‘Eat it, I said.
He didn’t. He just looked at me in earnest. I looked away, today I won’t melt, today I had to be firm. Oh how I longed to see him with chubby cheeks. But no, not for me that happiness. I had to be content with his lean, trim form. I made my eyes as big as I could and stared. He averted his gaze and before I could blink, ran away.
I sighed. It was much easier when they are small. You make them sit on their chair or on your lap, tell stories and feed. But no, not anymore.
‘Why don’t you do some maths’, I ask seeing him busy playing on the tablet. ‘Hmm, five minutes’, he says. I am amazed. Amazed at how he is developing into a person. How he has his own likes, dislikes, opinions. Some people don’t leave their mother’s pallu even if they themselves are middle-aged. Mine never held it. Our roles have always been reverse. ‘Amma can’t you be careful when you walk’, when I bang on something. ‘Amma see here it is a bit down’, when we got out and there is a step. Or, ‘Don’t worry I will manage’, I mean who is the mother here?
My thoughts return, ‘You have an exam, won’t you study?’. He looks at me and says, ‘Don’t worry’. Temper flares, ‘And mind you if your marks are low, see what I am going to do’
He gets up grudgingly; mumbling, ‘Always bossing over me, I don’t have a say at all.’
When the father returns from work both of us are ready with our list of complaints. He nods at each of us and proceeds to watch the News.
It has been a bad day. I have a bad headache so much that opening the eyes is a punishment but when the doorbell rings I squint and drag myself to open the door, Both the father and the son have arrived. I move to set the table. That done I go and lie down again.
‘What happened?’, the man asks.
‘Can’t you see she has a headache’, the son says and starts massaging the forehead.
Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. He may be stubborn, he may be lazy, he may not yet know his interests but at least he knows to care.
Written as a part of