In the feeble street light, Saranya strained her eyes and searched for her mother. Her mother had been gone for more than two hours. It was another painful day. Once again, she had left home without telling anyone.
In the spring twilight, she could see white jasmine flowers everywhere. The plaited dark hair of young girls and married women looked enthralling with strings of tightly strewn jasmine flowers. The unfurling jasmine slowly spread the deep perfume in the surrounding air. Saranya felt her stomach churning with unknown fear. The night ahead looked depressing and threatened her with unknown thoughts and feelings.
Saranya searched either side of the road for her mother. As it was a Monday, the crowd returning to their villages filled the road. Every Monday in the local santhai or market, the villagers brought to sell all kinds of countryside vegetables and fruits that are grown on their farms. Saranya has gone there only once, she did not wish to go again as the entire place looked unhygienic and whatever sold there seem to have a coat of dust, which would invite all kinds of illness.
Saranya decided to go to the nearby temple first and see if her mother was there. A railway track crossed the road to the temple. Whenever a train passed, gates on the either side of the railway track would close. Sometimes it took more than ten minutes for the gates to open. Usually the traffic police constable posted near the railway track will not allow anyone to cross the track. Though she desperately wanted to walk across the track and reach the temple, she had to wait until the gates opened.
While she waited, the train passed on the railway track. Some of the little boys and girls who stood watching the moving train waved at the passengers. A little girl from the train waved at Saranya. In her pensive mood, she could not wave back, but simply stared at her. When her eyes moved along with the moving train, her eyes caught a glimpse of a frail figure standing in the dark and staring at the moving train. Immediately, Saranya recognized her mother.
“Amma, why are you standing here? Come home, we will go.” Saranya’s mother did not reply her. She continued to stand like that for another ten minutes. Saranya’s eyes filled with tears and she once again called her mother to come home.
Silent, grim moments passed until her mother decided to return home. Without saying anything, Saranya silently followed her mother home. When Saranya’s mother reached home, she did not talk to anyone. Her mother silently ate her dinner and went to bed. Saranya called her sisters and served them food. Grim silence engulfed the house and everyone went to bed earlier than usual.
Lying down on the bed, Saranya starred into the darkness. She could not read her mother’s mind but felt sorry for her. Whatever it may be, she always went behind her mother and made her feel at ease. Saranya’s mother Susee lost her mother when she was hardly two years old. Saranya could understand her mother’s mental stress through her childhood and desperately wished to do something to make her happy. Tossing on the bed for some time, Saranya finally went to sleep.
* * * *
Morning dawned. It started as any other day of the week. Her mother got up early as usual and prepared their breakfast and lunch. Saranya felt relieved and helped her mother pack their lunch.
In the evening, Saranya’s little sister brought her a piece of paper. She told Saranya that it looks like a Ouija board and her friends were playing with it in school.
Saranya sat down along with her sisters. She kept the paper on the floor and then she lit a candle. Saranya took a twenty-five paise coin and kept it in the center of the paper. She placed her index finger on the twenty-five paise and then closed her eyes. Her lips murmured a few lines of prayer that requested the departed souls to come to them and answer their questions. Saranya’s mother sat near them and silently watched the procedures.
Initially there was no response. Nothing stirred Saranya’s finger and everyone’s eyes eagerly looked at the center.
“Let me try,” Saranya’s little sister took her position. She kept her index finger on the coin and murmured the prayer that requested the departed souls to come to them.
There was utter silence in the room except the rustle of breeze through the windows. After a few seconds, the coin started to move from the center. Saranya’s younger sister moved her index finger along with the coin. The coin moved from one alphabet to another and neatly coined the question and answer.
“Whom do you want to talk?” The soul that responded to their request asked the first question.
“We want to talk to our grandmother.” Saranya curiously replied to the soul.
“Yes. Let me call her.” Saranya looked at her mother. Her mother appeared anxious and excited.
“I have come.” Her grandmother replied.
“Amma,” Saranya’s mother broke down into tears. She started to cry loudly and this sudden emotional outburst made everyone of them join her. Saranya’s mother was talking to her mother after forty years of her death. When their grandmother died, Saranya’s mother was barely two years old and now she was in her early forties.
“I am always thinking about you. Don’t cry.” Saranya’s grandmother paused for a moment.
“God is great. I am always praying for you.”
“Why am I suffering like this without you?” Saranya’s mother with a sigh questioned her mother’s soul.
“I am not allowed to answer such questions. I will always be with you. Keep praying to God.”
“Ok.” Saranya’s mother started to ask a stream of questions. Her grandmother replied to all the questions patiently.
Saranya’s parents have been looking for suitable alliance for her, as they wanted to see her married soon. So many proposals came but nothing clicked. Saranya’s mother was very worried about it and so she took this moment to question her mother’s soul about it.
“Amma, shall we get Saranya married to Ravi?”
For sometime there was no response from Saranya’s grandmother.
“No need to hurry, she will get a better alliance.” She replied slowly.
“Yes, Amma. I will do as you wish.” Saranya could not help smiling to witness the conversation between a mother and a daughter after so many years and they were talking to each other as if they were conversing for more than ten years.
“It’s time for our prayers. Let me go.”
“Amma, be with me for some more time, please.” Saranya could not stop the tears flowing down from her eyes. She could feel how her mother felt at that time, the unwillingness to let her grandmother go showed her desire to be with her a little longer after such a large span of time. But her grandmother left them apologizing for not able to be there longer.
Saranya’s little sister felt exhausted after this exercise and looked scared also. It took another twenty minutes for her to be normal.
Saranya felt very happy about being able to help her mother meet her beloved mother who was not alive anymore but existed as a good soul. Saranya thanked God for making it happen and she would remember that forever.
Description:Facing life without a mother is beyond my imagination. Just to think about the hardships that my mother faced in her life makes me feel helpless and unhappy.