Written by Nandini Sethi
Last night she told me her secret,
With wide eyes and lips twisted into a thin line,
I listened eagerly,
Waiting to know what she was all about.
Her beauty always bewildered me,
And her mannerisms made me fall deeper in love;
Whether in the kitchen, cooking up curries dripping with love and ghee,
Or in the bedroom, watching her silently sleep.
Her warm smile and kind eyes spoke volumes,
But the thin lines on her forehead and wrinkles by her dimple told me there was more;
There was more to this woman,
About whom I thought I knew everything.
She never told me,
But I know one day she will:
When I’m a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little more resilient,
She promised she would.
I always said I wanted to be more like her,
Live life the way she did,
But she always refused,
Asking me to dream bigger, live a little fuller.
But why should I?
I, too, wanted a comfortable house,
Filled with people I love and care for most,
And spend every day and every night ensuring they are happy.
That’s why today when she bent down,
Fluffing up my pillows and turning on the night-light,
Her neatly tucked hair falling as two strands on her round face,
I could see the scepticism in her eyes.
She told me tales of small towns filled with hardships,
Where people unwillingly did everything they were told, sent to places they didn’t know,
That sometimes bedtime stories aren’t fictional, but a reality;
I watched as tears pooled in her eyes, a sigh left her parted lips, and I couldn’t even bring myself to mouth the words, ‘Ma?’