The Heart of the Rose


Our love affair with flowers is well known. From offering saffron hues of Marigold for worshiping God to the decorative malas(garlands) made out with choicest of fragrant Mogras and Rajnigandhas for wedding ceremonies, filling the ambience with sweet calmness and craving belongingness and a grand affair to spill over, seems surreal. Even making a beauty statement further, a dainty jasmine flower chain is worn in the hair in form of Gajras(small garland chains) by the bride and some of the dames virtuously, during the ceremony and even on day to day life; Flowers, the epitome of nature’s beauty are surely for real even though ephemeral.

The flowers with its pure exquisite beauty sometimes professes a pristine hope and at times teases the heart with new desire. The queen of flowers is not behind though. Something mystical about it. Rose is a rose is a rose. It’s like an alluring beauty having a profound deepness in it’s belly to be expressed. As if whispering a tale to tell:
“But he who dares not grasp the thorn,
Should never crave for the rose.”
– Anne Bronte…

The story doesn’t end but rather begins here. It’s the tale of a flower-seller and the story of a regular urban girl like you and me, two people from totally different realms of world.
Every morning Ganga, who is almost sixty, will walk down nine kilometres with her chapped, barren feet at a stretch to the nearby highway road to sell Rose bouquets. Those bouquets couldn’t match with the ones which we find in city boutiques. They were not as refined and never did had the touch of artistry unlike them.
Her’s were the bunch of roses knitted together as naturally as they are meant to be; untouched and unspoiled by any. City people and passers-by will pick up those for the bargain they get, as it is half the cost of freshness being offered. At days, she will reap One-fifty Rupees and if lucky may be Three Hundred, which was pretty rare. But then some days will mock her hardships further and she will return home almost empty handed to feed two ever-urging stomach, burden of non-refilled medicines, reconciling with the bare minimum necessities.

It’s been almost seven years that she started this meagre income source after her husband Hari was diagnosed with Cirrhosis coz of excessive liquor consumption and was left partially paralysed. Ganga was married when she was hardly seventeen. At that tender age, only purpose for which she got married was to get three times of meal which her father couldn’t provide belonging to a poor landless tribal belt. Her entire life she was devoted to Hari as she laboured, toiled hard to support him over the years.
It was not like this before as Hari was a skillful young man and kept Ganga well nourished and cherished. Things started crumbling as he fell prey to intoxicant and the days of misery just added bit by bit to the extent that today he lay there motionless, half decayed forgoing Ganga to God’s mercy. Even if childless, the marriage was fruitful as Hari always was a faithful husband and Ganga a true consort.

The month of July this year was falling short of rain. Scattered drizzles could not uplift the brazen spirit longing for rain. That morning when Ganga reached her usual spot besides the highway road, a few minutes to nine, a car halted just across the crossing and a figure walked towards her.
A girl in her late twenties, pleasent and cherubic, yet something frazzled and somber about her demeanour approached. She picked up a bouquet and without any hesitation paid the price leaving no room for negotiation. Ganga felt relieved as the day began with a happy note.

Quite attentively and heedfully, Maya placed the bouquet on the front seat of her car, as if a mother settling her baby gently. As she started driving, her tenacity could not uphold the leftover anguish and her red, tear rimmed eyes dripped with the showers of intense bereavement.
Roses are so special. Especially special are these red ones as those were dearest to Mom, she gasped. Mother herself planted, watered, pruned and nurtured them….these beautiful babies, she used to call them playfully. Roses are God’s best gift to nature, according to mom it was.
“These satin silk petals in those fragile layers spreading along with it a tender, warm aroma is like a magic, which can uplift any wearied heart,” Mother used to confess. And every time she will handpick a few and knit them together and decorate them besides the bed.

And that fine day, when she was just twelve and she saved some money to buy a bouquet for mom’s birthday, and with the gleeful expressions on mom’s eyes, tears of gladness rolled down her cheek, she accepted and kissed those roses and murmured,
“How blessed a mother can be having a girl like you! “
Perhaps that was the best surprise she ever received in her life. Through out the years, Maya knew that her Mother was a tender, sensitive soul just like the Roses. So much so that even life’s natural toils and trials were harsher to her. She was too good, too fragile to be in this jagged world. And just like that one day abruptly, she gave up the ultimate fight; the fight for life and with that collapsed Maya’s affectionate existence too.

