The Ingrown Sapling (Part Two)

Mira took out the diary from the Almirah; it was covered with the red cardboard covering. The outer surface bore marks of decay as well the pages have turned yellowish from white. 15 years have passed since mother left this earth on the night of August 12th 1988, and after that no one has touched mother’s stuffs from the Almirah except Mira, but she left the diary untouched as a mark of respect for her mother. The room was also kept and left the way mother had kept it when she was alive. Mira herself being a mother and a wife now can well understand that what a woman needs from a man is respect, comfort and most of all love but mother wasn’t fortunate enough to have all three.  Mira always knew that mother didn’t share many things with her and a lot was in store to be known by her waiting in that diary for so many years.

Spinning into the web of myriad thoughts Mira decided to read the diary and opened the red cover, the first page was blank. She turned to the next page and Mira saw that mother hasn’t put the writings according to the dates, she had actually written a story on her life. Mira wasn’t aware that mother knew such good English as she had never seen her speaking, but she remembers mother use to read English newspapers and local magazines. Mira discovered that mother was quite talented but she had suppressed all her desires and potentials due to some reason. Mira started reading the second page from mother’s diary which read.

….My life has gifted me so much still there is some hollowness that haunts me night and day. Inside the deepest core I am so lonely and afraid. My fears of living a life without a companion is killing me from inside,  I really wished every second he could understand my love for him and comes back to me, would be with me forever without having to leave me ever again. I have my children alongside me and they are growing fast. Time is already running and seeing them growing is what makes me more fearful about this truth that I haven’t shared with them yet. Will I ever be able to tell this truth or should I keep the things like they are now. Mira and Aarav are my treasure from this relationship and I don’t want them to abandon me one day just because I made a mistake in the past.

Mira felt confused, what mistake is mother talking about and why she was so fearful of telling us the truth. Mira was now anxious to know more and she kept on reading, she turned to the next page from the diary where she found some strange truths about mother’s life. The page read…..

……I am at times ashamed of the fact that I am an unmarried woman with two children, still I have all the courage to raise them as a single mother. Time and again I feel guilty of having committing a sin which is irrevocable and don’t know how I ever will be able to express this to my children, that I was dejected from my family and friends for my sinful mistake. I was looked down by people because I fell in love with a man who was already married. I was young then and was exploring many new heights of life, but today I regret as I have no future I can be proud of and my life actually took me nowhere. 22 years back I went to Nagpur where my destiny awaited; I was there to complete my studies and stayed in a girl’s hostel. I never thought here in this new city I will meet this amazing man who would change my world forever.

Mira couldn’t stop reading now her curiosity was at its peak, she was shocked to know that mother wasn’t a married woman still she stayed her whole life like a married woman always with a Mangal Sutra around her neck and red Sindur on her forehead. She wondered Mother is talking about which man because Mira recognized the place that mother has mentioned in her diary but she thought it would be better to read on so she turned the page. The next page said…

I was enjoying every moment; riding on the horses of youth and fantasy I was experiencing new horizons of my life. I started feeling something from inside it was a strong feeling I knew I have fallen in love with him, he loved me too. Nothing was stopping us from becoming one night after night, the world, the people and not even his wife. But I was afraid that will he ever be able to reveal this secret love of ours in front of everyone and go ahead with this relationship we shared behind the closed doors. Will he ever marry me? I was at times fearful what if he abandons me in the middle of nowhere how would I be able to go back to Kalewadi now that I was carrying his child in me. I was ashamed to face his wife, and I thought that I would adjust with all the odds and live alongside with her as long as Vipin was with me. I wanted to marry Vipin Shinde my first love, he also wanted the same and had promised me that he will marry me soon….. 

Mira’s eyes were open wide, she couldn’t believe the man mother was talking about was no one else but their father who still lives in Nagpur with his another family. She has understood by now that father has betrayed mother, he didn’t marry her which compelled her live like a married woman throughout her life just to veil her mistake she had committed in her past. Mira was filled with anger and pity at the same time for Vipin Shinde who never understood what a wonderful woman mother was. Mira controlled her feelings and began to read again. Lost in the diary she didn’t realized when the dusk has approached, she looked outside the window the street lights were now beaming the roads with mild light, crickets and bell rings were singing their orchestra filling the twilight with a mystical sound, people went by and there was a strange silence in the atmosphere. She was lost in the view for a while; soon she began to read. Mira also understood that the child mother has mentioned in the diary is her elder brother Aarav, now Mira was curious to know more.

