Her mother …

She hurried from the bus-stop to her mother’s home. It was the same routine every day. The office bus dropped her punctually at 5:00 in the evening, and from there it was a ten minute walk to “naani ji ka ghar”. The name was given by her daughters who went there every day after their school, waiting for their mother to come in the evening and take them to their father’s home.  And like every day else she planned the rest of her evening during that walk. She would have her evening cup of tea with maa and then rush home with kids. Then after a quick dinner, she and her husband would sit with the girls to help them with their homework. It was the same everyday, yet she visualized each task beforehand. A black cat suddenly crossing her path startled her, leading her to let out a shrill cry. She looked around, embarrassed, hoping no one saw her terrified  reaction. After a little hesitation, she continued walking ahead. ‘There is no time for superstitions’, she thought. Her mother had been complaining of chest pain for quite some time now. She needs to be taken to the doctor. Sunday would be the right day for that, since there won’t be any office. Just when she was a couple of blocks away from her mother’s home, she saw her elder daughter running towards her. It brought smile to her lips, perhaps the first time during the long and tired day. Mohna was around eight years old and in excited spirits. “Momma, Naani ji is not feeling too well today. She asked me to go to Hitu’s place to play. Also, there are some guests at home, talking to her ” There was nothing in her tone to suggest that there was anything serious, and so after giving her a tight hug, she let Mohna off. But her heart felt heavy. She tried not to be troubled by the possibilities.  It could be just a little uneasiness that her mother might be feeling. She continued walking until her mother’s house was in sight. There were a few women outside the gate. The whole house looked stunned with silence. Suddenly she felt sweat trickling down her forehead. She knew that it had happened. Ever since her father had passed away, she was afraid of this very day. She was alone now. No husband, child or relative could ever compensate for this loss of hers. The blanket of security was gone, and she was on her own from this day onwards.

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