It’s been ten years, she lost her and on every birthday of Mother, she would pick up a bouquet filled with brightest of bright red roses and will place it besides her bed, the way Mom used to. Over the years even the pain and agony to bear the loss became a routine.
As if nothing is in our hand. And this ceaseless toil to win, to capture, to gain, to impress, to fight it out anyhow, continues and never ends.
“If nothing is in our hand and we are mere puppets then why this perennial toil! What an irony!” Perhaps that’s what is Life; you eat, you sleep, you love, you work, you cry, you smile, you scream but you live knowing the unknown. Life is hope and to have hope is life.”, she reflected.

But today was an unusual day. There was something about the day. Something hopeful, may be. When she woke up and drifted her bedroom curtains aside, the morning sky looked a little more azure and the birds chirping felt like a sweet Mozart Piano Sonata to soothe a crying newborn.
She was well aware that it was Mother’s birthday today but she didn’t feel forlorn, rather a strange smile flickered on her face and she brushed her fingers across the belly quietly and softly. She knew if alive, Mom would have jumped to glory out of sheer happiness after getting the blissful news.
But truth like roses have thorns and she is not there in this transient mortal world, where she can hug her tight and Mom would kiss her belly and bless the new lease of life to flourish and prosper, which is breathing within her. For where, she can cry her heart out with tears of sorrow as well as happiness clutching mom tight, for one last time.

While driving through the mist and drizzle, Maya made up her mind. She reached where she left from. She went to the usual spot and rendered the bouquet to Ganga. Quite astonished, Ganga was dismayed as she hardly made any earning today. Little hesitatingly, she took out money and offered Maya back her amount.
Maya expressed,
“Do not as these are for you; from me to you. If only anything in this world, these beauties will aptly match the beauty of your soul….a soul which has seen and faced it all valiantly all through and still smiles…a soul liberated.”

All these years she was just a flower seller. But today, Ganga was more than that. She felt like a woman, like a human after all, a sensation which was lost in these many years, within the intricacies of survival and to top that being wretched and poor was nothing less than a sin. Though already wilted after a full day exposure, the Rose still appeared luminous as if for the first time it’s heart swelled and overflowed  with joy for being with a beautiful soul like her. Ganga caressed those delicate petals for once gently, but with her coarse, withered fingers as if it was the most invaluable thing in this world to her. For the first time in life, she held those bunches of Roses on her hand like a proud owner, rather than a caretaker or to say a seller. She smiled at Maya with heartfelt thankfulness.

But then while she was still in that sudden unexpected state of indulgence, Maya scouted her purse and took out a Five Hundred Rupee note and placed it on Ganga’s palm and clasped them intact with her own hands and looking straight deep down to Ganga’s eyes, kind of gaze which pierces through one’s soul, she whispered calmly to Ganga,
” Today is my Mother’s Birthday. She is not with us anymore. I want you to get some sweets for your family to celebrate this auspicious day with me. Would you mind doing that?”
Ganga couldn’t stop the inner battle and sobbed with gratitude and accepted the grant. She smiled and mulled over that finally tonight Hari’s medicines could be replenished.
And saying so, Maya left the place. While walking back towards the car, as the gentle supple drizzles slid down her face and then neck and a sense of repose and feeling at peace sank in, she was reminded of what mother used to say,
“The Rose always speaks of love silently in a language known only to the heart, my dear.”


Image Courtsey: The Rose Seller by Uday Narayanan @


Note: The story is incomplete without this note. Few days back I happened to visit Uday Narayanan’s photography blog ‘Slice of Life’. It’s an work of art with exquisite, impressive shots. To say less, Uday for me is an amazing photographer. Quite playfully, I mentioned on the vivid capture I used in this story ‘The Rose Seller’ to him, that it’s an intriguing photograph and I would love to write a piece on this. Uday gave me the consent for the visual and I hope I gave right words to it with my humble effort. Thank you Uday for having faith.


And it rained that night…..



The sweltering Indian heat took it’s toll. Around 46 degree celsius, it left no one with mercy. The only game left was to wait…..Come rain, Come again….fill the lives and seal the pain.
When you bleed, you see the pain. What when you don’t (bleed)! That’s the time you feel the pang – a sharp, shooting, unabashed and ingrained clot which refuses to bleed. And after awhile it becomes a part of your life. You just live with it. Maybe it tricks you to live with it.
As tricky are the ways of the world, even if we know, when everything is not in our hand but then we hopelessly try to seize and pursue. We are just hopelessly hopeful in that sense.

The slithering sweat on his face gave a testimony…the culprit was not just the summer heat that added to the messiness. But, behind those sticky fluids were hidden few drops of unwanted tears which just drifted unaware.

