Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Of Mothers and Sons

They did not know much about her. Folklore had it that she was there even before the old post office was built and some said she actually saw the great wars and the rail lines laid in front of her. Nobody was much interested to know too much either. It was actually an embarrassing situation, as they had all gathered to mourn her death, without the usual stories about how she had been nice to some of them at some point of time. They wouldn't have come either had it not been for the old lady's son, he was the most talked about person in the entire village, because he was the one who had made is big in life and had brought all sorts of innovations like electricity, water taps, telephone, television and the latest, which many of them were yet to understand, something called the internet.

So they waited for the son to arrive. The rumors doing the rounds at one time was that she loved her son beyond imagination, and singlehandedly she brought her up to become the legend that he became. It was not easy or 'in' to be a single mother during those times, but she seemed to make a good job of it. But after a point the more they heard about how big the son was becoming, the less they started seeing or hearing her. It didn't bother anyone as it was not she but her son who made a difference to their lives. They did not know what would please the son more, themselves performing the last rites or whether the son would like to pay his respects to his mother. The elders after much consideration decided that it was best to wait for him to come and then proceed according to his wishes.

The sunlight reflecting from the sea of white clothes was blinding and the sun rays were in no forgiving mood either. The lady was there in the portico of her old house, wrapped in white. Some sacred leaves over her eyes, and an expression of failure and agony writ large over her face. Probably she was having some problems with her son over the last few days, they presumed.

The swank new car swerved and swivelled and finally hit the last stretch of dirt tracks toward the old lady's house. It screeched to a halt and the son emerged from the car as the actor's with shades do in the movies that are screened in the theatre built by the son. He did not notice the crowd but went straight towards the center of the porch, where his mother was placed on a bed covered in white cloth. Some of them noticed a slight twitch of the face. They passed on this apparently amusing piece of information to the others and very soon all eyes were on the clean shaven, square jawed face.

Then it happened abruptly. He broke down. He cried. He howled. He screamed in agony. The son that the village had come to know was gone. He was a totally different man now. When he took off his shades, the look in his eyes sent shivers down all the spines present there. It was that of complete loss. Such helplessness nobody had ever seen.

We could not believe our eyes. Technology, mother nature's son, lost the will to live. Like a madman he went around showing an old photo album to everyone, photos of his younger days, the days with when he was under the protection of his mother. We saw pictures of a younger mother nature, lush green and spread all over the world. We saw how two stones rubbed against each other gave birth to the son, technology. We saw his younger pictures, in the shape of a wheel and copper and iron tools, with proud mother nature looking at her son. He grew real fast and real big. We saw the beautiful mother grow old in those pictures, she was evacuated from all places and indirectly it was because of her son. We saw how the son built the greatest empire ever seen, and how the mother was taken for granted and ignored. Finally there were images of mass destruction, green house effect, overflowing oceans, airplanes smashing into high rise buildings and mother nature only made for a silent spectator in the backgrounds.

He shut the album pleaded with us to help him. He is now left motherless and we are the one's who can actually look after him and provide him direction. Mother nature will always be there to bless her favourite son from wherever she is, but we are the one's who will actually have to help him take the right steps.

P.S: Just before I wrote this, I got a ping on gtalk from my sister.

"Dadai, I have a short story writing competition in school tomorrow. Topic is 'Nature and Man'. You will be to complete it in an hour, right?" !!!


maxdavinci said...

dada tussi great ho!

Suhel Banerjee said...

@maxdavinci - Thanks for the constant regular encouragement. Really, mean it.