Short Stories >> Atam Vishwas >> Sulking (Rosamo)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
Kiki was sitting on the window, keeping her head on the cold iron rods. Her gaze was on the white pigeon-like clouds. Her silk sari had spread in all directions exactly like the troubled waterfall that had not been able to contain itself within the mountain.
Her mother had stopped knitting the cord and was looking at Kiki's body and gaze. She was listening to the intermittently rising sweet melody...
The forgotten chapter of the past of her own life had opened in front of her. The scene of half century ago had flown here, on wings, and filled the atmosphere. The same agony. The same window. The same cold rods. The same waiting. The beloved's letter had not arrived. When the beloved had come from abroad, at that time, the aunts, sisters-in-law had only condemned Kiki's mother and as result she was left waiting like Sita in Ashok Vatika.Years passed by. Seasons changed. The beloved neither came himself nor sent any letters. In the meanwhile, Kiki too grew into a marriageable age, but the stars in the sky remained always gloomy and weak.
Watching the yellow tinge of the Moon, Kiki's mother's lips also turned pale. Sometimes, while talking to the Moon she would ask, "What fault did I commit? That I did not follow any law while laughing? Did not follow any law going anywhere? I did not complain about my mother-in-law and sister-in-law? Where was there any place for complaints in my heart full of life? I just wished to fill my beloved with the nectar of love for those happy six months. How I had memorised so many love songs! How else could I relate with my beloved staying far away? But alas, you flowers of love! I should have also created a cover of cleverness over you to protect your beauty. Just see how my lover has left me longing! How he crushed the Lotus of my heart!"
Kiki's mother gave out a cold sigh. She came closer to Kiki and began knitting again. After a while, when her mind lost control, she called, "Kiki"
Kiki gave a jerk. Mother herself was afraid, "Kiki, why did you get frightened?"
Kiki, hesitantly answered, "Just like that. Perhaps I was lost in a dream. I felt as if I was alone in a valley and there were waterfalls...There were wild flowers and grass around which were giving a strange and heart-wrenching fragrance. The breeze was flowing through the leaves of the trees. My hair was flying. My clothes were flying. More than my body, my mind was keen on flying away from that sad valley...Oh, you are crying Ammi!"
A voice was heard below, "Kiki's mother, aren't you coming for the Satsang today?"
Kiki's mother said, "Yes, yes..". and left aside the half-knitted cords. She asked Kiki, "Shall I go? Will you go to Leela the neighbour and spend time?"
After singing songs with friends, when Kiki returned in the night, she saw that her mother had arrived long ago. She did not even look in her direction. She felt a certain sort of bitterness in her chest. She thought, "Looking at me in so much sadness Ammi had gone away to the temple!"
Her mother told her, "Kiki, I have cooked such a good khichdi that you would love to eat it even with just a papad".
The fragrance of the delicious khichdi had reached Kiki's nostrils as well but her cover of bitterness on her chest did not allow that fragrance to touch her inner being.
Her mother put the khichdi in a plate along with a bowl of curd, and began cutting a mango. Kiki pulled her plait hard and asked, "But you said we will eat only plain khichdi!"
"Why will we have plain khichdi my dear child!"
Kiki felt her mother's words like a bitter medicine. Somehow, they ate while gossiping about the neighbours and went to sleep.
For a long time, they both kept tossing and turning. Finally, because of the daze of youth one went to sleep and because of tiredness of old age the other too went to sleep. The morning sun rays tried to remove the cover of bitterness from Kiki's mind, but they were unsuccessful. Afternoon passed into evening but both mother and daughter hardly spoke a few words to each other.
In the evening, the sky was filled with small clouds. Few clouds even brought in some drizzle. There a fragrance of fresh wet earth. A boy was playing on his flute far away.
Kiki's mind went into a trance. Covering her head with a dupatta, she went up on the terrace. She lay down under the sad sky spread out far and wide. A smoke was emanating from the hot floor of the terrace because of the light drizzle. Kiki closed her eyes to experience that fragrance fully. That smoke mixed with her mind's disturbances melted and turned into tears and were flowing from Kiki's eyes. Suddenly somebody came and kept hands on her eyes. She felt those arms and realised that they a man's arms! She sat down with a jerk. She was shocked to see the face in front of her. She kept quiet for a long time. The temple bells could be heard in the distance.
Shyam asked her, "Did you really miss me so much?"
Kiki put her head on her husband's lap. As Shyam caressed her hair, she burst into tears. The day entered into the being of night in great excitement. Shyam was not Shyam anymore. Even he cried like Radha.
Somebody switched on the light of the terrace. Kiki removed the letter from Shyam's pocket. "Who has written this letter?"
Seeing the shaky handwriting with many mistakes, Kiki's heart was overflowing. She starting reading it fast.
Sons-in-law are like sons itself. So, looking at a mother's sorrow you too will feel sad. Won't you? I have kept a Monday fast today; I shall not lie. Kiki is really longing for you. She keeps leaning on the window rods and keeps talking to the clouds. She keeps singing softly and her mind is very heavy. Tears flow from her eyes all the time. I don't know what is her fault. But sulking for any fault does not suit a man like you. My entire life has gone by waiting and longing. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law instigated my husband. I did not complain to them about anything. But still they complained to him and distanced him from me. My sweet child, I know how I have suffered. I don't wish this suffering for any one else. Write a loving letter immediately to your wife. My mind will feel rested only when I see that letter.
Your loving mother".
"Ammi. Ammi" Kiki give out such a loud shout that Shyam was shocked. As she rushed towards the staircase, Shyam caught her by the arms and asked, "Where are going, leaving me?"
Kiki wiped her tears and said, "I was sulking with Ammi. Should I not go and console her?" Saying this Kiki rushed down, two stairs at a time.
- Translated by Arun Babani