It was not a lover’s tiff nor an amorous banter. For him, she was not just love. She was more than that. She was the only emotion he felt for a while. She was that human touch he sensed in a while. She was like that last straw for a drowning man. To him, she was Hope. Chasing hope was not easy and when you had it all, letting it go was way harder.
But love was not enough! With that came the fears, apprehensions, distrust and then, time to commit. To commit in love was not enough, to commit with marriage was.

” I am not afraid of commitment. Commitment is not an issue, trust is. Does the bond we shared was of any worth? Is love not above everything. Why the validation? Why the rush! I guess love too needs a warranty. She gave me an ultimatum; utterly crude and childish. She never trusted me. I feel marriage is not for one and all.” He mulled over.

While lost in thoughts, the engine abruptly made a sudden, screeching noise; with that a thud and then halt. The car just stopped unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere. May be it was wearied and drained, just as much as him. The area was desolate and outskirt. There was a need for some fresh air after that long aimless wandering to nowhere.

In his distant vision he could see a house. It looked deserted and as if, forsaken. As he approached near the house …. it stood there erect, like rejected and discarded in that intense unbearable quietude. The exterior was unkempt with lively undergrowth of thickets. The windows were dusty and stained pleading to be revealed.
The unused and almost rotten cane furniture in the front porch(veranda) was urging to be occupied. A cracked mossy cricket bat masked under the foliage(greens) in front of the garden area, was longing to be gripped. A discoloured bangle with slight golden patches lay there on that muddy soil was bitterly smiling, with the hope to be worn again.

There was a void, an emptiness lingering. An emptiness as if the house is begging to be touched, to be felt and to be lived once again. The air was heavy but not eerie rather something warm and engaging about it as if desperate of being alone, trying to tell a story.

Once there lived a boy around nine may be. He lived with his mom and dad. It was a family of love, fondness and devotion. It was a home for these three people who were inseparable, as if three bodies but one soul. They lived happily and merrily, at least the boy thought so. At nine, all you need is loving care and protection and the rest, you leave that to your parent to tackle and persevere. Carefree and nonchalant were those days of innocence and childhood.

That tattered cricket bat reminded him of those eager, wishful lazy Sunday noons, when father used to coach him a trick or two; rather say drilled the techniques of the game. To the little boy’s mind, those were mostly bouncers; again a word taught by Dad while practising. But what he looked forward to were those brief male bonding times. It used to make him feel little grown up. How mom used to rush and put some sweet pieces of his favourite Sultanas(dried seedless grapes) on his mouth in between and would tell him to hurry up as it’s time to take a bath. How the cricket buddies will plead for that extra ten minutes and then it will add upto twenty more. That’s it. They have to be ready for the consequences now.

But then almost like nothing happened she will persuade him, little angrily though, and march along with him towards the bathroom. While they walked together, the sounds of those bangles on her wrists were as tender and sweet as sultanas, his favourites. Then the family will share some warm delectable meal together cooked with mom’s loving touch. They will share laughters and pains, some occasional stress and strains, dreams and aspirations, hopes and apprehensions all along together being a family. Didn’t I tell you, they were like three bodies in one soul. That closer.

His birthday was closer too and the excitement ran along with it. He was going to cross the single digit tag. So many plans chalked out by him and mom, and dad too. It was going to be a good affair. It was going to be a hell of a party with a ceremony(prayer).
The ceremony did happen but it was mother’s last rites, just three days before he would have hit ten.
At nine, his innocence mercifully shielded his sadness. After months of tears and grief, he helplessly struggled to cope. Dad became his friend, caretaker and mentor. He sold the house as every corner smelled and whispered of mom’s presence.

Quite painstakingly they trailed a new beginning. But the tragedy was not over yet. Within next two years, he lost his only guide and nurturer too. He was hardly twelve at that point of time. After mom’s death, Dad was never the same. He walked, talked and sometimes laughed too. But he was damaged beyond repair. She completed him. And now he lived incomplete. Their love was deep and boundless. He was like a dead soul in living body for those last two years, before dad died.

From that time on, life did never looked the same. He was not just a genetic legacy to them. He was their reflection. And when the bodies evaporated with the soul, the disturbed shadow struggled for it’s existence every second. He did do anything to get them back in flesh and blood. Though he lived a mortal life to read, sleep and eat in that order….he was living a life of gradual death with a numbed existence. He was like a lost soul, then after. Then she came like a tiny shaft of light, at the end of the tunnel.
Why always life puts you in the crossroads which you don’t want to face? It’s the same old wretched circle!

