Audio blog: Click on the play button and you will hear the blogpost in my voice. It may be used as a read-along style aid/enhancer.
Note: First part of what I plan to continue as a series of posts. VERY Loosely based on a real story. Followers of Indian politics will know who I am talking about. Completely imaginary in terms of the interpretation.
The day dad was arrested, news channels repeated the video footage over and over again. Our TV was, however, off.
Mom cooked khichdi that night and served it in four plates as usual. When me, my sister and mom sat to eat, I looked at the fourth plate and then at my mother. Her eyes gripped mine and said to me, "He'll be back."
We managed to down only a morsel or two when mom got up and walked to the basin to wash her hands.
"It's time for both of you to sleep." mom said, in a never-before assertive tone. My sister who often argued with her followed me silently to our room today.
Through the latched door of my room, I could hear my mom cry out - it was a cry of a woman horrified with what fate had brought for her. It was a cry of a wife in her house with only her children the day her husband was arrested. It was a cry of a mother who had left no stone unturned to make her children stay away from what had happened.
Through the slit of the door, I saw light kept on in the other room the whole night. I heard my mom crying out several times over - she was on the phone. I even woke up once and tried to console her. Her red eyes did not shed a tear in front of me as she almost pushed me back into my room.
My mama arrived the next morning and took us away to his place.
A few days later, while still at mama's place, I saw my mom on a news channel. She was no longer the weak housewife cut out from her in-laws because her husband had murdered his own brother. In the video, I saw a brave woman with not one sad streak on her face walking into the court - ready to face whatever was in store for her, head-on.
My mother packed the fourth plate of khichdi that she made yesterday in a tiffin. She took it for dad in jail. When he sobbed like a child, my mom placed her hand on his and told him firmly that she was with him through it all.
As we walked out of the jail, there was one drop of tear accumulated in the deep dark circles under her eyes. In an oyster in water lies the capacity to form a pearl and to keep it tightly concealed in its shell... My mom has kept every sorrow of hers deeply concealed in herself.
Meanwhile, the fourth plate still gets served for dinner every day.