It was my grandparents’ 40th wedding anniversary. The day was special. Apart from the celebrations that made the day special, it was carved into my memory for one more reason – my promise to my mother.
She was wearing a beautiful blue sari, radiating glow. I still remember the sari to every detail. She was showered with compliments and proudly informed anyone who asked her that it was my father’s gift for her birthday.
I promised something to myself and declared it to my mother that very evening.
“Amma, when I start earning, my first purchase would be a sari for you,” I smiled.
“Thanks, Rohit,” she hugged me.
“Should be around 8 years, Amma. I think I would be 21 by then. I can’t wait to make it happen.”
“Me too, dear. That’s every mother’s wish. My boy is growing so fast,” she grinned.
Years passed and I began to pursue a graduation degree in Engineering. My calculation had been quite right. I got my first job in a renowned multinational company when I was 21. I had been waiting for so long to have my promise fulfilled. I still remember my mother’s hug and smile that day when the whole place was brilliantly lit and pure ecstasy was written all over our faces. That was probably the last time I had seen them all so joyful.
Situation at our happy abode took a sharp negative turn and so unexpected were the turn of events that it was quite hard to fathom and digest.
I sometimes replayed the celebrations in my mind, just to have a peek into my mother’s elated face. When I was feeling drained and demotivated to take a step ahead, the promise to her kept me pushing forward.
The day dawned. I received my first salary. It was a usual weekday of training at work. Soon after it was over, I rode to the nearest store. I went through the array of saris displayed in the racks and picked a violet one with a pink border. I bought the sari and came straight home. It was a breezy ride that made my eyes teary, although I wasn’t sure if the tears were due to the bubbling emotions inside me or the breeze.
“Amma, I fulfilled my promise,” I announced as I opened the door.
I stood near the couch looking at her, beaming at me from the large frame hung at our living room.
Tears trickled down. The breeze was not to be blamed, indeed.
As I kept the sari below her photo, copious tears flowed out. I blinked.
I looked back at the day I made her the promise, when I was 13 and the day she left me as she succumbed to the wiles of Cancer, when I was 18.
I wished I could tell her that day, when I was 21, when I bought her the sari, when I fulfilled the promise, “Amma, why did you not live to see my first gift?”
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