A few fine drops of drizzle on his face just smacked him out of his trance. There he was, standing in front of that wretched house and his past memories haunted and then slapped him hard. He cried out loud – still grieving, whimpering and lamenting. A dark sullen cry as if forced out of a deeper dark labyrinth of sadness, remorse, angst and above all fear.
All these while he kept it inside him subconsciously, in the core of his heart like a raw tender sore unhealed and unattended. He was in denial, struck in the past. A past ingrained with pain and woeful circumstances. And all these while the universe stood their in silence, in awe to witness pitifully that little boy’s misfortune.

But after the heartfelt cry, which unleashed the inner hidden monster, he felt relieved, as light as a feather, for the first time in his life. It looked as if Fear has made him suffer more than it was capable of. He always ran…ran away far adrift from anything called family or home.

Back to his conscious self, he suddenly felt that stifling humid temperature dribbling down his skin. The temperature might have raised upto that unbearable 48 degrees by now. The dark gray clouds rumbled and thundered with it’s all gathered might. The tiny soothing droplets filled his palm and then his face. With each roar the rainfall picked up its momentum.

And it rained that night….as if it never rained like that before. It rained heavily and poured densely and washed away with it, some jitters and few misgivings. He was fully drenched with nature’s kindness.
‘Only when we are no longer afraid, we do begin to live’, he reflected on the quote which he read somewhere.

He rushed towards the car to find some shelter. He took a deep sigh and picked the book lying over the front passenger seat. He started reading from where he left. The lines said:
Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

There appeared a teeny weeny smirk on his face. And then a smile; earnest, aware and glad for where he stands today and what life might offer him tomorrow; a sincere chance to live a life truly once again.
He picked up his phone and made a call. The very first expression which mumbled out of his mouth in sheer delight was,

“Let’s get married.”


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.






It was the spring of 1992. The air was light and fluffy with smell of fresh blooming flowers and sun kissed warmth to start a brand new day. As he is getting ready for his college, the song by Phill Collins emotes through the stereo system:

♫♫♫ ~~~~~ You’re the only one who really knew me at all, So take a look at me now~~~~~~ ♫♫♫

While he is crooning and whistling along the tune, his heart raptures into this sweet pain and mind cruises to that tender reflection of hers. She is all that he could have dreamt of and asked for . The lovely, gorgeous angelic face, those magical engaging eyes, a dazzling killer smile to die for. Her infectious nonchalant laughter almost always fills his desire with new set of hope. The brown wavy hair which flows like a gentle meandering stream, and a sublime, alluring presence that captures his reckless heart and subdues his wandering mind that nothing in this world could have dared to.

“She is nothing less than a benediction
to his otherwise uninteresting recluse life.
She is the love what he longed for
every moment of the day and every single night.”

He knows her inside and out. She did share her treasured dreams, her toughest trials, the unseen prayers and even her innermost fears to him. She would call him and tell him how much she miss him if they don’t see each other for a day or two. They are inseparable. And the musing comes to an end as the phone rings and on the other side it’s no one other than his lady divine, which he no longer wants to be away from for even fraction of a second.

The eyes met but they have to wait as the lecture session continues. How much he looks forward to these few hours which fills for him, his Entire zest for the day! As the class gets over, she rushes towards him with that endearing smile on her face and clasps his hands tightly and securely as if he is the safest harbour. The craving look in her eyes to be with him and spend some sweet moment of nothingness is intense. The feelings could not be better as being mutual. They make their way through the crowd to find some resort to hang around to a place, little roomy and uncrowded, where they can talk and laugh and share their heart out in those counted times of togetherness.

As they pass through the archways and pathways, they find themselve in the lap of nature in the campus botanical garden, a place secluded and calm; like two lovebirds lost in the idyllic serene. He is so much over the moon and as happy as a sandboy. She looks pleased but then the eyes says it all.What’s with her eyes today! It has that eerie feeling with a vague, distant gaze, something which he never witnessed before.

When enquired, she unfolds that she is hitched to a guy through her parent and maybe these are her last few days in the college. As an hour pass by and the time for the next discourse, she gives him a warm caress…before leaving him alone there, just like that; dazed, dismayed and blown away…..

How could she?
How dare could she?
Is she that ruthless?
Is she that remorseless?
Is she that a gold digger?
Does love is just a plaything for her?
Does that love even matter to her?
Does that love exist at all?
Is she that Heartless?