……As promised by Vipin we decided a date of getting married and it was on 23rd of April 1966 the day we were to become one. I was the happiest person on the earth and went to the court before time; some of my friends were there who came to witness our marriage. One hour passed, and then two and more hours passed, my friends had already but Vipin didn’t come. I was standing alone outside the court, shocked and betrayed still I couldn’t acquire the courage to go to his house and ask why he defied me? Six months passed and I wasn’t alone anymore as I bore his child, hostel threw me out and I was left with no one and no way but to come back to Kalewadi. I came back eight months pregnant, my mother and father couldn’t take this disgrace which I brought to the family so they went on to a pilgrimage and never came back. I was the only child of my mother and father and there I stood discarded by everyone my love, my parents, friends, relatives the whole Kalewadi looked at me with loathsome eyes. All I was left with was my parent’s ancestral house and I had no other way left but to cling to it. I gave birth to a son after a month this time I was helped by God in the form of a friend who helped me in this difficult time. She was my childhood friend; she had the courage to go against the society and lent me her helping hand. She stood by my side in all the difficult times and taught me new things about life, motherhood and we became the soul friends of each other. Three years passed and Aarav became an adorable child, I was too busy with my life I had no monetary issue till now as my parents had left me ample money and assets but I knew soon they were going to finish so I started looking for some ways to earn money. This time again with the help of my friend I started making pickles and sauce at home and sold them in the local market.

Mira stopped for a while and felt very sad, she was crying reading her mother’s life story. She knew never that mother had faced so much, while she was living such a gorgeous life. Mira wished if she could have known all this while mother was alive, if mother could have had the courage to tell her earlier, she would have given her a hug and said,” Maa I love you so much, I can’t see any fault of yours in any of the acts you did in the past or present, you are my mother and that’s all that matters.” Unfortunately it was too late to bring such thoughts in mind as all the pain and agony that mother went through were now long gone with her.

Reading this far Mira has now understood that why they hadn’t any relatives to visit and why no one ever visited them. Mother would always say that, “I have no brothers and sisters, I am the only child and your grandparents are living in God’s house which leaves us with no relatives.” Both Aarav and Mira believed their mother, because she was the only world they knew and they were happy with her. Mira was now aware about her brother’s arrival and a lot more of mother’s life story, but she was curious to know about her so she began to read again.

….Destiny has again planned something else for me and this time it was more than I ever expected or ever asked for. It was an ordinary day and I was busy with my homely chores when suddenly my eyes felt on a shadow that was there in the doorway. I saw a figure stood in the entrance my eyes couldn’t believe what they saw, it was him, Vipin was standing right in front of me and I was awestruck. I was amazed to see him, I didn’t understand after all these years why he has come, my heart was pounding faster I was happy as well fearful with many thoughts rising in my mind altogether. There was never any malice that I held against him my love was so pure for him, still my mind was floating in the ocean of mixed feelings; I didn’t knew that whether I should throw him out of the house or should I give him a warm welcome? As ever I was late to made the decision, I was about to say something when he came inside and squeezed me tight against his chest. I couldn’t resist either all my anger melted down; I cried like a baby in his warm embrace and my tears were washed away all the soreness and pain locked inside for four long years. Aarav came walking in his baby steps from behind and held both his hands around us. I could see in Vipin’s eyes the pleasure of seeing his son for the first time. It was from that day onwards my relationship with Vipin took another turn, Vipin came and visited me now and then and I also accepted our relationship like the way he wanted. We made a mutual between us, he made it clear that he will never leave me but won’t leave his wife either. He never had any child from his wife, which made me the winner of this unnamed relationship we shared. His attachment to his son made him come over and over again. We were flowing in the waves of the love ocean and it made us delve deeper and deeper into each other. And after three years I had a beautiful daughter born out of this relationship, together we named her Mira.

Mira paused for a moment; she couldn’t believe what she has read so far in the diary. All these years she has hated the woman in her father’s life whom she thought to be the other woman. She was the reason Mira always knew that father never lived with them and their mother. Mira was now shocked to know that their mother Ramya Prabhakar was the mistress of Vipin Shinde and Aarav and Mira were the illegitimate children born out of their parent’s unnamed relationship.  Mira felt ashamed of herself she hid her head in her own lap and cried.

 

To be Continued………………….

 

*Monalisa Joshi*

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