The Caregiver - My Mother - contd
by Manohar Naidu
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It was a chance meeting of Aditya with Maya in her bank in connection with financial aspect concerning expansion of their business. Her lucid and transparent understanding of the project impressed Aditya. After a couple of more meetings, they proposed each other and got married in a very simple marriage. Sanjay’s mother was happy. Though she had promised to bless the couple, at the last minute she could not make it due to urgent voluntary work to the homeless stranded villagers due to flood in the adjoining state.
Aditya and Maya though with different upbringings, perhaps adjusted themselves to meet the the challenges of their new life. Aditya was always sympathetic about her missing mother and she was also aware of their family’s struggle and tragedy.
For the last fortnight, Aditya was restless. Sanjay was not able to understand, as to what problem was troubling him. As the business partner, he was fully aware that it was nothing to do with functioning of the company. Frequent calls from an unknown lady, was cause for suspicion for him, then what to talk of his wife Maya. He could not dare to speak to Aditya on this issue, which could jeopardize Aditya’s privacy and relationship concerning other woman.
Aditya took Sanjay into confidence with a promise not to divulge the information to Maya, which he would himself shall disclose at the appropriate time. His intense search for the unknown and revelation of truth of frequent calls from a lady, dumbfounded Sanjay. But after a week or so, one day -
‘What the hell is going on between my husband and that bitch?’ Maya’s patience was at its lowest ebb and she was ready to burst.
Sanjay knew that she was serious. ‘Look, Maya. There is nothing going on between the two of them, Just little bit of healthy flirting, I’d say.’
‘Flirting? Healthy flirting? Really Sanjay…’ she rolled her eyes in disgust. That’s what you men call it? There is nothing healthy about flirting. Sanjay, not for a married man. Healthy flirting is a term introduced by perverted men who want to lend legitimacy to their extramarital alliances. Flirting invariably has a sexual connotation to it.’ She got up from her seat and walked around the room gesticulating and muttering something to herself. Suddenly she stopped, turned back, looked at Sanjay and asked. ‘Did my husband sleep with her? You are his friend. Did he ever tell you anything about it?’
Sanjay got a mental jolt and taken aback with this unexpected question from Maya. He felt very uncomfortable and
was unable to look into her eyes. Perhaps he had made a wrong choice of words giving her a wrong signals and should have thought of it before they slip of glossy tongue hurting someone specially when the identity of unknown lady was revealed a week before by Aditya in confidence. Cursed American slang. He was trying to find alibi. Perhaps he could divert the issue. But how ? Looked up. An irrepressible emotion was visible on Maya’s face.
“I feel Maya, before reaching to any conclusion, you must cool down and relax.” Hesitantly Sanjay said, fully knowing that these words shall not extinguish the fire but may divert the wind.
“This is not the answer to my question Sanjay. Aditya is also not at home for the last two days.” She said. Firm on her conversation.
The doorbell rang. Sanjay got up promptly to avail the opportunity to cut short the discussion and rushed towards the door and opened.
Maya could not believe her eyes. Along with Aditya, two ladies were standing at the door. One with mobility cane, was none other than her long lost mother. She rushed, hugged and profusely cried. Supported her to sit into couch and made her comfortable with cushion at the back,gently taking mother’s palm into her hand.
“Maya, meet Shreya Kaushik,” Maya’s mother introduced the other lady, past sixty, who was wearing white spotless Khadhi saree with radiant, glowing fair complexion, beaming sweet smile and expression of confident, attractive personality. She continued in husky voice. “She is the lady who found me somewhere in Jabalpur when I got stranded and was unable to remember anything worthwhile. She took me to Varanasi and supported me, physically, psychologically and met my needs of a dementia patient, in their Ashram till I could regain my memory and confidence.” Looking at Aditya, she continued,” and he is the gentleman, who united me with you by unending search for me at various locations, through contacts, internet surfing and what not. He is a gem of a person Maya.”
“And Maya”, Aditya interrupted, standing behind and putting his arm around Shreya. “She is my mother, bedtime story teller in my childhood, a mysterious caller and the Caregiver in Varanasi Ashram, who was in touch with me and kept me informed about your mother. I wanted to surprise you today on the occasion of A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016.
Maya turned towards Sanjay, looked at him with moist and teary eyes expressing unspoken words of regret and apology. Perhaps she got the answers and surprise gift of life time on a new year. ***