Friday, September 14, 2012

her love is ageless

It was raining heavily and  every ten or fifteen minutes, there would be a clap of thunder and lightening would roll across the dull skies- what little of the skies I could see from inside the french windows looked really gloomy. Anyway, the papers have been carrying front page news about heavy rain forecast and temporary inundation in some areas. Today was no different.

As I looked across the open french windows towards the balustrade, I saw her standing, a bit stooped and a trifle bunched up. She was looking down I guess, so stooping, and she was bunched up because she may be feeling cold, I presumed. The raindrops were bouncing into the open area due to the gusty wind accompanying the shower. Both her hands rested on the balustrade and she had an inscrutable expression on her 79 year old face- maybe she was thinking inwards. She was always thinking inwards these days; she often gave me the impression that she had stopped looking outwards now- while she still avidly looked forward to her children's happiness and success, I felt she really did not look forward to her own life. When anyone would try and talk to her, she would just withdraw.

She loved the rain; often she would tell a story about how, as a child,  she would run home from school with her schoolbag on her head. She would get fully wet but her head would stay dry. Even in her own home, when she was grown up and married, whenever it rained, she would just dump whatever she was doing and go and sit out on the patio in a red and white caned garden chair and listen to the music of the falling rain. The rain smells would make the weather husky and she would just sit there with her cup of tea and some of her friends would join her. She loved those days in the sun and the rain.

She did not like thunder though, even when she was very young and so fearless. Even today, as I watched her, every clap of thunder made her wince and bunch up some more. When she walked in she told me that whenever she is alone, and she hears thunder she sits on the edge of her bed and waits for it to subside because she is so scared of the sound...and now she is always alone ever since  the light of her life, her husband, her everything, left her and quietly passed away to the next world. How scared she must be feeling, I am unable to come to terms with it.

She used to be a strong woman-a girl guide, an NCC cadet and a volleyball player. She was tall and tough.... with a 'never say die' attitude. She ate well and she slept well....and also kept a good house and brought up three healthy children who are doing so well today. Her husband was so proud of her though her complaint is that he never said so. And what about her now? Today she is quietly elegant and simply old- she lives alone and often when she is very lonely, she has a date with her past. She has countless albums which she knows like the back of her hand. Her drawer is full of old letters written when we all knew how to wield a pen. Letters from her parents, siblings, inlaws, husband, children, grandchildren... she spends an entire day transported into her past via the letters and the pictures. And then she goes out and inspects her garden- that is one passion that has not left her- she is so green thumbed, its amazing. It is her connect with the present too.

When she talks of her past she has a glow on her face- the glow of a life well lived, the happiness of a job well done, the satisfaction of having loved with her heart and soul. Even her fingertips exude love. Touch her and you will know.

There are times when she forgets and other times she is not very careful about what she is saying. But then she is 79.

As I see her now, I see a body which is spent and old but so full of love that she can never run out of it. It may be low on enzymes, and perhaps some calcium and vitamins and energy, for which she takes supplements. But full of love she certainly is.

Guys, she is my mother.