Do you know Nabina is expecting a child next week? I am already so excited and nervous. Yesterday, we were thinking of some names for the baby and, as you might already guess, all of them were pretty funny and weird. Hence, we quit as we don’t want the baby to curse us later when his/her friends start making fun of the name. The surprising part is how most of the names have endless potential of transforming themselves into things that are either funny or bear double meaning. You will be shocked if I tell you!
Her mother arrived in the town last month and has been taking care of her. She is really precise and punctual- at least that’s what we think. I mean, who says you have to take food 5 times a day in an interval of 4 hours? Drink milk at 10 and sleep right afterwards? Seriously? She is always running after her with plates of fruits and glasses of juice. Mothers are so amazing and we keep talking how Aunt Sonia made her life so much easier. I can see her eyes soften with gratitude whenever we talk about that incredible woman. And as we were talking, my lovely mother, I missed you terribly.
But don’t mistake this letter as a gratitude; this is an apology. My dear dear mother, I am sorry – from the core, from the depths of chasm, from whatever deep there is out there- for whatever you did and had to do for me. Very few people can see my eyes swollen- not with joy and pride- but with pain and regret whenever I talk about you. I wish I could take it all back and fix all the broken pieces.
My dearest, I was too little to understand your agony when my father abandoned you just because you gave birth to me. You would cry and I wouldn’t know why. I used to see you working till late and think that you were so hardworking. I saw a fighter in you and admired your immense strength. I saw you doing it all alone. But now I know you were not strong; you were weak and frustrated and wanted to commit suicide all along. You were not left even with an ounce of strength. You wanted to give it all up in a blink of an eye and never wake up again in all your misery. I could never understand how my birth became your nadir.
When I used to see those drops running down your eroded cheeks while praying, I thought you loved God so much. But now I know you didn’t love Him; instead you hated His followers who used His name to deny you your right to be loved, to be respected and to live happily in your family of dreams. You cried not because you loved Him; but because you hated Him. Because He made you a woman. Because He made me a woman. Because he made all women a woman.
When I was in your womb, I didn’t know you denied taking THE TEST- so the world wouldn’t know who it was inside you. Because that would mean an abortion, a murder, for me. You knew it all too well. Deep down, I know, you too wished for a boy. Didn’t you, momma? Because that would mean an end to your endless sufferings and bitterness. That would mean a happy life- not the kind of miserable one that I brought along. I am sorry that I disappointed you and turned out to be a girl (just like you) who would have to go through Agni-Parikshyas (like you did) in this society that we are struggling in. I was too guileless to understand the wretchedness of those evils that made you beg for one more chance to prove yourself- to prove that you can bear a son.
I am even sorrier for the next 30 years of your life that you had to spend with the same man in the same house in the same wrecked society just because I was born. You could not walk out with your head held high and collecting whatever was left of your dignity because it meant that I had to live a fatherless life. Who would marry me then? No ‘respectable man’ would accept me as his wife if I didn’t have my father’s surname. I am sorry that I led you into a trap and trapped you forever.
Now, you must be thinking, past is all gone and today we are seemingly a functional family. My father tolerates me to his toes. What more can I ask for? Isn’t it? But who is going to take the responsibility for all that you endured? Who is going to apologize for all that you suffered? For all those sleepless nights? For those cries begging for mercy? For those blows that you took? For those womanly desires that were oppressed? For the love that you deserved but never got? For the dignity that was attacked every day? For those acts of strong woman that you had to put up? For the wails under the blanket? For the screams masked by the pillow? For the suicidal thoughts? For the burden of a newly- born and the rejection? Who? If not me, who?
It may be too late. It may be too sentimental. It may be a scratch to the old wounds. But whatever it may mean – here it is. Sorry Mother, sorry for everything. I know the wounds are still there and they have not healed even a bit. These wounds are chronic and grow worse with time. I know because I inherited them from your womb. You have the wounds and I have the scars. Those loud laughters are just veils to hide the loud constant screams in your head. I hear them too.
I understand that this apology won’t abate your pain and I don’t intend to do so either. I just want you know that you are not alone in this; I’m with you. I am not so little anymore to not understand. If you ever feel like moving away from the man who treated you like you’re nothing but a son bearing liability, my door is always open. If you ever muster up some courage to speak for yourself, I will be your voice. We may be living in different towns but we share common pain. Next time we meet, let’s cry together because I’m tired of sobbing quietly all alone in the same corner. I bet you are too. Come soon. I love you.