I felt different, for all other times, I had been home. It was just the company of three dogs, a few dozen books, my Ghazal collection, a few friends hanging by home and the otherly men stuff. This time it was all different. Dad called me up, before I left to home. This was our conversation.
Me: Hello dad,
Him: yup febi, how are you?
Me: I didn’t want to make it difficult for him, so I chose to speak for what he had called me in the first place. “fine, I got your mail.”
Him: “I’m sorry about it, hope you don’t mind.” I did sense his hesitation.
Me: I really mind dad, I just cannot entertain them. (though I felt like shouting those words at him. I didn’t) Instead, “Fine by me, dad”
Him: Thanks Sonny, I appreciate that.
Me: Not a problem, dad….
Him: hmmm… what?
Me: “Drive safe”, I don’t know why I spoke those words.. I never ever remotely spoke to him, liked I cared, in all these years.
It was a week back. Dad came home and left. I am here, with his family. It sounds strange to know that my dad has a family, to which I don’t claim to be a member. It was a thorough discomfort to be put up under the same roof, I did felt bad for me, for them and then for us.
I chose to be myself, slept and woke up at my own. She had been not so pushy, but made sure that I was looked after. She got milk to the bed in the morning, prepared vegetable/fruit salads in the noon, got curd and rice for dinner. All through her stay, she avoided rotis, which I’m sure dad would have informed her about my hatredness for roti and aloo. It kind of made me difficult to be at home, for all that she had been to me, I never had a kind word or smile for reciprocation.
It was good to see a new warmth-filled touch to home, which only a woman-mother can give, the sight of kids at home, running around, keeping Tuffy, leila and Yoppy busy all through the day. They were a bunch of never-tiring-souls. Seeing them in action made me feel good. I remember one noon, when I was about to leave somewhere, I saw the younger one, compelling her mom to take her out to the nearby lake, to which she was blatantly refusing. As I walked by, the little one, shouted, “Can’t chetta take us out in his bike?”
I noticed that the girl spoke to her mom in Hindi. Till then, I had been in an illusion that she was a Malayalee. She spoke a perfect malayalam. Then I remembered dad, asking me to help her with anything, if she wants, as she was not so fluent with the local language.
The girl, then burst into tears and sobbed into her mom’s lap. I looked at her mom, she gave me a embarrassed smile. I went to her and patted the little girl and asked her if she wants to accompany me to the lake. She was all smiles. Before I could turn around, there was the other kid, who ran up to me and held my hand. And she had this beautiful pleading smile on her face, with which all my defense melt away. I suddenly felt like that big bro, whose only duty was to love and give.
As I kicked my engine and veered off to the gate, the kids were waving frantically at their mom, I saw her, wiping her eyes with the corner of her pallu. It was the first time, I noticed the similarity. She always wore a cotton Saree.
I was mad at her, the second day, when I saw her getting out of the master bedroom. I Know it was no business of mine, where she stays, what she does at the house, which ceased to be a home for me. I was frowned up and I snapped at her the full day for no reasons. I felt bad. I know that I cannot go to her and make it up for my rudeness.
I had been waiting to grab a chance and these kids made it.
we returned around five in the evening, with the kids dresses fully wet and smudged with mud. They were holding a bag full of chocolates, cakes and other fruits picked from our woods nearby and started to tell their tales. All through the time of the kid’s narrative excitement, she was looking at me. I could sense the gratitude in her glance. Then I realized how much grounded the kids would have felt, being put up at home.
Next day morning the kids came to my bed to wake me up. It was nothing new. It would be either yoppy/leila/tuffy who would be doing that every day and wake me up from my paradise-sleep. They woke me up and urged me to get ready, soon they were in the bed, playing and three dogs took turns to lick me out of sleep. I could only choose to get up.
They took me out that day and wanted me to play with them. I felt awkward first, then felt the child leashing out of me. We were playing football and Yoppy out of no-where brought the water-hose. That handsome-brute loves to get spoiled in water. All through the time, we were playing in the garden, their mom was watching us from the porch. It was the same what my mom did when I played with friends and my kid bro.
That day evening, I got down to stay in the porch for a while, as it was a moonlit night. She was sitting at the porch. She greeted me, with her warm smile. I sat beside her. We spoke for the first time. It was quite a natural conversation. It wonders me to know that she knows a lot about me more than my dad could have ever bothered to know about me.
It felt good. She thanked me for taking the kids out and playing with them, telling me that they really liked being in my company. I told her that I felt really good and more alive in their company. Then I saw the book in her lap, “One hundred years of solitude” by Marquez. It was a surprise for me to know that she is a reader. I had seen her other times, either in the kitchen cooking with music plugged in, working in the garden, playing with the dogs, attending her kids, knitting, painting, All these days, I had never seen her hooked to the TV, not even a second. Something that I had seen only in my mom.
Could it be that, my dad fell for the same woman in her too as how he fell for a woman thirty years back in my mom ?
For one-thing I never realized that I started considering her mom. And I don’t want to do what I did to my own mom- To hate, for all that she had been to me. It is quite complex to explain everything. The way I loved my mom and the way I wanted my dad and my mom to be together. I didn’t understand them or their love. All I had been was rude and arrogant. I never showed a inkling of love and care to my own mom all through her living years. For all the time I cried every-night, with her next to my room, and never showing my love. My one act of Kindness would have made it easy for both of us, would have healed our bitter-past. Yet I didn’t.
I don’t want to do the same to her, my mom. My sister’s mom. I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I don’t want to destroy the family as How I brought my own home to ruins. I want to love them. I want to love my dad, love my mom, more than my own mom, as I understand that’s the only way I can seek my mom’s forgiveness.
I’m tired of a life without a family around. I Hope my dad lets me into his family.