As he stands there aghast and heartbroken….she walks away like a heartless.
But then how could she be heartless!
When in the whole world, he never did confessed verbally or uttered his insanely impeccable love to her.
And the words from the leftover song from morning reverberates all through his numb mind as if insulating him from his entire surrounding…..

♫♫♫ ~~~~~ How can I just let you walk away,
Just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh ooh
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

How can you just walk away from me
When all I can do is watch you leave?
‘Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain
And even shared the tears
You’re the only one who really knew me at all ~~~~~♫♫♫

So take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
Ooh, Take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space ~~~~~♫♫♫

Yet Another Love Story…. (Release or Renew)



(A Short-fiction story)

“Anything I say or tell him even if it’s with good intentions utmost or for our mutual benefit, it backfires. It backfires to such depth that I am wounded. In this living body I continue, but soulfully dead. I don’t know if it’s the same for others. Life has never been kind to me. First time while I was in my adolescence, I realised life treats you the way you don’t want to be treated. All our fears and apprehensions come in form of challenges we face. We face it with courage or bow down to it in fear; crux of the matter is you have to go through it. It’s inevitable.

When you love someone more than yourself, the risk is that much uncertain. But we take it as it might bring some solace or joy to our life and when that very someone becomes the reason for our agony, then we are left with two choices – ‘Release or Renew’. What’s more worthy in a relationship ? Renew in a relationship needs more than you; the effort of other person too whereas Release(let go) needs just you. Both are arduous to approach but then these are the only two doors open to us at that point of time.” So she mused.

Naina(Indian name meaning eyes) thought she will never be happy in her life again; as if the whole universe was plotting against her. But then life changed. What happened that night was nothing less than a benediction.

She fell asleep waiting for him on the cement patio….hoping that he will come and wipe her tears gently but with his rough patchy hands. With the hope that he will ask for his part of forgiveness shedding his doggedness and she in turn will appeal for some too, subduing her emotions. One warm sweet embrace and the time will standstill melting into eternity.

But that never did happen. When it was around the chirping of maybe the first bird that she woke up unexpectedly in the orange hue. It was dawn, about 5:30 am. Hairs dishevelled and salty-stained cheek…..she no more looked that beautiful. It was the least she could have cared for(her appearance) at that particular moment of time. She pressed the number. It was not reachable. May be some connectivity issue which is better than utterly switched off.
Connectivity is what they suffered from in their relationship. But in the beginning they felt otherwise at least she did, feeling intensely connected to him; physically and metaphysically and somewhere she was aware that he too felt the same. Unhesitatingly, she continued calling him. She got restless what if!

It was a trivial issue which lead to rudimentary ones like most of the times, but unlike this time they both lost their self-restraint. And it flared up deep and high. Naina kept on calling every minute and then, though unattended. All she could think is how could he do this to her!…after all these years of togetherness and love abound. They were married for seven years and courted each other for four more. Eleven years what she bargained for and where she stands now is almost wrecked.

“Marriage- this tricky eight letter word she gasped. The words from one of her favourite Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling ‘Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage’ reverberated on her mind which says:

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.

”How true and how profound”, she felt. Perhaps it was the time to Release, so she thought. It was a dead-end. She partly blamed herself but still partly implicated him. “Where the hell is Neil”?

Neilesh(or Neil as people called him) took a taxi. He was famished. All he could think of that time was some food to sustain him for the next hour or two. He went straight to the nearby railway station, the only place which can provide him with some helpings. The railway stall satiated his need.
He ruminated,” It’s time; time to bid adieu”. He closed his eyes and one last time he struggled to think of all the worthy times he had in this lifetime in a glimpse. His body was worn out without any sleep from past twenty two hours and mind numbed. His hands touched his pocket unconsciously like a zombie. He felt his cell inside his front pocket. He switched it on for the last time. There’s a ring. It’s an unknown number. Nothing to gain or to loose to answer that call, he thought unconcerned.

” Hello! is that Mr. Neilesh? …..”

The call was from the nearby city hospital, which both Neil & Naina visited in times of need and it lasted for about eight minutes. The message from the call was like a bolt from the blue for Neil. What was he thinking! What’s wrong with him! How could he!

And that sparkling radiant sublime face….those soft nurturing hands….her carefree laughter…her addictive smell…the aromatic servings…..list endless. He wanted to see Naina the very next second.
Few seconds were like years infinite. He got restless what if!
Neil finally assembled his courage and rang the bell breathlessly praying incessantly. The door was opened…..Thank god!

