He was cursing god. Already his mind was tired of searching for her. This long journey was tiring physically too. How to find her? Will she be at the address his dad has given? What if she did not go to her native? Is she healthy or at least alive? You can deprive a person of something that he loves, but giving a person the thing that he loves the most and grabbing it back is very cruel. God, why did you show her to me and why did you take her away so quickly? Anil was cursing God.

Earlier – As someone who had lost his mother during his birth, he never knew what mother’s love was. He, his elder brother and his dad were managing their day to day chores reasonably. Everything changed when his brother Akhil got married. When Anil saw his sister in law “Taara”, he was very elated. She looked like an angel to him. Her presence changed so many things at home. Some were welcomed and some he did not appreciate. But slowly he started realizing what was lacking at his home earlier. His home looked beautiful, clean and full of love more than anything for the first time in his life he was having good food at home. One day when his dad Major Abhijit commented that his daughter in law was cooking like his late wife, he realised what he was missing all these years. He started seeing his mother in her. Suddenly he started longing for his mother’s love. Will he get it from her? He couldn’t sleep both excited and confused. He did not have a clue as to how his life is going to change the next day.

He was woken up in the morning by his dad’s shouting. His dad was very excited he could see his dad brimming in pride. Why wouldn’t he be proud, being a celebrated officer in the army the best thing that could happen to him is his son too joining the armed forces. His dad always thought his elder son who was well built would join the army, but it was Anil was more interested in serving his nation. Anil was very happy himself and he was expecting this for a long time. But he was disappointed too, just the other night he thought he got his mom back and here the next day he has to leave her. Before he joins the army the whole family went on a trip. They all enjoyed themselves together. In the whole trip, he could not forget one incident. They were in a valley facing the mountain and that place was famous for echos. Everyone shouted their loved ones names made funny noises and were having fun. Anil was quiet and enjoying. Taara asked him to join them. She was asking him to shout his lover’s name. Anil said yes I will do and grabbed her hand. He held her hand tightly, Taara was confused. Anil shouted “Amma” not just once but repeatedly. One of the first things any child would say is “amma”, they would recite it thousands of times in their life, having lost his mom during his childbirth he never had a chance to call amma. He kept on repeating Amma. Taara was dumbfounded. His calls made her body tremble and she realised how much he missed a beautiful relationship called amma and he was seeking his mom in her. She was the only child to a widowed father. She always wanted to get married to a big family. Now things were panning out well. She became a mom even before her first childbirth. Anil wanted to kiss his mom on her forehead fearing the society that they might not understand the motherly love he had on her he did not do it. He wanted to give more time for that to happen. For him calling her amma was more than enough.

Present –  The bus came to a screeching halt and he hit the back of the seat in front of him. His lips started bleeding again. The wound that formed because of his brothers slap was still new and this injury aggravated it. Anil was travelling all around India his posting kept changing and whenever he could he managed to come home to see his beloved mom, he started called her amma, but never got a prolonged time to spend with her. He slowly understood Akhil and Taara were drifting apart and his brother was at fault. He thought this was normal. Lately, he started getting lesser calls from home and he desperately wanted to come home. One day he received a call that would change his life upside down. Akhil had applied for divorce and already started to live with his newfound love.

Earlier – Entering his home he was dismayed to see this new woman opening the door. His brother came and asked him to come inside. Anil pleaded, Anna pls tell me this is a dream. He replied, yes this is a dream, my dream and my dream wife. Major Abhijit soon joined them. He always had a straight back and had this proud walk but today he was couching in shame and despair. Anil started arguing with his brother and he couldn’t digest the fact that his mom was dumped. He said you ditched her for this bitch? That is when the slap landed hard on his face. Major Abijith shouting “not again, not again, Please Anil stop this”. What did that mean? Whom did he hit earlier?

Present – Getting down from the bus he hastened towards the address his dad gave him. Although his elder brother was not in forces he too was well built. Anil was both worried and angered at what his brother did. His father had informed him that the poor lady was hurt so badly that she was ashamed and frightened and left the house immediately with her daughter. His dad was worried that the injury was bad and he did not know if she took any medical treatment. All that he knew was her eyes turned so red and he was worried about her. He wanted to find her as quickly as possible. In the small town, it was not hard to find her address. But he was shocked to learn that her father expired recently, he was her only relation. After her father’s demise she had sold her property settled dues and left with small cash that she had with her. He also learned that she was not interested in living in the same town where her father had lived and wanted to move out. She had left hurriedly and without informing anyone. Anil was shell shocked hearing this. Now, how and where will he find her?

He inquired as to which was the nearest town and travelled towards it. He knew that to survive she needs a job which mostly will be available in nearest big town. She had left her town just 2 days back. He knew he could be wrong but he will not leave any stone unturned. He found a mother after 26 years and he was ready to go to any extent to find her. He took a room and was wondering as to where she could be.

Carrying a photo of Taara he enquired about many places and hotels. He couldn’t learn much. In one hotel the manager was very compassionate and enquired in great detail to find a way to find her. The manager after learning that she was badly hurt, he suggested she could be visiting hospitals as such injuries can take a long time to heal and frequent checkups. This town did not have many hospitals. Anil started checking all hospitals and in one hospital the receptionist identified her. She said she had visited them and as her vision was very poor as she had not treated it properly for a long time. She informed Anil that she has to be operated on soon to save her vision. The receptionist understood that she could not afford the money. Anil asked her if she had left any contact details or did she knew where she was living, but no details were available.

