I was standing in the balcony, sipping my warm cup of tea, watching the slight drizzle. Early morning drizzles always bring a pleasant start for me at least. The plants in the garden are dancing to the tune of the showers, and birds have gone into their nests to hide from this rain. In the meantime, the entire house reverberated with one question/big shout. “Mom…Mommy, where are you?” That loud voice is from my little naughty munchkin. He is very attached to his mom and never lets her go out of his line of vision. He is just like his dad in this aspect.
Hearing this shout, I got transported to my childhood days. When we were in Chennai, all the people in my complex would know when my mom steps out of the hall into the other room, the moment they hear the same shout from me. “Mom…Mommy, where are you?” This is the only shout that used to keep the watchmen entertained, as otherwise, our entire complex is calm and quiet. Our neighbours used to say that I bring the life in this complex, as I and my mom would be out playing when I don’t have the school. Else, they would be hearing these shouts very frequently. This habit of mine continued from my toddlerhood till teenage. Only in the teenage, when I got a good gang of friends, I started spending more time outside the house. Till then, my mom used to be my only dearest friend.
My mom is my best buddy and she plays all the games with me. It might look silly for an outsider, but my mom would seriously sit and bake cakes in the pretend kitchen set along with me when I was just a toddler. Of Course, she later taught me how to use the microwave oven and bake the real cakes.
She is my partner in crime always. She taught me how to climb trees, fly kites, ride my cycle and everything. If she is the goalkeeper, nobody could score a goal and that’s why my friends always wanted her to be in our game. She used to bowl for me continuously. She never used to get tired. We both have so many wonderful memories together, as we are the ones to spend maximum time together. She has outsourced all her kitchen duties, so she can spend more time with me.
If we both start the scrabble game or the caroms, then those two games would go forever, and we wouldn’t even be noticing my dad returning from home. He would wait patiently for us to complete the game, and after a while, he would get dinner on one plate and would start feeding us. So, we three would end up eating from the same plate. Those were the wonderful memories of my childhood.
My extended family always keeps cracking jokes about our relationship and how I never leave my mom’s hand. They keep sharing one story after the other about our famous antics. According to them, there is one best story that symbolizes the friendship between me and my mom. None of my cousins or uncles, aunties will ever forget this incident. It has become really famous in our family. My extended family recounts that incident during all the gatherings and will have a fun riot, while I sheepishly escape from the room. I really blame my granny for sharing this incident with everyone.
As a toddler when they admitted me into a playschool, I never wanted to leave my mom and go to school. So daily there used to be a big crying session, before the start of the school. While returning also, I would be seen crying as I didn’t want to come tomorrow to school. I used to always ask my mom to sit and wait outside the gate till the time I return from the school it seems. Even then, nobody could control my tears at the gate when I had to leave my mom’s hand. This crying phase continued for more than a month.
So, my parents were forced to counsel me to stop crying. As they got to hear a lot about my crying from my room teacher. When they enquired, as to why I am still crying, whether am not happy with the playschool or my new friends there? The answer I gave them baffled them it seems. I was missing the warm hugs of my mom during school time. School time was hardly 3 hours, but still, I wanted my mom to come and hug me during those 3 hours also. I told them that none of the kids or the room teacher is equal to my mom and I want only my mom.
So, for that, my mom who usually is a quick thinker got out her small photograph (passport sized) and gave it to me. She told me that she would attach this photo on the backside of my ID-card. So that her photo would always touch my body and I can flip it back and give her kisses whenever I miss her. I still remember her dialogue when she handed the modified ID card to me. “Don’t worry, even if I am far, I am always with you” in this ID card, and this is our little secret. So next month, the complaint my room teacher gave to my parents was that I am always busy playing with my ID card. But she was not aware of my little secret then. But there came a time when she came to know about our little secret.
For the next 5 months or so, whenever, I used to feel very lonely and sad in the class I used to take out my ID card and keep looking at my mom stealthily and keep kissing her photo. My room teacher thought that I am getting distracted with my ID card. Hence, she used to complain to my parent’s month after month about my not concentrating in the class. My room teacher never got a chance to observe my mom’s photo on the ID card.
