them up. Bablu tries to go forward against its will. But before that he takes out the ticket from his pocket, he wants to see his colourful dream once again. This is not just a piece of paper, it's his dream of one crore… Bablu kisses on the light green spot. But suddenly… suddenly the evil wind snatches the dream from his hands. Bablu cries in panic but the evil witch doesn't seem to care about his emotions. It takes the ticket away… far… and far away… Bablu begins to run after it, he runs without caring what is happening around. He runs desperately. He runs…
All the soldiers are dead now. The sky begins to lament, she begins to shed tears. Her tears fall on the dark hairs of the little boy, her tears tickle his cheeks, but the boy does not seem to stop. Ultimately the evil wind gets tired, and the colourful paper falls from her hand. Bablu can see it falling down. He rushes to that place. But… the wind is too evil to return it intact. She has thrown it on muddy cow-dung. Bablu tries to pull it out, but he fails. His dream tear into two pieces, one comes to his hand, and the other still remains in the dung. Tears roll down from his eyes. He doesn't know what to do now…
"Beta… beta… Bablu… where are you? Bablu...my son…"
Suddenly a voice is hard from the darkling whole. Bablu startled by the known voice. Then the lady comes out from the darkness, she sees him and chuckles in relief. Bablu rushes to her and jumps in her lap, "maa…"
"What happened son? Why did you come so far? Do you know how much worried I was. They're talking about some disaster, some Feni or Fani… whatever, it's approaching towards our village. Let's go back to our home."
"Bablu… hey, are you crying son? What happened?
Oh I Know, you cannot buy the special sweet na? Don't worry, I will buy it later. I have dug out some sweet potatoes. We'll roast and eat it together. Let's go."
Bablu looks at her face in astonishment. Even though he cannot do anything for her, she still loves him! Bablu needs not to show his love, to get back in return! Mom loves her without any condition! Really! According to Pintu this is called "the typical nature of Indian mothers." Probably so...
Bablu holds her more tightly, "you know maa, you are even sweeter than the sweet potato. In fact, you are the sweetest lady in the whole world. I love you maa…"
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