Naina was standing there, with no expressions at all. Without further ado they hugged each other steadfastly but gently as if aware of the presence of a third soul. As if their love has grown manifold in these few hours. Their eyes met and begged for forgiveness to each other.

Before she could say a word, Neil fumbled , ” I got a call and there’s a news to share with you.” She said, “Don’t as they called me too after not being able to reach you for number of times.A new shoot of life, a little one, an angel in disguise; their own child – all they have been trying and waiting for from past five years, has arrived and yes indeed the report came positive this time. Life will never be the same for them. From now on ‘Mommy and Daddy is the word or to say the world’ will be for them. It was a god-sent opportunity. And it was time to Renew.
Reference: (WordPress has partnered with Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu to initiate Global Forgiveness Challenge to help people learn the practical steps to forgiveness so they can live with greater love and joy in their life. The four fold path of forgiveness begins by telling the story of what happened, then grant forgiveness, and finally either Renew or Release the relationship. And the story is my humble dedication to the cause.)

A tale of two Moms (An everyday short story)


Good Morning ! Rise and Shine….It’s morning.

7.45am : And the countdown begins, seven more minutes or maybe ten more and we may miss the school bus. These last few minutes of every mother’s life especially with younger ones is pretty demanding. To manage the kid who is half-awake, half-sleepy and to board the bus on time, which is like the ultimate vehicle or carrier to nirvana is daunting. Here I would like to elaborate nirvana a bit further as we mothers mostly think that the primary road to success and prosperity for her kid is education and of course, then there is physical well being and sound emotional foundation too.

I stay in that part of the city which is upcoming and comparatively serene and less crowded. My husband works for a MNC with a senior executive role. And we could afford to live in a 4 bedroom villa with a secured and well maintained community. But then why am I writing this materialistic uppity trash; in the verge of sounding vain.

Probably you will realise once You finish reading this. I will call myself a stay home mom( it sounds a bit more respectable than to be called a housewife or houselady as I was a working lady before) now. But, Pardon me! It’s all the same for me but nothing wrong in adding a hint of sarcasm or two for terms like these which does not make a woman’s life any easier.

7.50am : I walk AB(the initials of my son’s name) down to the bus stop which is 100 mt away from my community towards the main road. It’s a beautiful boulevard with colourful flowery plants and creepers hanging on both sides of the road. This time is the most amiable and collected. It’s like a nice morning walk with the fresh sun on my skin and the hands of my son clasping me tight. The school bus may come any moment in the next ten minutes, if lucky then in five minutes.

But the story doesn’t end here, it rather starts here. The tale of the other mom. I am not going to talk about my neighbour-mom who shares the same villa community with me and who comes to drop her kid too nor I want to mention the other mom who stays in the neighbourhood posh apartment. I want to tell the story of a mom – a working lady as keen as bringing up his son into a self sustainable, adept man like any other mother in this world.

The boy is wearing a lower quality school uniform with a torned bag and waits for his school bus while his mother brushes his hair gently with her hands like a comb. Even before she could wave a proper goodbye to her son as he climbs into his bus, the customer yells at her angrily for his cup of morning tea as he is getting late for the day. Those few seconds of momentary bliss of waving a bye to her son is stolen from her. But she does not complain as this is the only way which can make his son board the vehicle to nirvana. She has a small barrow or tea stall or cart( which we call ‘thela gaadi’ in India) just beside the road. Without any hesitation or fuss, she smiles back and serves the man a cup of tea. And suddenly I am drawn to her appearance and I see her in a faded saree managed with some worn out metal and glass accessories as if scattered here and there in her body but then a warm bright smile and hands busy serving tea and sundry snacks or nick nacks to bunch of eager customers.

7.58am : AB’s school bus arrives. I wish him bye with a big kiss on his forehead pestering him to be obedient to teachers and be focused in the class and stay careful. And my little one giggles and waves me bye. What an assuring moment is that! The bus leaves. And then our eyes meet unexpectedly or quite accidentally. I smile at her and she smiles back across the road.
This has almost become a routine now. We never talk but a warm honest smile at each other most of the mornings is not a bad start for the day at all. Sometimes I feel blessed when I see her but then at times unfavourable , I feel weak and inadequate compared to her.

There is nothing common between me and her but we do share one commonality; one stratum that binds us with an invisible thread and that’s the three meaningless letters when combined together makes a warm meaningful word – MOM.