To a mother her kids are her first priority.
My Two Satellites
Life is not so easy for a woman, as it seems to be, who becomes a housewife and then a mother leaving behind her dreams to be successful, self-dependent, and to pursue her goals which she had been dreaming with open eyes since her teenage years. People start undermining her capabilities, her intellect, and her aspirations as a huge part of our society believe that a homemaker belongs to a non-competitive homely world; unlike the aggressive outer world profusely biased to cognitive intelligence.
Once being in a banking profession I had tasted the happiness of self-reliance and self-sufficiency and always had remained in a buoyant mood. After getting into married life and becoming a mother of two, the presupposition of getting back into a job was inhibited. Whenever in solitude I made myself sit and think about the future prospect of resuming my job, I always had found myself in this conundrum- whether my kids would have gotten proper attention and care which they need in their vulnerable ages. Since my husband has been in a transferable job, getting a reliable trustworthy maid wasn't possible in every city he was posted in every couple of years. The mental reluctance of leaving the kids at home on their own or accompanied by an unknown maid had become a hindrance to my pecuniary aspiration and ambitious future. However, I never had given in to the philosophy of buying happiness with money; still, there I feel a little boost in the upward curve could be rendered by earning few more bucks and that in turn boost my self-confidence up. Most importantly I need to establish my personal identity. My dilemma was in a nutshell. It's like got awaken from daydreaming and duty called-I got to get back to my regular chores.
As days passed, frustration conjugated by bloodstream started circulating through the body of mine and gradually this frustration had morphed into anger and sadness. Eventually, my kids and everyone around me had started experiencing some behavioural changes that might not be applaudable, in me. At times when frustration welled up in me, I had a feeling of need for a friend to help me unravel my tangled mind, but unfortunately, I had none of that kind among many ten's.
It was the middle of the month of October just after Durgapuja, our important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
This festival is the celebration of the victory of Durga, the Goddess of war, in her battle against the shape-shifting demonic force asura, Mahishasura to establish peace, prosperity, and dharma- the power of good over evil.
We were at my parental home as we visit our native place every year to celebrate this special occasion with our extended family members. After performing puja (worship ritual) to the deity, my body and mind were getting through spiritual healing. My soul became so calm and all demonic thoughts that had taken different shapes across the time evaporated out of my mind. I had the feeling of re-evaluating the concurrent changes in me during the course of time in self-delusion.
It was a beautiful autumn evening. The deep blue sky is playing with colours on the verge of sunset. Somewhere pink merging with blue turned to mystical violet with the last aura of the sun reflecting on the feathery white clouds in the sky. I was sitting on an easy armchair comfortably in the roof terrace with my eyes looking up to the dramatic sky as if I was relating my life to this playful sky. A cool breeze with the sweet fragrance of gardenia gradually inducing a soothing effect in my heart and in concurrence, a feeling of rejuvenation envigored my mind that was by now ready to accept a better philosophy of life. I hadn't this leisure for the past few years as this time my vacation was going to be less eventful. There was a mango and a sapodilla tree in a row alongside the terrace. A continuous chirping of birds drifted off my attention towards the branches of the mango tree where I saw a nest inside which few chicks were making that sharp sound continuously and the mother bird was very busy feeding them as she was frequently flying to the nearest sapodilla tree to get the pulp of the ripen fruits and flew back to feed its chicks. It was very convenient for her that she had not to wander around searching food for her babies. This leisurely contemplation of the scenery was snapped with the giggling sound coming from the back. I swerved my head backward direction to see what my kids were doing. My younger son was running towards me while chasing upon by his elder brother and both were giggling. Both of them took a few rounds running around me and then my little one jumped in my lap.
He told me with his adorable voice "Mum-maa-aa! Brother is tickling me for so long and I can't laugh any longer. It's hurting my stomach!"...He buried his face in my neck wrapping it with both arms.
