It was 10 p.m. I was making a presentation for my next day meeting in my room upstairs. I heard my bhabhi (sister-in-law) talk loudly, in a tone that you’d be convinced that she is rather angry & upset. I ran down to see & discovered that her 1.5 year old, highly energetic daughter had a fall from the sofa in the TV room. I heard my bhabhi tell to my mom “Kya mummy, you were there with her no. How did she fall then? If you were tired or could not take care of her you should have told me.” I was boiling with anger. I could see the fear & remorse deep in my mom’s eyes.
She said feebly – “Sorry beta, Gudiya was jumping from one sofa to another quickly. And suddenly before I knew she stumbled & fell”. My bhabhi was not convinced. Soon, we had the entire family including my elder brother come in to pacify his little angel. Upon explaining what had happened he told Riya – “Sorry Gudiya, dadi didn’t hold you? Did you get hurt?” Feeling completely helpless, my mom contained her despair & locked her tears in her eyes. I seconded mom – “Chill mom. Don’t worry. Children get hurt. There is nothing much we can do about it. Riya is naughty, but strong. She will be fine.” She saw me smiling, trying to appease her. But, the damage was done. It was irreparable.
To avoid a brawl, my mom left the place & retired for the day. Little did anyone remember that she has been suffering from a bad knee pain. She wanted to tell him that it was unintentional & despite the pain, she tried to hold Riya’s hand. But age was catching up & she was exhausted since the playful kid had been all over the place & grandma had been baby-sitting since over an hour. But she knew, that her son who loved his wife & daughter so much would not pay heed. Agreed, my mom cannot match our vivacity & muster the energy, but her unsurpassed dedication & love missed eyes of many.
That night when I went back to sleep many memories came back to life. How we were taught to ride a bicycle & to play badminton. How mom & dad would take us to the beach every weekend. We were a happy family. My mother seamlessly & efficiently managed to juggle between the household chores & studies with minimum domestic help. She was my role model. I knew I wanted to grow up to be like her.
I see her fine wrinkles, cracked feet & grey hair & realize that after all the hard-work this is not what she deserves. Sadly this is not the story of one house. Everyday, many helpless people are victims of abuse, are rebuked & ill-treated or left to their fates in old-age homes.
I am 23, not married yet. But someday I will. And I will have kids. I will see old age. And that will be no different. The future will be rather worse, not better. Life is a vicious cycle. Children learn from what they see. They are great imitators. You are a mirror to your child! So do not take your parents for granted. They are not baby-sitters. They can do you a favour by taking care of your babies while you are out enjoying your movie, romantic dinner or living your corporate dreams. They are not responsible to raise your kids. Don’t thrust it on them & crib if they don’t want