The Best Gift

The Best Gift

“Have you taken mom’s gift?” Saumil asked his wife Neha as they sat in the car.

Before Neha could reply, their 10 year old daughter Anya quipped, “Of course she has dad. Trust mom for everything.”

They all smiled and Saumil started the car to begin the one hour journey to his mother’s place.

Amrita was eagerly waiting for her son, daughter- in-law and granddaughter. Anya could not wait to teach her grandmother how to use the new phone that they had bought for her and immediately got to work.

On finding a moment alone with her daughter-in- law, Amrita looked worriedly at Neha and remarked, “Beta, look at your skin. It is so tanned and dry. Is it necessary to go and teach those street kids? With your qualification, you can get the best jobs in biggest companies. Why waste time here?”

Neha sighed. She did not want this topic of conversation to come up again for the nth time. Perhaps she would never be able to make her mother-in-law understand the happiness her work gave her. Being born and brought up in loving family and comfortable environment with all the facilities and joys of life, she strongly felt that she needed to do something for the less fortunate. What better way than educate children who are the future of our society! 

She gently replied, “I love to do this mom.”

“It’s okay that you like to do this. But this is not a proper job. Instead  spend time with Anya. Moreover, now that she is growing up, have you ever thought what does she feel about you. When her friends mothers, all smartly dressed up, work in big offices at high posts are doing so well for themselves, her mother is just teaching some street urchins!”

Neha kept quiet.

Later that evening, Anya was playing basketball with the kids in the building as her parents watched from the balcony. 

“She plays so well,” Neha smiled. 

“After all, she is my daughter!” teased Saumil, taking a sip from his tea. 

Next morning, a distressed Neha came out of her room. “Mom, Saumil, have you seen Anya? She is not in her room. I looked for her everywhere.”

Immediately everyone got on their feet to find Anya. The tensed family was looking  here and there when they spotted Anya with two small kids who were the children of the car cleaner in their society. She was teaching them how to write the letters of the English alphabet.

Amrita, Saumil and Neha were dumb struck. 

Suddenly, with pride in her eyes, Amrita gently caressed Neha’s cheeks and said, “After all, she is your daughter.”

Just then, Anya ran up to her mother, hugged her and said, “Happy Mother’s Day mom. I am so proud of you. Every mother takes care of her own child, but you take care of so many children.

Tears welled up in Neha’s eyes. She had received the best gift on this mothers day.
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Shalini Jain
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