The Photograph from mom's album
The Photograph from mom's album6 mins 190 6 mins 190
Charu was informed her grandmother was seriously ill. It has been six months since Charu started her studies at NYU Law School, which she had joined amidst many refusals and objections.
She took the immediate next flight from New York to her native place Fort Kochi and landed at Cochin International Airport.
Charu never liked her life at Fort Kochi. The old home, the ancient traditions and the old lifestyle. She lost her mother when she was 12 and it was her grandmother who raised her. Her father, Mr. Mani Oomen, was a carpet exporter. He has two stores at Fort Kochi and one at Ernakulam. When Charu disclosed her interest to study law, he refused her decision outright. And now she is going back to the same place. Her mind was full of thoughts and she was in no mood to think about anything else except her return date from India.
From the airport, she took a self-driven taxi and drove to Fort Kochi, 20 k.m. away from the airport. It was 7 p.m. and the lights were all lit. She directly went to her grandmother's room and saw her, there were many machines attached to her. There was a nurse beside grandmother's bed. Charu went to her room and slept soon, as she was exhausted.
The next morning, she took a stroll to David Hall Road. The weather was breezy and the birds were chirping good. On David Hall Road, she saw the library open. There was a bookstore attached to the library.
'Old books for sale. Rs. 250 per KG,’ a board declared before the gate. She grinned. An avid reader that she was and since had nothing to do, she went inside the store. She picked seven books, paid for them at the counter and headed home.
The maid gave her a cup of coffee. Sipping her coffee, she started checking the books. The fifth book's cover intrigued her. It was a beautiful abstract painting of a woman with no eyes but had tears, nose and lips.
She skimmed through the pages. At page 67 there was a polaroid photograph of an old villa. She took out the photo and examined it. On its backside there was an alpha-numeric code written with a small map that showed directions to the villa. The code read: MV02FK09. The map had a starting point at 'Hotel AB*** and extended till the villa. The end point was a drawing of the villa that read ‘Home.’ After few minutes she remembered that she has seen this photograph earlier. But she was unable to recollect where she had seen it. She had her dinner at 9p.m and went to her room and laid on her bed thinking about the photograph. She can't sleep peacefully as the photograph created a bug in her mind.
The next morning, while taking bath under a shower, she remembered that the photograph was seen in her mom's photograph. She took a quick bath and put on her clothes and ran into her mom's room. She opened the shelf and started searching for the old albums. Unfortunately, she didn't find any photograph of that villa. She was disappointed and went into her room. She closed her eyes and something flashed in her mind.
It was the day after her mother's demise, Charu was depressed and sat on the floor watching the photos of her with her mother Malavika. She was recollecting all the good times she had with her mother. She saw the villa's photograph and immediately Mani came into the room and scolded her and threw the photographs away. Charu knew that his father didn't like Malavika and Charu too. After he went away from the room she collected all the photos and place them in the same album and kept it in the shelf.
She opened her eyes and started thinking about the photograph. How can a photograph from her mom's album came into a book she has purchased in a sale? After few minutes she opened that book number five again and she remembered that she has seen the book when she was with her mother. It was her mother's favourite book. Whenever Charu asked 'Maa why did you read this book so many times?' Malavika replied, 'the cover of this book and the content of the book replicates my life'. Charu was too young to understand her mother's words. But now she came to knew that the abstract painting reveals a woman who is hiding her tears and kept her lips sealed. She felt sad for her mother. But Charu was bemused about the photograph in her mom's book.
She recollected the incident with her dad about the photograph and she came to know that her father has kept the photograph somewhere in the book so that no one could see it again. But one of the workers unknowingly sold all the old books while cleaning the house and now Charu got her mother's book in the sale. But she was puzzled why her father wanted to hide the photograph? She thought that there was some mystery in that photograph. But where can she find the answer. Her grandmother was lying on her bed struggling for her life. She can't tell anything about the place. She wanted to explore the place. She immediately started her car and drove towards the villa. Following the map, she reached the villa. She entered the main gate of the villa and park her car on one side. She stepped into the large verandah and soon she realized that this place was not a mysterious one but her own ancestral property. She recollected the memories she had in that villa and her eyes were full of tears. She can't enter into the villa as the main door was locked.
Charu went back into the car and suddenly few words of her mother came into her mind. Malavika once said that when Charu was five, one of their close relatives cheated Mani Oomen and took away their ancestral villa worth 5 crores. Since then Mani became a cold-hearted man and believed that all the human relations are fake. Charu felt sad for misunderstanding her father. With a heavy heart she reached home and found her grand mother died. She broke down into tears. She has a great bonding with her grand mother. After her demise, she can't live in that house. After a couple of days, she went back to NewYork. Charu and Mani didn't talk to each other for about six years.
After six years...
Charu landed at cochin international airport. This time she didn't take a self-driven taxi but his father was waiting for her to pick up in his car. Her heart was filled with joy to meet his father. They hugged each other and going back to their home not in Fort Kochi but their old ancestral villa as owners. Mani's eyes filled with pride as her daughter brought their villa back from that idiot Sheryl Varghese and put him behind the bars. Now Mani understood her daughter has taken a right decision of studying law. Now Charu became a famous Lawyer CharuOomen for filing a case against Fraud, smuggler, illegal real estate agent Sheryl Varghese having several cases filed but no arrest warranty was issued as no lawyer was ready to fight against him. A lady in her late twenties, fights against such a dangerous criminal and putting him behind bars for fourteen years.
This is the story of Charu and the photograph in her mom's album.