The telephone rang resounding within the four walls of the dimly lit room of a second storey flat. The door of the adjoining room opened. An elderly lady crossed the room to answer the call…

Following Sunday..

“Really! I had told you to get the walking stick!

She needs to walk. It has been two years since we met. She told me she would like to meet us near the lift when we reach home!”

‘Bhabi ji, she insisted on walking down the stairs herself, with me following her!’

Natasha was at her wit’s end.

‘You let me know when she wishes to come downstairs. I will be reaching the flat before her.’

The flight reached the terminal at 10 a.m. and Natasha with her seven year old child Vicky made a beeline for their luggage before hopping on to a taxi. It was twelve thirty by the time they reached Anand Apartments.

Natasha held to her son’s hand and advanced towards their flat lift. Someone was getting onto the lift. It was the second floor. Could it be her mother?

The lift stopped. It was Raju, their household caretaker. 

“Why are you limping Raju? “

I had a fall didi. Someone had carelessly spilled water near the lift door.”

‘So, is mother waiting upstairs? Did you get her a walking stick?”

” Bhabi ji, look behind you!”

The door opened, and she stepped out.barely recognisable in her new avatar!”

Dressed in a light blue sari and holding a walking stick, stood Mrs. Suniti Kumar.

“Mom! How is this possible! You were not able to walk on your own, the last time we met.”

The rest of the day was marked by the laughter and joy. Suniti had undergone a knee replacement surgery. Ritesh, Natasha’s brother had been carefully monitoring her progress, being an orthopaedic surgeon himself.

“But why was I kept in the dark? questioned Natasha.

“My dear, I wanted to give you a surprise. Moreover, you had said, you will leave your job in Boston and come here,which would certainly not be good, now that Vicky has joined school there. Look at me! I am doing well. So, please don’t sacrifice your future ambitions. How is Rohit? He is an Indian Foreign Service holder. Why choose to disrupt your settled life there? ”

Tears rolled down Natasha’s eyes. That is whom you call Mother!

Suniti had been Natasha’s fortress of strength. After her earlier marriage had ended abruptly, with little Vicky in her arms, Suniti had volunteered to look after the child, while Natasha was frantically looking for a respectable job, to support herself and her child. 

It was a day of celebration when Natasha got a job as a professor of Sociology. During the early stages of Vicky’s growing up Suniti let go of her rest to take care of the child. But that had begun to take its toll on her. 

But now, Natasha once again could go back to her husband , knowing well that mother would be doing fine!


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Arpita Bhattacharya
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