My elder son who also was laughing in amusement wrapped me from behind with both arms and buried his face too on the other side of my neck. A sound of laughter trailed as mine joined theirs too.
When this hee-haw was over, my elder son Saheb asked me "Mumma, why are you sitting here alone? I saw you were lost in thought."
My younger one, Leo, shot his question immediately "Mumma, what are you thinking? Has Kiash scolded you? I'II not leave him....I'm going to teach him a lesson!" Kiash is my nephew. My sister's only son, the youngest member of our family, and was only five months younger than Leo. As they are of similar age, their stand-off happens so frequently whenever they meet.
"Hold on! Hold on! Kiash has not done anything like that. Why would he scold me? He is my dear baby. He may be, is sleeping."
Leo didn't like my affection for Kiash as he thinks his mom only belongs to him. He even doesn't like to share me with his elder brother.
"Who is your dear baby? I'll not talk to you Mumma..." He retorted and pouted.
I chuckled and caressed his chicks "Oh! I'm sorry. You are my dearest baby."
"Ain't I?" Saheb stood firm in front of me with his arms crossed.
"Oh! I have forgotten.....I've another big baby!" I quipped and then laughed stretching my hand to hold his. I pressed his hand gently and nodded in affirmation.
My heart melts whenever my kids show their affection and love for me. Their presence enlightens me as my eyes light up with joy to see them playing and wandering around me. I shine brightly flanked by them wherever I go. When they are not somewhere around me, I always am a little anxious to know their whereabouts which might reflect in my appearance.
I believe that they feel the same way when they couldn't see me somewhere around them too. They bring on a bunch of questions that have enumerated out of their curiosity. They follow me with their tiny steps here, there and every possible where....however, sometimes even they try to follow my emotions using their intellect. Like, they can shock me asking what I am thinking, merely with a smiling sign on my face which they were watching without my knowledge. If I remain unspeaking for half of the day my kids could comprehend that their mother is in distress and they convey the message to their father or to their grandparents saying that "today's weather condition is very bad...it could rain without warning"....so funny sometimes they are that I can't fight my laugh instead what I have wanted to outburst in anguish. They are expert help in changing weather conditions at home, too. Every movement of mine is under their innocent surveillance. Their tender hearts have that cordless connection with me which built when they detached from me at birth.
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In between our chitter-chatter and giggles, I heard a mumbling voice was coming towards us and within ten seconds my mother appeared in front of us. She drew another armchair and settled on it beside me. She still was mumbling as she was unhappy about something related to my father.
This is the same scenario we see when my father has found something related to my mom that irritates him. I always have found it very funny when they disapprove of each other on trivial matters and stretch it to that point where we, their children, have to intervene. Almost in every situation that needs a resolution at home, they confuse us with their distinctive point of view; in the end, they try die-hard to prove each other wrong. Sometimes their skirmish becomes so amusing that they portray the most favourite characters, Tom and Jerry, as each of these characters makes the other bite the dust in their melees but becomes the saviour when the other is attacked by outsiders likewise my parents stands firm with each other when they suffer considerable hardship. They are sharing otherwise a peaceful and happy life together.
However, I have observed that mom sometimes while sitting alone is with teary eyes and somehow I have realised that she isn't really satisfied with her own achievement in life. On many occasions, she had told me that she misses her childhood friends who have established themselves with their own effort but she couldn't make it while once being an NCC cadet she had a dream for herself to pursue. She has dedicated her entire life raising her children and in strengthening the root of our family tree, sacrificing her own wishes. Her children are now settled in different places leading a good quality life but she has become very lonely as she has nothing to do for her own. Now, when I observe my mother at this point of her age where a non-satisfiable void is created in one corner of her heart, I can't imagine myself being in her condition when I will be at that phase of my life.
"It seems you are angry with someone, Didai. Who is it? It's not me, I suppose? " Saheb asked.
My kids call my mother "Didai".
She shook her head saying "No" with her sombre voice.
