“Stories end -Happy or Sad, we can still find it out at the ending note of the story, the last chapter says it all, sometimes I jump on to the last page just to cheat myself on getting to the climax fast, just to make sure if my favorite character is alive and happy. But life is not about one story, it’s about all the connected dots which can never be concluded as sad or happy! Yeah that’s Life!”said Mrs Nandini.
I would always bother her asking the same question – “Why don’t we have happy stories in real life also” and she would always sense the ‘lost and sad’ me. She knew that it wasn’t easy and each day was going hard and harder on me. She was like a soothing drop of water placed on a smooth dry surface forming a dome-shaped droplet instead of flowing in random directions.
She has that angelic persona which would captivate any heart at first glance.She was tall and her hair was midnight-black, always laid so perfectly over her shoulders. A pair of arched eyebrows settled proudly over those mesmerizing eyes and her husky voice would do rest of the charm. She was the first love of my life. She still is.
Today, even after 5 years of school-graduation I still can sense the value of each and every word she said. She is the best person to visit me in dreams and that’s the main reason I hate Mornings. From morning alarm to morning traffic rush , I hate everything.It was the same rush hour when I was hurrying to reach my work place like everyday but today was different.
What I saw in front of my eyes broke the belief I have had for years. I couldn’t believe my eyes and while doctors were running to get the health checkup details, all I wanted to reason out was WHY ???
What could it be?She was happily married. She had the perfect family. What could have triggered such trauma in her life?All these questions were killing me in and out. I remember how she helped me to cope with state of depression when my parents were going through a rough divorce. She made me realize the importance of ‘being happy’ and how a smile can do wonders and has ability to cure pain. She firmly believed in the magic of smile.
I couldn’t believe that someone so full of life would ever try to kill herself. She personified smile. She has given me those everyday advises which had made be believe in life again; can’t believe she wants to quit her own today.
I remember how all my troubles always had a one-go solution that how would Mrs Nandini deal with this. Smile really does wonders and eventually I had taken this formula for life. She owes me my life-guardian, who instilled Hope in me. She was lying on the hospital bed with her eyes moist and half closed. May be she was tired. I just moved the chair and sat beside her to absorb the pain even if she doesn’t want to talk about it.
She was facing the other side and she said – “Do you know about cerebral palsy?”
“No..what’s that?” I asked in a worried tone.
She turned her face towards me and said – “Ansh suffers cerebral palsy and he will never be able to walk on his own feet in this life. I never thought of life turning so difficult. It was all fine in the beginning and I was happily enjoying motherhood until I was held responsible for his condition. A healthy child is precious to all and all these years when none was aware of the reason of his slow development,I held myself upright as a proud mother. He is a smart kid but now things have changed. Nitish thinks that it is all because of some abnormality in me that he has been born this way.”
Tears rolled off her eyes. She was making an arduous effort to put all this in words. May be she wanted to cry her heart out or may be she just wanted to sleep which she wished could continue for forever. I am not sure if what she did was right or not but I just knew that she was in immense pain. She wanted to talk about it. She wanted somebody to listen to her.She continued – “Ours was an arrange marriage. We met each other for the first time when we were crowded by all our family members but among all when our eyes met, which was for some fraction of seconds, we could feel the connection. I never had high expectations from life. I happily accepted whatever came over and Nitish was my true blessing. With his entry into my life,it was like happiness kissing my feet everyday. It was wonderful. Those small visits to try different cuisines in authentic restaurants. Watching late night movies and getting ready to grab his attention. I loved those extra efforts he would put in to make me smile. He loved my smile and all our arguments were done when I used to end up laughing at him”. Mrs Nandini indeed has a smile to die for – Gorgeous smile!
I remember the children’s day celebration where all our teachers perform some dances and acts to entertain kids. Mrs Nandini was given the best performer award where she played the role of a smile who tickles kids.
She , wrapped in a yellow sari, personified smile the best way. So refreshing and giggly.
She looked for glass of water and I quickly served her a glass of water. The strained look on her forehead had taken a nap while she was describing her good old days. She seems to be little relaxed now. Just then the doctor came in with her reports and agreed on shifting her to home, provided she would stay under some surveillance. I escorted her to her home where I couldn’t find anyone waiting for her.
She told me that Ansh would be with her neighbors and when I asked about Nitish then she just went quiet.She lay on the bed to rest her weary bones. She asked me to get Ansh from the neighborhood. She was still scared to face the world. I obeyed her instructions as always. As soon as I got Ansh from neighborhood she jumped to hold him and kissed him repeatedly on his face. Her face lightened up a little after holding Ansh in her hands.
“Mumma, Where did you go for so long? I Was waiting for you”, Ansh asked in a worried tone.
“I just went to get your medicines”, lied Mrs Nandini
Ansh was a very adorable kid and when Mrs Nandini introduced him to me, he waved at me and passed the sweetest smile. No doubt Ansh has inherited his adorable smile from the correct person.
Just then the house-bell rung and it was Mrs Nandini’s mother in law who had reached their place. She has all the way traveled from Bhopal to Delhi.
“I know Mumma is lying”, Ansh said.
Yes,Mrs Nandini was lying. She did not go to take his medicines but carelessly wander on road to take her life away and luckily,I just turned out to be at the correct place and most importantly at correct time. I knew it was too much to take for little Ansh and I lied too – “No..It took time to find the correct medicines”.
I made gesture to leave for the day and promised Ansh to come back later.
All the way when I was driving back home, I couldn’t realize if I could consider this day as happy or sad. I found the best person of my life but she no more was the same person. I parked my car and searched for Cerebral palsy on my mobile.
I read thoroughly,”The term cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance. CP affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements. The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them”.
It was an emotionally challenging night for me. I couldn’t sleep for whole night.
Next day I packed my work early and headed towards Mrs Nandini’s house. I was so relaxed to see her standing in the lawn and sipping tea. She seemed to be in deep thoughts. I couldn’t let her go too deep and made my moves fast to distract her.
“Good evening Miss”, I know this was weird at this age but I was used to this.
She waved at me and offered a seat beside her. She pointed towards a mango plant and told me that Nitish and She had planted it when they first heard the news of her pregnancy.
She said further,”Eventually everything started changing when we got to know about Ansh’s condition. It was growing difficult each day. The connection with what I had with Nitish was broken. He no longer made any efforts to make me feel the same way. A feeling of emptiness filled in me. And then came the day what I had already started sensing since days but ignored it always as a nightmare. Like every morning it was the first thought that came to my mind as I woke up but, today he was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well.It was the strangest feeling ever.
My whole world has turned upside down.When I realized that he has just given up on us then I could not accept the fact and think of anything else. I am left with nothing except the little thing which has caused all this to me but now I know, that I don’t have a choice to be a coward. I am a Mother. All these years I thought that it is I who gave birth to him, but actually it is he who has given meaning to my existence.”
I realized that what was a life threatening thought for her yesterday had served hope to her life today.
I saw Ansh crawling around. He was playing with his blocks and trying to make words and it read – HOPE !