One day, when another boy tried pulling the ID card from my hand, the ID card fell, and my mom’s photo has fallen. And that’s all the I started crying loudly and everyone was confused as to why I started crying so loudly, they tried to give my ID card back to me, but I didn’t stop crying as I couldn’t locate my mommy’s photo. That’s when everyone came to know that there is my mom’s photo too in the ID card. And everyone started searching and could locate the photo on the ground after 5 minutes or so. This incident has gone up to the school principal too. Though I didn’t go to his room, I heard my parents discussing as to how the principal was laughing seeing my mom’s photo in my ID card. The principal told my parents to make me a strong boy it seems. He doesn’t know, how strong and brave the boy I was. It’s just that I can’t leave my mom for a long duration and wanted to stay closer to my mom always. I didn’t understand at that age or even now, why people make fun of those boys who are attached to their moms.
So, now this story would have ended, provided my granny was not aware of it. But since the day this meeting with the principal has happened when my granny was around, she broadcasted this incident to everyone in my family. Now everyone calls me a mommy’s boy and Of Course, I never had any reservations in people calling me that. As my mommy is my first and best friend to date and no one could replace that fact. So, there is no need for me to shy away from that name.
Slowly, as time progressed, I started moving out of my mother by creating a world outside my house. But even then, whenever, I am tired or needed some advice, my mom’s lap was always there for me. I think that’s the case with all the mothers. But my mother is always special for me, as she is my hearing board and would give me the right advice at the right time.
She is the one who gave me the courage to propose to my wife Shalini, who was my crush in the college. She knew all about my crushes, puppy love stories and everything. I used to be very open with her and she understood me without even me speaking my mind. With my mom’s support, we both got finally married and settled happily.
Shalini also accepted my mom as her mom and they both never had any issues that are typical between any mother and daughters-in-law. She became very close to my mom. In fact, at times, they both used to gang up against me. But their close relationship never bothered me, as I always know that there is a special place for me in my mom’s heart.
If everything is going on smooth like a happy ride, then it’s not called life, isn’t it? There came a sudden storm in my life without any prior information. I was not at all prepared for that storm. For me, it’s like entering a dark tunnel, without any light in my hand. I am not even sure how long this tunnel is, whether I would be able to come out of it or not. Agreed that everyone is around me and trying their level best to help me out, but grief is something that’s hard to share with people and one has to come out of it on his own. I am just like a lost kid looking out in all the directions worriedly for a ray of hope/light.
But in the meantime, another shout from inside the house got me back to the present. The drizzle has stopped, and my tea has gone cold. I walked inside to find my little boy sitting in the middle of a water puddle mixed with all colours and crying for his mom. The entire floor is a big mess but near this entire mess, there is this small, yet beautiful painting was done by my kid for the first time and its written “Happy Family” on top of it, in his childish handwriting.
Shalini must have gone inside to get the mop and hence my kid is shouting again, as he doesn’t want his mom to move out. I bent down to pick up my kid from that messy surroundings. My chain popped out of my T-shirt and there comes another happy squeal from my kid. He shouts granny and starts playing with the locket on my chain. My mommy’s photo is there on that locket.
It struck me just then that life has come back to full circle, and its turn of Shalini and my kid to build that ever-lasting friendship bond between them. Every mom is a special one to her kid. But it’s the mom who must decide whether she wants to become a true friend to her kid or be a mom alone. Will Shalini be able to become a friendly mom to our kid or will she want to be his mom alone? What will be my role in all this? Should I help them in developing that ever-lasting friendship bond between them by sharing my journey with my mom? Or should I just stand in the sidelines and watch it grow? Only time has to answer all these questions.
There came a sudden lightening in the dark sky above which whispered those very same words for which I have been waiting for the last three months. ‘Even if I am far, I am always with you”. Did I imagine those words, or did I really hear them? But some positive warmth started engulfing me and, in my mind, I was able to see the light at the end of the black tunnel.
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