Please stop it Maa…don’t pray

It was about 5:30 in the evening on the 6th of December,2012 when she spoke hastily with her mother. “You don’t understand Maa I have too many things on my platter already to handle so don’t emotionally flatter me by this ‘I know beta(my child) you can do it’ stuff whereas in reality, as always you are indirectly expecting me to be as perfect as you are in shouldering everything that will come my way. You don’t know how unfair it is to keep adjusting all the time and just because you were over accommodating towards all that papa threw your way doesn’t mean I should also be doing all of it. Aur yeh kya hai(what is it?) Maa?? all this parayan (reading of holy book) and all that you keep doing for us? Please STOP IT. How has it helped us in all these years? We still had to face all the ups and downs, didn’t we? Chalo abhi (ok now) stop getting emotional and let me finish my work in the market. Jijaji(brother in law) will be reaching by 7pm, I also have to prepare dinner, I will call you back in sometime, abhi (now) bye!”, saying so Suman put the phone down in a hurry.

It was only around 10:10 at night when she recollected that she had not called her Maa back and felt guilty as well for the way she spoke to her in the evening. “koi baat nahi,(it’s okay) Maa knows that I don’t really mean it when I speak to her in that tone, Kal baat karke samjha dungi.(will speak to her tomorrow and sort it out)” Thoughts flooded her mind as she sat there having gajar ka halwa (sweet dish made using carrot) with her husband Varun and her jijaji. Suman was the youngest of all her siblings and so was closest to her mother and pampered a bit more than the others. When Suman got married her Maa’s place really lost its charm as it felt like an empty nest after all the off springs flew away and yet her Maa put up a happy brave face saying that she was indeed content to see her daughters settled in their own house. Suman had seen her mother suffer a major heart attack and had stood by her side through her healing and recovering days. Maa was never the same again even though she tried her best to hold on to her stronger version. Maybe she tried for the sake of Suman whom she yet had to get married. Even though she and Suman never expressly spoke about it Suman knew very well that her Maa had got her married within a year of suffering the heart attack and had let her go away at a time in her life when she actually needed her the most. Maybe that was the reason why Suman spoke to her atleast four times a day with a fearful anticipation that nothing of that sort should have happened to her again and every time they spoke she felt a sense of relief that her Maa is fine.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a phone call at 10:35. It was her cousin brother Ajay. He said in a grim voice, ” Suman hand over the phone to Varun” Varun kept the phone down in less than a minute. It was unusual for Ajay to call up at night. Suman asked,” what happened? What did he say? Is everything alright?” In response of which Varun told her that her Maa was no more, she had just passed away 5 minutes back due to a heart attack. It felt as if the sky had fallen, the world had collapsed. Suman felt she had betrayed her mother by not being by her side this time after all when they both were together her Maa had fought against all the odds and had survived through her heart attack. “Maybe Maa felt all alone and got weak when the heart attack came knocking this time, maybe if she had me around she would still fight it away for me??”, she thought as she sobbed uncontrollably.

When the reality sunk in that now Maa will never call up again, will never come back, a painful guilt struck Suman’s heart for having spoken to her dearest Maa in a tone which she never really meant to but now will forever be the last way in which she had her conversation with her. Suman wanted to apologise, to tell her a sorry!!, to convey that she never meant to speak like that but the time had already passed. She could never mend this.

It’s almost 10 years now and still not a single day goes by when Suman doesn’t feel the pain of not having her around. There is no way she can seek forgiveness from the guilt of having spoken in a tone she never meant to use and so she says a sorry silently to her dear Maa everyday in her prayers believing that she will know that her child was just an impatient and immature person that time.

It took loosing a dear one for Suman to realise the gravity of what was always evident that life is but temporary and everything can change in a fraction of a second. That we may think we have all the time in the world to love our dear ones but the only thing which is inevitable about life is that its unpredictable and you never know how long will it last.

Suman often wonders to herself if her last words to her Maa when she asked her to stop doing parayan (praying/reading holy book) for her happiness were what she really wanted? For even though she still doesnt know if parayan really helps to take away all the problems but one thing is clear that after loosing her Maa there will never be anyone in this world ever who will pray to God that fervently, putting her above themselves, to seek His blessings for her happy life.

– Sonali Bakshi

25/11/2022

Every year on her death anniversary I write down a poetry dedicating it to the fond memory of my mother. This time I thought of doing it differently. I MISS YOU Maa… ❤️

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