With twinkling eyes filled with tears and a heart filled with anger and frustration, Ajay walked into the small pathway that led him into his tiny house… a house that was occupied by him and his mother since the time his drunken dad left them eight years ago…to fend for themselves.
‘OH! You are back early from school today. I know why, to eat your favorite kheer, right?” smiled Gayathri, as she came along to hug her son. Gayathri worked at a garment factory. Her meager salary of 4000 rupees was enough to suffice their basic needs of life. Yet, she made sure that she could give her son a good education, something that she lacked.
It was his 10th birthday and she wanted to make it special for him. She had prepared his favorite kheer…it was a dish that she prepared only on his birthday (the milk and sugar that costed to make it could not be afforded more often)
Not bothering to reply, Ajay fumed into the bathroom to wash his face, hands and legs…a protocol that had to be followed once Ajay entered the house… Gayathri had always been strict about Ajay’s mannerisms.
“What happened? My birthday boy is not in a good mood ha… “Called out Gayathri from the living room as she heard her son splash water in the bathroom.
As he dragged out of the bathroom, she held her saree pallu for him to wipe his face and hands….but he did not respond yet…
“Come on! Tell me what happened?”
“Why on earth did you give birth to me, if you could not buy me what I want? All my friends get bicycles, shoes, shirts and expensive gifts for their birthdays…And what do I get… Kheer??? Everybody in my class mock at me when I said that I get kheer for my birthday. You have it on your own. I don’t want it. “
Tears rolled down Gayathri’s cheeks as she heard her beloved son irate at her.
“All my friends have a nice house, they have a car, and they have nice shoes to wear in every possible weather. They also have nice food to eat. And here I am, always wearing torn shirts and broken slippers and eating left over food from Sharaddamma’s grand Friday night parties… I don’t want you, you don’t deserve to have me!! You have given me nothing”
There was a sudden silence filled in the house. The house seemed like a graveyard for a split second.
He expected his mother to shout back at him…. He expected her to get angry. … To yell at him … or to beat him… instead he saw his mother stand in silence… her eyes shimmered with the tears that now rolled down her cheeks.
After a long silence that seemed like eternity to Ajay, Gayathri spoke. Her voice stammered as she uttered her heart out.
‘Yeah, I don’t have any right to spoil your world’. ‘You are right, I have not given you anything. Since the time your dad left, I work 16 hours a day at the factory, to give you your ‘nothings’. I also work at the tailor on Sunday’s so that you could get your “nothings”. In the morning, I work at Sharadamma’s house, so that I could get some extra money to fulfill those basic needs of yours which are your “nothings” …
Yes, you are right, I don’t deserve to have you my son. “
… her voice refused to leave her throat…‘I will pray to God that if at all there is re-birth, you should be born in the womb of a mother who could afford to give you all that you deserve”
Ajay stood there gaping at his mother… his anger melted. He realized what a great blunder he had committed by talking to her in this fashion. Picking up his mother and making her sit on the bed ‘Sorry amma, I will never behave like this again… I know you work very hard… I know you are doing all that you can do to keep me happy and give me a good education… I got angry when my friends teased me today. I will never hurt you again amma… ’… Hugging her so tight that her tears changed into the tears of happiness….