Anil was in a very precarious situation, his mother needs to be operated on soon, she was running short of money, she could not lead a normal life leave alone working. How was she caring for the newborn child? Where will she be now? He couldn’t even fathom her position now. How painful it will be. Where will she be now? It is a hopeless situation and she could take extreme measures to relieve herself of the pain. He was running out of ideas to find her. He was losing his clarity of mind. Grief was taking over his body. All he needs now is a divine intervention. He was not a temple goer, everything was smooth in his life and he never bothered to even pray. Now all the suffering were coming to him with vengeance. He is suffering a lifetime of pain in a few days. He rushed to the nearest temple. There was a famous shiva temple in a nearby hillock. He rushed towards the temple and tried praying to god but all that he could manage was to cry. Not wanting to disturb other devotees he came out quietly. The temple had a wonderful vibration. The Shiva idol had such a calm look, it was very reassuring, but he was beyond all these experiences now. He had to find his mother NOW. Tears flowing through his cheeks he was becoming numb. He was about to collapse.

Seeing his emotions a sadhu came towards him. The head priest and his followers had only one goal in their life. Shiva Jnanae, jiva seva. The temple complex also had a small hospital and an ashram. The ashram was for destitute people. The sadhu took him to the head priest of the ashram. He knew Anil was in severe pain and only the head priest could console him. Anil briefed them about his problem and showed the guru the photo of his mom. Guru’s face brightened and he said, “son you have come to the right place”. She was here just hours before she wanted to join this ashram she was with a girl child. She even gave me some money but after accepting the child we couldn’t find her. We were wondering what happened to her and are waiting for her to return. We realised her vision was poor she needed medical attention. As we were attending to the needs of this child she disappeared. Anil did not know what to do. “Oh Lord, you are taking me so close to her and then making her vanish. He did not even have the strength to cry. The guru called a couple of his disciples and said she could not have gone far. He instructed his disciples to help him find her. A couple of them went down the hill, Anil and another disciple went towards the top of the Bullock. It was late into the evening, the storm was predicted for the night and they have to act quick. First time in the past few days he had someone to guide and help him. He found new vigour and they started running towards the top. The area was not vast but as it was getting dark and a pending storm they had to find her quick.

Taara.

She was in the worst frame of her mind. She was climbing the hillock aimlessly. What wrong did she do to suffer like this? She should not have taken the newborn child with her, she should have left the child with her father who could have given her a better life, but how will she grow without her mom, the toddler needs her mom at least for some year, she should have taken medical care but she had to rush to her dad and cry to him, the insult and beating were too much for her, yes she could have continued her treatment at her town, but his father too was too ill and she couldn’t risk any procedure on herself, why did she not ask Anil for help? At least she could have given the child to him. Her mind kept on analysing all possible things that she could have done, but none had a happy ending, every version was worse and at the speed at which everything deteriorated, she couldn’t do anything else. Now there was no use thinking about it. She thought all the celestial body has worked against her or was it her karma or her weakness, fear and stupidity was the reason for her present condition. Now at least her child is in safe hands and with her present condition, she was only a burden to all. Now all that she wanted was to end her suffering. Before that, all that she wanted was to call his son once and speak to him. Anil will take care of her child. That is the least she could do. She could barely see anything now. The rain started to pour down and thunder and lightning were striking at will. She could see a young man searching for something. He was moving aimlessly and hurriedly and when he was near her she extended her hand to call him and ask for a mobile. The young man who was in a hurry mistook her extended hand for a plea for money and gave her a note rushed away. It was the last mail in the coffin for her. Was she looking like a beggar? She slowly moved towards the cliff end.

Anil– Running hurriedly, he couldn’t see anyone, he could see only a poor beggar’s extended arm, he quickly took a note from his pocket and gave it to her and moved away. In few minutes one of the disciples shouted towards Anil and pointed towards the cliff. He could see the women now moving dangerously close towards the cliff. Only now it dawned on him, what if that was his mom, this is a secluded place. He shouted towards her but with rain pouring and thunder she could not hear, he ran towards her struggling to maintain his balance in the slippery road. The woman was at the edge and could jump any moment. Anil had only one choice he shouted Amma, he shouted multiple times, he shouted so loud that even the celestial beings could hear and suddenly for a moment the rain and thunder stopped. The only sound that filled the whole area was his voice. Amma.

Taara – Drowned in shame she decided to call it quits, she was even struggling to find the edge to jump, she could not even end her life. Then suddenly she realised the rain had stopped and she could hear the voice “Amma”, how could she forget that voice, the voice that gave her the joy of motherhood before giving childbirth. Was it Sundar his son? Or was she hallucinating? She had nothing to worry about for now? Her body started to shiver. She did not want to die. Her legs started to tremble. All that she needs to do is move a few steps away from the edge of the cliff. Her body could not take the cocktail of emotions and in just a few steps she fell unconscious.

She opened her eyes and saw the beautiful life-sized idol of Lord shiva. She wondered was in heaven already? Then she could see her son Anil rushing towards her. She was rescued and brought to the ashram. She was placed in front of the idol.  Realising she became conscious Anil ran towards her and sat next to her. With his 2 hands, he held her head and kissed her forehead. Yes she was in heaven.

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Rajesh Kumar Ragothaman

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