The circle of life

That evening was the first time in 15 days that Jayanthi and Anisha were at home – alone. All the funeral rites had been completed. All the relatives had returned.

Anisha, resting her head on her mother’s lap, was crying softly.

“Come now. Don’t cry.” cajoled Jayanthi.

“I miss daddy, mom.”

“I know you do… It’ll be alright. You’ll see.”

“That’s what everyone keeps saying. It’s not alright. Daddy is no more. It shivers just to utter that mom.”

“Sshhh…. It’s ok dear. Calm down.”

“Life seems so meaningless without him… To top it all, now I have to run the company too! What will I do without him, mom? I am terrified.”

“Don’t be dear. You have been running the company for a few years now; your father was just guiding you from here. You understand the business more than anybody else. Your father was always so confident in you. Besides, you will not be alone. There are so many trusted people in the company who will help you. You know that.”

“Oh… I don’t know. I wish he was here.”

Anisha spoke again after a few moments silence.

“Mom. Will you be ok? If I go back? You know the business needs me in Delhi… Why don’t you come with me?”

Jayanthi hesitated.

“I… This is all just so sudden. I … don’t know… Can we discuss this some other time?”

“Oh..Ok. Sure,”

That time arrived a few days later when Anisha realized she would have to leave shortly.

“Mom… Did you, by any chance, think about what we discussed?”

Jayanthi visibly tensed.

“Mom. I know this is hard. I get it. Just talk to me.”

“Anisha dear. What I am going to say might shock you. But…”

Anisha’s heart clenched – what was life throwing at her now?

“What is it?” she asked cautiously.

“I… I will not be coming with you to Delhi. I will not be staying here either. I will be going back to my village.”

Village?” Anisha was shocked. “What village? I thought you were from here.”

“I spent my entire married life here. That’s true. But I am not from here.”

“Mom. I don’t understand.”

Jayanthi took a deep breath, recollecting the talk she had rehearsed a hundred times. She was not prepared.

“What do you know about my parents?” She asked slowly.

“Your parents? Only what you have told me – that they died when you were about 20, before you got married.”

“They are probably dead. I wouldn’t know” Jayanthi drew a long breath. “I ran away from home, from my village when I was little… I don’t even remember why.”

“What?” Anisha lost her words.

“Yes, I did… A young girl on the streets experiences unspeakable terrors… I can only call it God’s kindness that I somehow landed up in a children’s home. I found a new life and became a nurse… You have probably figured out the rest of the story. I came to this house as a nurse – for your grandfather who was very sick at the time. I don’t know if he really liked me or felt that he was running out of time. But one day, he called your father by his side, pointed to me and said ‘She will be your wife’… Your grandfather had a heart of gold. But then without realizing, he had done his son a grave injustice.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your father didn’t like me. Never did throughout his life.”

“What?” Anisha was shocked.

“It’s true. He never told me if he liked someone else. But for sure, he didn’t want me.”

“Oh!”

“He lived with me only to protect the family’s honor… I believe he was truly happy only after you were born. You were the only happiness in his life. In mine too.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier mom?”

“I couldn’t. Your father had prohibited me. Nobody could know that I had run away.”

“Then why are you telling this to me now?”

“So that you can understand when I tell you why I need to go back… Even though my parents may not be alive, perhaps their way of life is. Maybe the house I was born in is still there… God has been very kind to me. Now, it is time for me to give back. I want to go to my village and do everything in my capacity to make myself useful. I owe it to myself. I owe it to my parents.”



7 thoughts on “The circle of life

  1. That is a lot of family secrets to find out all at once! You handled the twist in your story well. Good for Jayanthi to return to her village and try to reconnect. I wish I knew why she left. It seems strange to me that she doesn’t remember since it was a defining point in her life. And based on the consequences she knew she faced if she ran away, she must have had good reasons to leave. Some of the dialogue feels a little unnatural. I could see you steering the conversation where you needed it to go instead of allowing it to happen naturally, for instance, “you have been running the company for a few years now” and “that they died when you were about 20…”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, commenting and for the feedback! I understand what you mean by the dialogues… Sigh. This happened when the first draft of 1500 words was reduced by half! :). As a query, can we make the word count 1000 instead of 750? It would make a world of difference!
      Regarding the reason for running away. In India, sometimes children from poor families run away from home for very simple reasons – “mother beat me for stealing money, my brother keeps fighting with me, they are asking me to do too much work”… Once on street, they don’t return as they are scared of getting beat up again. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_children_in_India). I wanted to convey that the reason itself was too simple. But she never went back… Guess it needed to be clearer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The mother’s story is really compelling. I think this would have been a stronger piece if you’d started at her revelation that she ran away as a child. I want to know more about her unhappy life with her husband, about how Anisha was her only happiness. I want to know if Jayanthi looked for features in baby Anisha that were similar to her parents — did Anisha have her mother’s eyes? Did Anisha hold her head in the same way as Jayanthi’s father? And why, after running away so many years ago, does she feel compelled to return to her village now? Who does she imagine will still be there? Her parents? Aunts, uncles, cousins? I really hope you take another shot at this piece further down the track and tease out more of Jayanthi’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Asha! I started with a different story in mind. But as I wrote, the mother became a different person.
      The piece went beyond 1500 words and I had to cut it down to 750 :(. I do feel compelled to finish this story. Very soon there will a longer one. I can’t seem to get over the mother.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s