“He writes poems for her. What a fucking emo!”
“Yeah, if it were upto him, I am sure he’d be her favourite puppy 24/7.”
He overhead them. They were talking about him.
He smiled to himself, and shrugged. He wasn't going to deny any of it.
She was the first woman he had ever been with, and he could move mountains for her.
He had to move away from her when he got admitted to a college in Delhi. But he’d be always thinking about her, feeling bits of her presence. One moment, he would be strolling the streets, and the next would have him sitting on a bench— lost in his memories, after he caught a passing whiff of the perfume same as hers.
He called her up everyday. There was something very soothing about her voice, it made him feel safer. He did as much as he could to comfort her, but there was only so much he could. She refused to recognise him, talk to him and ask him…
It broke him a little every time, but he couldn’t give up, could he?
The doctors said she had no power over it anymore. His mother, had developed amnesia shortly before he left for college. They said it was no more in her control; she didn’t remember what to control.
His uncle had managed to convince him to head to Delhi anyway. The distance had left him with nightmares— What if she took the wrong medicine? What if she lost her way? What if someone took her away?
His childhood hadn’t been easy. He had lost his father at a very early age to another illness, and had managed to live off the strength of his mother. She had refused to beg for any help, and had been a solid rock, grinding day and night, so that he never needed more.
But that lady was now gone. His hero, was helpless. Sure, she was there physically, but nothing else remained.
They had to put her in a nursing home for she needed the supervision. They told him how she roamed around corridors, empty.
He did visit her on every chance that he got. But it always was the same, she gave him the stare she saved for a stranger.
He could never forget the look of anxiousness in her eyes whenever he came in front of her. His Ma, was uncertain and fearful of him. He tried to hold off, but always failed— he’d weep, and she’d always the doctor why, as if she didn’t know.
A college in Delhi could be a nasty place for people like him. People would often comment and poke him on this closeness to his mother. They said he was soft, he didn’t understand how? But he didn’t care to ask or explain.
He loved the woman with all the heart he had. She had given up everything, only so that he could have it all. She had always made sure that he wasn’t deprived.
He hoped no one ever had to stand where he stood. But he strongly wished they could feel what he did.
He missed her terribly. He had been eagerly waiting for his semester break. It had been 5 months since he last saw her, when one day…
It was the middle of the night, his phone rang.
It said Ma. He feared the worst.
“Ajay?”, said a familiar soothing voice.
His pent-up reserve, his months of frustration came washing down his face.
His mother was lucid. She felt human again. Complete.
He wanted to make the most of it, while he could. There was so much he had to say, so much they had to share.
He cracked, “Hi, Ma. How are you? Long time.”
Photography By: Yash Mistry