I was listening to the radio yesterday. The RJ asked the callers what they liked the most about their mothers. One girl answered that she loved her mother for her cooking. This small talk on the radio made me think about what I loved the most about my mother.
I love my mother for her courage and her wisdom. She is a brave, determined and compassionate woman who always encouraged me to dream and aspire for bigger things in life. She is not only a mother but also a practicing Gynaecologist and Obstetrician with her own establishment.
Among all the memories I shared with her, the memory below is a special one, because this incident is the reason why I believe she is a strong and courageous woman. I was about 12-13 years old at that time.
I splashed a red water colour across the white paper. The paper drank the red colour. I dipped my blue painting brush into yellow color on the palette. As I was about to paint, I heard the telephone ring, ‘tring tring tring’. It was those days when the phones had screeching tones and the receivers were at least half a pound. My mother walked out from the bedroom and picked up the ash colored receiver. Here plaited black hair rested on her chest and the black sari with dark maroon flowers contrasted against our white marble floor.
She said, ‘Hello, who is it?’ and was silent for a few seconds.
The she slammed down the receiver. I asked her, ‘Who is it?’
She replied, ‘Wrong number’, and went inside the bedroom.
I painted red and yellow streaks on the upper half of the paper, melting the boundaries that separated the colors to create a sunset. The phone rang again; ‘tring’ and my mother came hastily from the bedroom and picked it up.
She said, ‘Hello, who is it?’
After a moment of silence, she said, “Who are you? What are you telling? If you call again, I will report to the police” and she put down the receiver.
I dropped the painting brush aside, came close to her and asked, ‘Mother, who is it?’
She replied, ‘It is a prank call. Nothing important’ and stroked my hair.
She went inside the room and called somebody.
She said, ‘Hello! Where are you? Hmm…I just now got a call, the person claimed that he is a naxalite and asked for Rs. 50,000. He said he will come tomorrow evening to take it. Hmm…I thought it was a prank call, the first time, but he also called the second time. What should we do? Hmm…I told him that I will report to the police. Should we do it? Hmm…I will call our SI and have him here tomorrow evening. Can you come tomorrow? Umm…‘I will call your brother and see if he can help. I will keep you updated.’
She hung up the call. I slowly walked to my painting and sat on the floor. I held the brush in my hand but I could not paint. The conversation of my mother with my father revealed the facts behind the so called ‘wrong number’. My father was out of town at that time. I knew it was serious but I was too young to understand the implications of the call.
To be continued…
With my Mom at Alleppey, 2009