Mother & Obliteration

As I try to take out the blue book for booking a gas cylinder, her wrist watch stares at me. As I open the doors of the shoerack, her glistening black slippers looks at me like a confident old lady who is happy with her state in life. Her nightie, towel are neatly folded in a hanger in the wardrobe. Her house slipper bears little signs of use in contrast to ours though we bought them together from Khadim.

A packet of nuts lie tightly packed with a rubber band on the nightstand beside her bed. She loved having nuts. We give hotgrams to the crows every morning because she loved the sound of the crows munching hotgrams. Her spectacles lie on the table beside her prayer book which contained 800 names of Lord Krishna. The niche in the house where she lovingly wiped the faces of the household deities before she worshipped them lies neglected for her working daughter is hard pressed for time.

She refused to have a cook for she enjoyed cooking for her family. Now the cook slyly drops an unwashed green chilly into the dal hoping that nobody has caught her red -handed!. Cobwebs are rearing their ugly heads in all nooks and corners of the house. She would have taken a duster and started the work of cleaning cobwebs all by herself.

"Father, we need to hire a duster or things will look terrible" says her daughter for she cannot afford time.

A fellow telephones from the company of the washing machine stating that madam had informed them that the drier's function needed to be checked . "Oh yes " replies the daughter. It was mom again.

The spice seller comes calling and says"Mashima had asked for one packet of haldi and cumin seeds. "A brahmachari from the Gouriyo Math, a favourite of hers knocks for subscription. Mashima had promised him a shawl for the winter season."Please give me one" he says apologetically.

Her photo on the wall looks affectionately at her daughter. She seems to ooze affection. "Poor girl" she seems to say. A relative telephones to offer condolences from a distant place in India. "She appeared to be fit. We did not realise that she will pass away so soon. Her death is a big blow to all of us. "

The bell rings and a relative barges in with a packet of Gobind Bhog chawal and vegetables. "This is for your family. ." says she. The daughter rushes into the kitchen to prepare tea.

Her glass lies on the dining table. "Remove this glass from the table before your father bursts into tears." says the elderly relative and the daughter complies. "Remove all her belongings in order that they do not give you pain" said my aunt. " It is all about how soon you are able to forget what happened. Watching tears well up in her niece's eyes the aunt says soothingly, "She is here in this very house. She has not departed. She is with you".


More by :  Prof. Arundhati Sarkar

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