Everything still smelt like her. The tinted walls, the faded red dupatta, the broken bangles, the golden maang tika, the curtains in the kitchen, the saree that she last wore, and the beautiful lamps that hung above. Those lamps? She had specially bought them for Diwali, to spread light in the house. She had been so happy that day. She had decorated the house with diyas all over and her happiness knew no bounds that day. After all, she was this type of person. She had no idea what it meant to be sad. There was not a single day when she was seen crying. Yes, Pihus’ mother was the most incredible person on the planet.
Pihu had returned home after two years of studying abroad. She swore at herself. Her mother would occasionally call her, but she would ignore her. Even if she picked her calls up, all she showed her was how embarrassing she was to her. Pihu missed all this now. She wished she could go back in time and relive those moments.
Well, time is the biggest enemy of our life. It doesn’t come back for anyone. Dead do not come back to life for anyone. Who made these rules? And why? We all have relations in this world. And it hurts to let go of these relations. Then why do our beloved ones die?
Death, people say, is unavoidable. And rather than crying about it, we should accept it; after all, it is the way of life. Is that true? What exactly is the way of life? That we are to be sent by God to this planet to do work, to form relationships in the process, and then to leave the world and let go of those relationships that we so dearly once formed? People say that we must all leave this life one day. Then why should we make love if we have to leave everything behind? Why should we devote ourselves to worldly pleasures?
The house, which had once been filled with light and people, was now deserted. Nothing remained in the house after her mother’s death.
You know when death takes away your mother, it takes that word along with it. No one can take her place. No other relationship can ever replace the mother-daughter bond.
There were no lights in the house but there was the shine in her eyes when Pihu had said mom for the first time. There were no wall frames, only the broken windows her mother had once hung. There was no colour, but Pihu couldn’t take her gaze away from the pack of bindis. There was no sound from the television, but the sound of her joy when Pihu won first place in the swimming competition echoed in her ears. And at that moment Pihu realized, she had a lot of memories to look back to. But she didn’t dare to pick up her mother’s last relics.
God’s rules for the human race are insufficiently convincing. Why do we cry when we enter this world and why do we cry when we leave? Why do we have the strength to fight for life but not for death? I suppose it’s incredible that birth is conquerable but death is invincible.
All Pihu could do was look at her darling mother’s house for the last time, the house where she took her last breath, the house where she wished Pihu would return to see her.
You see, people are always haunted by their memories of the past. There’s one thing I’ve discovered about past. You can never drink enough from the past to forget the people you’ve loved and lost.
It was not like Pihu didn’t care about her mother. She had missed her mother far too much. Her two years of not talking to her mother were her way of letting go of her resentment for pushing her away from herself. It had been difficult for Pihu to cope alone at first, but she had gradually begun to integrate into the American way of life. Though there was no match to her moms’ rajma chawal, yet she somehow got accustomed to salmon and steaks, and eventually, she got busy with her life.
The silence in the house killed Pihu. The sight of the house disgusted her more than anything else. She could not live there, she decided, and with that, she moved out of the house.
Regret. The most useless form of guilt. It always arrives too late to do any good. This feeling is one of the biggest built-up faults in humans.
I think when it is all over; everything comes back in flashes again. It’s like a kaleidoscope of memories, the reflections of which produce varying emotions visible through the brain’s eye.
And it is then that we feel the pain because we are brought back to reality.
“You will miss me when I am gone and you will certainly discover it someday,” Pihus’ mom had told her. Today was that day. Pihu had finally discovered the truth to the story her mom always told her. She had finally learned that home is not home without mom :’)