“I should have sung that song for her,” Sajit’s mind was getting drenched with melancholy of guilty feeling. At present he is in a flight to his home nation. His Amma’s(mother’s) posture with a countenance full of agony fades not from his mind. Her wet eyes dropped beads of tears, while waving the palm with inwardly-bent fingers to bid adieu. She had none to look forward but her lone beloved son.
Sajith the thirty eight-year-old man with his better half and the little darling was flying to the USA, his present bread provider. The USA endows him with a livelihood luxuriant enough to display his affluence especially in his indigenous village. This was the life that he had aspired for, from his teens. After being professionally graduated from a prestigious institute, a corporate management had offered him a handsome income. Despite that he chose his official address in the USA in search of more opulence. Occasionally he flies to his own lovely village to spend his holidays. As the village greenery charmed him this time also, he has been there for about a fortnight or above. The flight of time during the sabbatical moves as fast as dry leaves in strong wind. He can’t help being back to the USA.
Amma has experienced the pleasure of staying abroad with her son and family mainly to rear up her darling grandson. Now the toddler spends his days in play school along with his peers. Therefore she is not needed there and also she senses that her daughter-in-law is not much comfortable to have her there further. But amma’s ethics didn’t allow her tongue to utter anything against her son’s spouse. Above all the loneliness she faced abroad was her other kin’s absence from morning till evening and the pull from her domicile added speed to conclude her USA reside. So she landed back on her own sand. She didn’t rather couldn’t attribute any wrong to her son, he has become more family-centric of his wife and kid though. It is true that his attention towards the predecessor had diminished in quantity.
Now he is in his village on a vacation. In one fine morning amma came to her son, patted him at his back and asked him to sing her favourite ‘manassasancharare…’ (Carnatic music). But the response to that humble demand was haughty, “Oh! It is not time to sing. Let me read this news paper. I shall sing later.”
She didn’t insist on doing that. Compelling someone to act as per her desire was not in the syllabi of her nature. So he acted as if he forgot about it. Of late he is not of much concern about his mother; of course he spends half of his vacation in his domicile and the rest only in his wife’s residence. But he addresses not many of his mother’s simple demands like going with her to temple, giving some tips to the made, visiting relatives and so on. Somehow he has not measured the depth of the hurt his arrogant behaviour brings to his more or less silent amma.
As days passed the departure time arrived. The family followed the instruction of Time that towed them for the flight with an insinuation on its lips.
When the seating in the aircraft offered him a restful seat, his mind dived back to his amma’s area. It started blaming him for treating her as secondary. “Am I right to my Amma? Do I hurt her? Do I do what she wants? ” A series of questions haunted his thoughts.
Reminiscences slowly crept in blemishing his peace of mind. After his achan(father) passed away, his amma found joy in her son’s welfare only. The family pension she got was used to meet the needs of two lives, her son’s, in particular. She didn’t keep any wish for herself or she used to bury her wishes at the source itself. She did not struggle to make both the ends meet, the money was not enough though. Buying materials for their domestic as well as her son’s academic requirements grabbed her time aplenty. Cooking also looted her time to prepare the dishes of his choice. Even then she had earmarked time for playing with him, telling stories and reading books to him, helping him in music practice etc. She had identified the musician in her son at an early stage itself. So she took him to an eminent musician from who he obtained a good training also. Whenever she was in tension, she made Sajit sit and sing some songs of her option. She was much fond of music more than any other things.
When he was about to go abroad, her love for music leapt out of her lips as one sentence. “Try to perform music among Indians at least.” And he finds time to do that because he too loves music. She had no aim or goal other than entertaining her son. She showered love abundantly on her son.
“O! God to such a dearly loved Amma, I showed ingratitude. Had she been firm on my song, I would have sung for her,” his mind didn’t allow him escape from his guilt.
Eventually he consoled himself by deciding to sing for her as much she wants through Skype the next day itself. After a journey of twenty or more hours they landed in their state in America. The day opened its bright page of next morning after closing the dark page of night. When his feet touched the floor of his house, came the phone call. Mirthfully he carried the phone to carry out his previous day’s decision he had taken to atone his act. The voice reached him from the other end was alarming. “After you departed your amma had a chest pain. The maid informed me over phone and I took her to the hospital. But… alas! …. She… is… lucky. She was with you till day before yesterday,’’ the neighbour’s sound was gradually fading. He sat down on the floor. The grief he experienced then was inexplicable. No word of his wife and no kiss of his son could impede his bereavement.
He is returning home now. He wants to observe all rites and rituals so that his Amma’s soul will seek peace.
And in the return flight also his mind, after taking leave of him, journeys through the memory lane.