Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I started counting the stars in the sky. The vast expanse of canopy was breathing slowly and was going to slip into a deep slumber. But I could not sleep. I forgot those days when I used to sleep like a log. It was when she was here. I counted the stars just to find out the most glistening amidst them. It could be her– my mother. I missed her badly. She would always tell me to count the stars to relieve my anger and I did that every night. I was angry with me -angry for not being as beautiful as her, for not being as adept as her in anything.

My father married again. You would be surprised to know that I did not even know her name. She never was a cunning stepmother. She was neither like a mother too. We both were two hapless creatures who ended up in the same place for the reasons of not our own. We knew it but never cared to show it to each other. We never felt like it. She toiled and moiled until she was worn out. Thank God! She knew how to get rid of those dirty emotions out of her. But I was smarting under me. I always felt like laughing aloud but could not. It felt as if a rope was tied between my cheeks and the corner of my temples. It restrained me from laughing aloud.

I always wondered how my mother could fall for a man like him, who was always scared of loving his children, who always believed love could destroy them. They had an inter-religious as well as an inter-caste marriage. They had to start right from the very beginning. Each penny was saved to build their future.

We had a single room house to start with. I remember those when we four (father, mother, brother and myself) slept together in the same room. I could hear them loving each other in the middle of the night. They took extreme care to limit their caresses for the fear of awaking us. When they were asleep after the long process of loving each other they wrapped themselves in each other's arms and slept till the crack of the dawn. I could not make it out what was it. But I felt it as soothing and lovable. The deep moaning late at night soon became a comforting song and I always lent my ears for it. 

Now no moaning and caresses, only deep cries. I always wondered whether he could be the same man with my stepmother. I tried to eavesdrop on them but now the one room home had given way to a house with strong walls. If the walls had the ears they could hear it and would hide it in their heart.

He never told us that he was going to marry which he did six years after my mother's death. It might not be easy for him to resist the call of flesh and blood. But I was certain that the moaning would not have the charms it had before.

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