Music Selection : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAXDNAAk1SU
26. The Heart of a Mother
“I am not your mother Vicky”
As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt her eyes close as tears flew through her closed eyes. Her back was still facing him, which made her to continue speaking without breaking down before the child.
“I am not your mother” she whispered as she wiped her tears off her cheeks.
It killed her to get those words out, but she knew she had to. She remembered the conversation she had with Dr. Kirti a week ago, when they sat discussing kids.
“You should tell the truth to Vicky” Kirti said then.
“What truth?” she asked back, though a part of her was aware what the truth was.
“That he is not your child”
She remained silent for a while then.
“…That he is not your child”
How simple was it to say. That he was not her child.
She remembered the fateful night when she was in the operation theatre, operating her best friend Sarani Iyyer.
She was the one who wheeled her into the operation theatre, she was the one who had seen Sarani yelping as labor pains hit her.
She was the one who had felt her hands shaking, for the first time ever since she had been practicing medicine.
She was the one who had whispered kind words to Sarani to sooth her, and she was the one who had took the beautiful baby boy into her arms first.
…And she was the one who had seen her friend’s pulse dropping down rapidly, and she was the one who had felt her friend’s grip around her hand slip down as she felt last of Sarani’s breath leave her.
She remembered catching the child in her arms as she stared at his face, devoid of any emotion. She kept staring at his face searching for something that would remind her of Sarani.
That day left her orphaned in all sense. Early next morning she had received a phone call intimating the flight crash of the flight which was carrying Rajat and Daman…
Her only family…
She stared back at Kirti who held her hand as she was lost in the events of past.
“You need to tell him before he gets to know it by himself Laasya” she told her then.
Laasya was not blind to the looks of pity shot Vicky’s way or the special treatment her other kids received by some of her relatives. She knew it shall poison a child’s mind if the truths would be delayed… but… how can she say something which she didn’t herself believe?
How can she tell him that she wasn’t his mother?
She may not be his biological mother, but didn’t she love him with all of hers? Wasn’t he the one who bought her back from all the grief she was in when she lost her family?
Wasn’t he the one…whose hold around her fingers made her break down clutching him to chest?
Wasn’t he the one?
Laasya wiped her tears as she told the child in the room about his biological parents.
She turned to face the child as she haven’t heard him speak for a longer time. The sight she was presented with was her undoing. Vicky stood there quietly looking at the floor making her walk towards him and kneel before him, with her hands cupping his cheek.
“Vicky” she called him slowly, wanting to see his face, wanting…wishing…and hoping not to see hatred towards her in those eyes. She can’t bear that. She could never.
As he raised his eyes and met hers, he whispered slowly “Can I see my mother’s picture?”
Those words made her hands slip from his cheeks.
The words rung in her ears as she bit her lips to control a sob. Would she be called heartless if she admitted she felt a pinch in her heart? She knew it was his right to know about his mother and she didn’t regret her decision yet when he said those words, she felt as if the tie that bound them snapped. Wasn’t she his mother too? Wouldn’t he call her “Mom” in his childish voice anymore?
She nodded her head to his request as she led him towards the sofa and bought the albums. He sat down on the floor, with his back against the sofa as she sat beside him showing the pictures of people whom he had always known as his god mother and god father, but today who were told to be his parents.
She saw his hands stop at Sarani’s picture as he mumbled “I look like her”
“You do” she mumbled as she passed a loving hand through his hair.
While he got his mother’s eyes and features, his charming ways were definitely inherited from Daman.
When he looked at her, she hesitated with her hand in his head and she removed it slowly, scared as she was about their relation now. But surprising her, she said words that broke the dam and made her cry, with tears pouring from her eyes.
“I will call her Ma, and you mom, is it okay?” he said with a smile that was definitely Vicky’s and that was what was needed for her to pull him closer and cry.
Later that day, when he put his head in her lap and she passed a hand through his hair, he asked “Tell me more about them mom, tell me about my ma and papa”
And she told him, her own eyes watering as she remembered about the days gone by.
– – –
Laasya turned another page in the album as she looked at the childhood pictures of her children. Each and every picture told something or the other about them. Each of the pictures showed the characteristics of her children.
She saw Maan in one of the pictures, who was carrying Vicky on his shoulders. While Vicky had a goofy grin on his face, holding his brother’s hair, Maan was smiling heartily at the picture too.
It had been years since she saw that smile on him…
She passed a loving hand over the picture as she felt her eyes fill up.
In her attempt of making one son not go away from her, she pushed her another son farther than she could afford, farther than he would come back…
He accused her of sending Vicky to Shimla, he might have thought Vicky had gone away from her not bearing the truth. How would she tell him that it was Vicky’s decision to go study there for other reasons?
“Why do you want to go to Shimla Vicky?” she asked him back then when he told his desire to study in a certain school.
“I want to know my father and god father well mom, it is the school they first met and studied together. I want to know their achievements, pranks and everything up close. Please mom?”
She turned another page of the album as she came across the picture of a woman who was touching her nose to her baby’s, whose face held a large grin, as does the little baby boy. The picture depicted the unadulterated love between a mother and child. Who knew that the child, so blissfully happy in the picture with his mother would grow up to hate her…
She clutched it to her heart as she lied back on her easy chair and closed her eyes as a solitary tear escaped her eyes.
What had happened which had changed the equations so rapidly? Was it destiny’s play or were they her own mistakes that pushed her into a dark deep abyss?
When did the slight chasm that was created during his son’s teenage years, which she mistook as rebellious behavior of teenage, had turned into estrangement?
Seems Maan was right indeed. She never tried harder. And now when she wants to, she knew it was a losing battle.
As she closed her eyes and thought about what ifs in her life, she felt a deep pain in her chest. Not the one she had been feeling ever since the talk with Maan. The pain she felt then was raw, but the one she was facing now was…sharp.
The album slipped from her hands and landed on the floor with a low thud and her head rolled back in the easy chair, and the last thing she remembered was the dim lighting of the study before darkness engulfed her…
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