Once again I can sleep till late....the curtains are neatly drawn so that sunlight does not scorch the sweet early morning dreams...I no longer need to worry about breakfast or lunch.....knowing that ma will take care of all that. Yes....ma is back! For the last one month i hated entering the dark and deserted house.....locking the doors every time i left home...as if i was checking in and out of a hotel! The beds were not as cosy as they used to be...the bed sheets seldom washed...the pillows never beaten with a broom in the balcony to make them fluffier.
Meals were matter-of-fact....mere consumption of food....for survival. The refrigerator lay loaded...but no one served my favourite "kasundi" as i reluctantly swallowed the boiled bitter gourd .One day I ran out of drinking water......carelessly forgetting to fill the water filter! What a night that was....thirst...and some salty tears of self pity!
Power cuts were so alarming....the empty candle stands with traces of molten wax....smiled at me mockingly.....as if to say....."learn to be independent". It was a dark, warm, evening....with mosquitoes to play with.....and no phone call...not a single one.
Almost forgot the taste of fish....."do not buy fish all by yourself.....they'll give you the rotten ones...and you'll fall ill"....ma said over the phone one day. So when friends talked about hilsa cooked with mustard...i could only smell it with my imagination!
The flower pots did not cooperate...."we don't need you" they said vainly when i watered them sometimes. They never greeted me with a blossom as they did when ma was around. I sometimes brought home some roses......not because I am particularly fond of roses but because i wanted to win the battle over ma's little garden. But i never found a flower vase....and the roses looked miserable in the Horlicks glass jars....the only replacement for flower vases i could lay my hands on.
Then in a dream one night.....i felt a beautifully scented room....the scent of incense sticks glowing in front of the idols that ma worships. Waking up in the middle of the night....i missed something terribly ...that smell of "chandan". The gods must have been angry with me.....for not lighting a single "diya" or an incence stick. Ma does that every day...the first thing after her bath...as the bathroom smells of a hair oil i never use....and the bedroom smells of chandan and flowers piously laid in front of the gods....with the largest red hibiscus at Ma Kali's feet.
Ma is in all that surrounds me.....in the glass of water that is carefully placed on the table everyday when i return from office....in the lunchbox lovingly packed......in the songs that make me happy. She's in the Holi i celebrated away from home for the first time this year...in the lonely nights when even the third capsule could not relieve me of the headache that torments me sometimes...
When I met her after 5 months and 10 days....she was all the same....reminding me of the protective curtains, the hilsa i craved for, the candle i could not find, the incense sticks i never bothered to light, the fluffy pillow i missed so much and.... the flower that never blossomed without her care.....