15 May 2016.
“You just don’t visit us often!!” Her words still ring in my mind. I reply, “I will, I promise I will…”
It was a summer from many years ago. I was standing at the door and she was blocking the entry. “Next time you visit, it better be just to visit me…” She continued to reprimand me albeit in a playful tone. “I will, Aunty, I promise I will…” It seemed to be the only reply I could come up with and yet, it seemed to suit her.
She let me in that day. But just a few days later, she left this world. I did visit the next time and the next, but the door was never again opened by her. I yearned for one more time, one last time…when I could visit and let that time be truly hers’.
I remember the phone call that came through a night from many years ago. “She is no more…” A voice down the phone line whispered. A chill ran through my spine and a mindless laugh escaped my lips. “Stop joking around,” I heard myself reply…but the truth had hit me hard inside and it left a deep crack in my heart.
“You just don’t visit us often!” Her words rang loud and clear in my ears. There she was; the loving, generous and ever-welcoming mother of a friend. I hadn’t known her for long, but she had a place for me in her heart nevertheless. Sometimes we crossed each other on the street, sometimes I saw her at the window. She used to spot me through the crowd and wave at me. It always made me feel special, the way she singled me out. She pampered me, nurtured my sweet tooth with endless homemade treats. She sent messages and boxes filled with desserts through her son. I was invited over for lunches, evening snacks, a cup of coffee and endless conversations.
Such was her overflow of love, that I often wondered what I had done to deserve it.
Till date, I am yearning for her to come and answer that.
In the pale pink twilight, I gaze out of the window and when the breeze plays around with my hair, I realise this was her spot. And I yearn for her to come back and complete my picture.
Her photograph overlooks on to one of her favourite rooms in the house. I can still see her lounging on the sofa while she asked me about me. She wasn’t just being polite, she really wanted to know. In the short span that we interacted, she made sure to create a lot of happy memories in my mind. And today, in the shadows of her photograph, I still experience her warmth…
I chat to her when I am alone at home and in need of some company. I serve her a new dish I have dared to experiment. I look at her for approval when I clean up the room. I smile her smile when the house is filled with guests. I stand in front of her for advice. I can hear her laugh over my desperate attempts of draping one of her sarees. I never forget to silently say a Goodbye before locking up. She is there, in every room and each breath of the house, looking after us. And yet I yearn for one last, long moment with her.
For I need to tell her that nowadays, I don’t just visit the house often; I now call it my own, too. I yearn for one moment with her, when I get to tell her that from being my friend’s mother, she is today my mother-in-law.
I guess she knows, I think she always had. Yet I yearn…
For one exclusive moment with her.
15 May 2016.