A Mother's Phantom - contd
by Krishna Chaitanya
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Whatever it would be, he dared to step in pushing the door wide. But he saw the mother sobbing silently in a corner. He never saw his mother sobbing except during those enduring days of his father before his death. Ram loved his mother. However, things had been changing quite devoid of his intent. He didn't speak a word and deliberately walked into his little bed room.
He couldn't sleep this night. So the mother.
It was 2 AM when Ram came out of his room to have a look at his mother. Sobbing she still, not moving a bit from the position he saw her sitting by his arrival.
"Mom," said he. She didn't listen. He came close to her. "Mom," repeated his say by stroking her hair smoothly. She raised her chin and gave a fleeting look and wilted anew. "Mom," afresh said the young man sitting on his knees in front of her. Would he join her sob? But couldn't he. He thought he was a stone.
Ram couldn't be still, as the alcohol inside had been working; he was swinging like an oscillator, to and fro and staring into the eyes of her old mother. She was asking him something. Only after a couple of asks, he could listen, she asked him to promise: no more alcohol, no more cigars, no more whores, no more friendship with that ugly young man. Ram had promised.
He promised on his mother. But promised when he was almost unconscious. In the next morning, a whistle came through the ajar window waken him up, as an alarm would have done. Pretty accustomed whistle it was. Jumping off the cot, he drew the curtain, through which he could see the ugly face of his new best friend. Before he blew another placing both forefingers amid his lips, Ram waved his hand and gestured closing and opening his fist, indicating: in five minutes. The mother was aware of all these things, for the routine she had been watching everyday for a sundry weeks. But she was quite happy today that her son had promised on her, the other night.
Precisely in five minutes, he was ready. A deodorant sprayed over the petticoat, for he didn't bath. Combed his long hair, separated from the middle, he glanced into the wall-mirror which was half of his height, and threw a flying kiss to his own image, whilst it had thrown back.
He pulled out a few two thousand rupee notes from the drawer, those had been drawn last week from the joint account of the mother and him. No difference it would be today and tonight. It's not going to be changed--Mixing up the blood with alcohol--jumping in the bed of a famous whore--puffing cigars in chain--shooting rude words at shopkeepers--harassing young women in the streets.
Now, not even bothering his mother who was sunk in the settee in the hall, Ram ran through the living room, hastily. The mother flabbergasted. She ran behind him to watch out. The same ugly friend waiting with his old, rusty bike outside. When Ram swung his legs behind his rider, the later thrust the kick rod hastily and they disappeared in an eye's wink.
"But he promised," she thought, frowned and frightened. "He promised on me. And thence forgot. If so, it has to be done."
But what had to be done? A peril was coming. To their lives.
If not promise--there must be heavens, those made up of faithful gods, peaceful souls, grateful hearts. They would keep an ear for her, while hadn't yet eyed. Nevertheless, she had faith on what she fancied. So for the heaven's sake! For the son's sake! It had to be done.
Ram was his name. The most famous name in the country. Eminent for its celestial and ethical fiber. Celebrated for a heavenly reason. Renowned for a stirring character. But he lost something in the wake of the name. Now it was a mannequin, after all. The person abode it ended in smoke leaving the wrinkle-skinned mother in the lurch.
Ram walked into the house from the back door like a petite car. He didn't want to confront the mother at the other side of the front door if she had been sobbing. But didn't he find her in the living room. He thought, she might be laying in the bed in her room, sobbing silently to herself, and eavesdropping for his strides. So he removed boots, held them and deliberately mounted over the stairs. Before
contemplation of slipping into his room, he noticed the other door been ajar. He hesitated. His heart raced like a horse, except that it was for a
trepidation. Now he could listen his own heart beat thunderous than the whistles of the wind blowing outside, flapping of the windows inside, ticking of the great wall clock in the hall. He stole a quivering look through the door ajar. The mother laid peacefully in the bed. She might be sleeping. She would wake up soon.
Yes. But only in a dream some day. Might be to Ram himself, or his wife after marriage, or to the child they would bring into being.
Not again ever woke up the grey-haired woman. The mother of a once up on a time good son. The mother of a now bad son.
One needed a situation, she might thought. He needed a tragic scene to be confronted for the renovation for never she could buff him for life. Thus could be after life. By transforming herself into an invisible creature. Probably a ghost. But should she write a note to him before giving up the ghost? Need not, she thought, for the son would understand her pretty well--the reason behind the dramatic scene.
Tatars... Tatars... The other ghosts... The heavenly bodies. Upset the mother ghost.
Ram wakeful next morning for the smooth whistles carried by the air particles through the windows ajar. The ghost might be inspecting enthusiastically... Would he go with him? He sneak a look through the window. Then smiled hungrily. Raised his hand, opened and closed the fist, indicating five minutes to ready. His mother had been cremated only the other day. Not even thinking about her, hastily he left with the accustomed sullied friend.
The mother ghost's heart trembling in apprehension. If a ghost had a physical heart, the mother's would have broken into a billion atoms.
The mother's phantom had been loitering for years to see his unsoiled son behind the pits scabbard. But not a sand's size he had changed. Indeed embellished further, Mr. Ram, the son of a sniveling phantom. What could she do? A phantom she was, after all.
Whilst other mother ghosts soothed her and they decided to kill her son, that would keep him away to alcohol, whores, drugs and fading out the poor mother's good name--forever.
However, couldn't they either turn into a human, or penetrate into someone, or harm him themselves. But they could fear him to death. Nevertheless they had a word with the howling mother about the plan of assassinating the son.
"Never," cried the mother's phantom, "in my presence." Even as didn't she impede bawling.
But the remaining ghosts started dreading the son night and day. One night, the ghosts drove Ram to ran out of the house producing scary thuds through air, haunted him all the way towards a forest and thence towards a manhole amid the forest. The mother's phantom fought with other ghosts to stop haunting her son. But they didn't listen to her. They succeeded in driving the man into the manhole. He had fallen in it. Not a human survived in the vicinity of the most dreadful forest. He was now miles away from his lonely village. He screamed and shrieked. All the ghosts left away in bliss, except the mother's phantom. She watched him for hours and hours. But what could she do? A phantom she was, after all. Twenty four hours left behind.
The young man was thirsty, but couldn't he drink his own blood. He was starving but couldn't he eat his own flesh. He had been shouting, 'Mother... Mother.' The phantom's heart iced. But didn't he know she was listening to him. Her heartless heart started bleeding for the call of her son. She had been circling around the manhole, grunting and growling like a mother pigeon around it's nest. Entered inside and wandering here and there like a lost child in a great crowd. Thence mounted herself fleeing and looked for a human in the sight. But not a sign of an ant. The mother's fancy heart was bleeding enormously.
Now she took wing to the village. She started fearing a man with her dodgy whistles and drove him towards the manhole amid the forest until he took note of the screams of Ram. The stranger observed Ram in a manhole and lend a rope to him to mount safely. The mother's phantom was contented. It followed them until Ram got something to drink and eat and then to his bed.
The following morning, Ram woke up as usual by the whistle of his grimy friend. The mother's phantom too awaken with the whistle. She knew pretty well, as familiar as to her son. But she was quiet in no doubt, he wouldn't go with him, today.
Ouch! but he gone in five minutes.
The mother's phantom--fainted. ***