"Then it must be Dadu." Saheb insisted. I gestured him putting my index finger on my lips to make him stop. She sighed....within a second her anger dissolved into nothing.
"Have you both had your evening snacks and health drinks?" She asked affectionately and stretched her arms to get Leo in her lap.
She smiled broadly when Leo asked her very seriously "Didai, where is your left canine tooth gone? Has it taken by that same naughty rat, which took away mine too?" We guffawed looking at his seriousness.
"Yes! You are right! It was gone out of my mind that it might be that same naughty rat who has taken away our teeth! Perhaps it has decided that it would steal our teeth one by one on alternate occasions." My mother quipped.
"We have to catch that rat before it will take away all our teeth! For that, I need to arrange a mouse-trap first." Leo was very serious about the incident of losing their teeth as by then he had lost only one tooth that too, one day when he was asleep and the tooth came out of his mouth. I took it very cautiously and threw it out without letting him know. After awaking we had to pacify him with this theory that the tooth was stolen by a naughty rat and from that day he was in search of that rat. So, this time when he had found his Didai, too, was another victim of that thief rat he wanted to grapple with the situation. We laughed a little and encouraged Leo for his next course of action.
I was just going to ask my mom about my sister who also had come to join us on this occasion, a sound of wailing was coming straight away from inside. It was Kiash, who had awakened after sleeping for two hours.
"He still may be feeling the pain." Mom said. Kiash got hurt as he tried to hold a brunch of Carissa carandas aka Bengal currant, a shrub with long spines, in our garden.
"Is she there beside him?" I asked mom about my sister.
"Yes, she's there." Mom replied.
After a few minutes, my sister appeared before us picking up Kiash in her arms. In the morning when my father had taken him for a stroll in our garden, he suddenly grabbed the brunch of the Bengal currant plant as the purple-red colour fruits peeping through dark green leaves looked very attractive.
"Now onwards he will never venture into such unknown things." My sister was pretending to be angry and Kiash stared at his mom to understand the gravity of the situation. He was only two and a half years old but like Leo he too could assess his mother's disposition. After a few minutes, he jumped off her lap and started playing with his brothers. My sister was still looking at him so affectionately that I could see her heart clearly through her eyes that how she was feeling looking down at her wounded child whom she had got after nine long years of pangs of waiting.
My sister caught everyone's attention as she was a jovial person in her teenage. She had been participating in all activities in the school and colleges. Her artworks and oil paintings were so good that nobody could overlook her work. She used to be good conversationalist and had hundreds of friends and well-wishers. Once she had been nominated as General Secretary of her college union but she refused to take part in the election only because she didn't want to lose her friends. She believed that after becoming GS she couldn't give much time to her friends. She used to be so engrossed in non-stop activities that she could barely manage her time to eat and sleep. She owned a school of art and painting where she taught hundreds of student's paintings and pencil sketches. She also had fancy in fashion designing and wanted to pursue her studies in that direction. However, she couldn't make it but still, I remember how intricate her designs were as she had been designing her clothes since her teenage and in every couple of days she went to the tailor master to monitor whether he had upheld the level of perfection she wanted for her dress. After her graduation, she got a job in a bank and after a couple of years, she got married but didn't quit her job instead had applied for a transfer. In the new city where she was transferred her husband too was posted in another bank. They were living a very happy life there until her pregnancy issue came up however her husband had been very supportive. She somehow couldn't conceive and had undergone many miscarriages including two failed painful IVFs. Despite she had been going through great emotional turmoil, my sister never had shown her sad face to anyone so that nobody took pity on her, instead, she had engaged herself too much in work and had been travelling and partying with her friends. Once, she had told me that if she wouldn't engage herself in various activities she could have died. That day I didn't have any suggestion for her but when I conceived for the second time after eight years of my first child she was very excited for me and had given me a big treat and that day I had suggested her that she could have adopted a baby if she wanted to. My sister had told me that she wanted to wait for another couple of years. I had thought about how God can be so un-compassionate to her. Only about after one and half months she had called me up and gave that much awaited breaking news that she had conceived naturally and this time doctors were very positive in her case. That was a delightful moment for our whole family. When she finally became a mother she had left her job to take care of her little one. After one year she had built up her carrier again but this time she had chosen her fancy as her carrier as she had established her own business, a boutique corner for traditional garments. She had chosen this business so that she could take care of her little one and she was fascinated by the fashion world as well.
I had two prominent examples of life beforehand to which I could relate my own and also could have made-a-decision about what my approach should be towards life as it comes. I could think neither once I would have to keep myself idling when my kids would get their strong wings to soar, nor I could set up something like my sister because for that I had to be settled in one place. Moreover having interest and passion for such things was important.
Yes! Interest and passion, both are very important aspects when we choose our carrier.
"The priest has come!" We startled as my father informed mom. She had to arrange all the puja needs as today is the day of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja.
Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, is worshipped just after Durgapuja on the full moon day. The word "Kojagori" means "The night of awakening" and it is believed that on this day the Goddess descends on the earth and showers her blessings. It is also believed that on this day moon showers elixir through its beam on the earth and this moonlight has magical healing properties.
My mother had gone to prepare the puja and to help the priest. My sister took the kids in and told me that she would call me when the puja would start. I beamed at her and in relaxation, I leaned back further and stretched my shanks.
It was a quiet, beautiful, and mystical evening as it took me to a ride in my past from where I could dig out my latent wish. Only the sounds of conch shells I could hear from our neighbour's houses as puja had started at their homes. Blowing conch shell is an auspicious ritual in our puja as it is believed that it has great healing and vibrational power.
I started dwelling on the past as I always get nostalgic whenever I come to my home town, a place where I had sowed seeds of my desires- few were flourished, few were still there waiting for germinations. I had a handful of hobbies; among those, I had a passion for reading since my childhood. I had finished reading all storybooks and novels that were not only shelved at my home but also at my relative's homes that too, a single book for two or three times. However, I never had a thought of writing my own piece.
Why-not? I had stumbled upon the idea. Till now I had come across many stories over the time since my childhood which affected me mentally and emotionally for different reasons. I wanted to tell everyone to whom I could share my feelings about those experiences but sometimes it might get very difficult to express myself vocally rather writing could help to make it easier and by writing I can get through as many people as possible. It would be very exciting to create new stories relating to the existing ones.
I looked up back towards the bird's nest on the tree. The chicks were not chirping as they were not hungry anymore and might be sleeping peacefully under the protective wings of their mother. Like the mother bird, I always wanted to protect my children from mishaps and my own belief was that no one can take care of my little ones like me. So, this was not by force but my subliminal mind made me choose to stay with my kids at home. Discrete ideas and thoughts were now converging in one direction that I had to build up my carrier by writing and that was the best possible stride I made towards creating a desirable identity for myself.
In the middle of the self-evaluation, I had noticed out of the corner of my eye that my two satellites had come several times to catch a glimpse of their mother. I had given them an endearing smile every time.
Yes, my kids are my satellites, natural as well as human-made. They revolve around me by the natural law of attraction adding to that is the affection in my case. They shed light on my dark nights and are brighter than anything in my dark skies. They are created by me and are devised sounder than any electronic satellite revolving around the earth as they are not only very efficient collecting all information about me but know how to deal with it. I have been trying to make that force of affection and attraction so strong that never they will be ejected from their path of love.
I turned my head up towards the sky. It was a full moon night and there was not a single cloud floating in the sky that obscured the deep serene. I was staring at the moon, the only natural satellite of the earth. It was shining so brightly in the Earth's sky. It looked beautiful however clam and divine but I could take a little more pride than earth because I had two in my sky. I smiled inwardly and stood up to go inside for Lakshmi Puja. I turned backward direction and saw my two satellites were coming to me and waving their hands to call me to participate in the puja.