Story: Immunity by Simmi Gurwara

I’ve been waiting for long for my son to come and see me before I finally depart from this gloom-filled life. I wish I could e-mail my son and find out about him. People say through web camera we can also directly talk to the person while seeing him on computer. I plan to buy a computer and learn to chat with Param. It is almost a month now since he called last to talk to me. I asked him to call me every week, like I always do and he said yes, like he always responds to my request.

Why do I feel so vulnerable? Widowhood is a curse, everybody thinks, and now when I experience the demons of loneliness, I realize why they say so. After his father’s death, Param had asked me to accompany him to Scotland. At that time I was not ready to leave my nest which I and Vikram built, investing every single pie that we had. I’m still paying the EMIs of loan that we had to take to buy this house, this 3BHK. I never knew this same house would come to haunt me. I feel as if the walls are staring in my face and threatening to squeeze me by closing in from all sides. Every single piece of furniture that I bought with Vikram with great delight seems to deride me for my pitiable state. My neighbor suggests that I should join some satsang group that will keep me occupied for nearly 3 hours everyday. But I don’t like those women who regularly come leaving their children behind to chant devotional songs whereas their minds are wandering in every direction. When I look at those women I wander what makes them attend the satsang so religiously. Do they not have their people to attend to? Sickening! I can never join their pack. They are useless women who have nothing left in their lives.

Param was telling me when he came last on his father’s death that everybody in Scotland speaks in English even the maids and drivers. I was a graduate when I got married to Vikram. Vikram worked in a private firm. He used to motivate me to join some school as a teacher but since I didn’t have a B.Ed. degree, I could not muster courage to go and face the interview. Even otherwise who would have called me for interview? Good riddance. I didn’t have it in me to slog in a school for 6-7 hours. I was happy in my life as a homemaker; with my husband who earned enough to make both ends meet for me and our only child- Param. Where was the need for more? I always wanted Param to study in a convent rather than a public school. Vikram wasn’t in favor of spending so much by sending Param to a convent. But I put my foot down and finally Vikram came around. He always used to say if he could make it reasonably well in his career by studying in a government school why couldn’t his son do the same but I revolted. Today I’m so proud my Param is convent educated. Last time he called, he said he is seeing an English girl. So what? It is so natural when you are in a foreign land. I’ve always been a liberal. I don’t mind my son marrying an English girl.

* * * *

I’m getting restless now. Why isn’t Param calling up. It would have been better had I gone with him only. How could I love these lifeless things? How do they matter in life? This property; this furniture. It sounds hollow. I just want to be with my child. Let Param call now I’ll tell him I am ready to join him. I will brush up my English through Rapidex English Speaking course. I’m not in the habit of reading English newspapers, actually.

* * * *

Param called last night. He wasn’t sounding like my Param. My Param who used to cling to me calling out, Moma, Moma. My son; my little darling. But he sounded like a distant relative. He didn’t express any delight when I said I would love to join him. Neither did he give his sanction to my idea. He was sounding cold. He said he has a busy schedule. There would be no time to take care of me. But I don’t need any care. I want to be with him so that I can take care of him. When did I expect anything out of him? He has never told me about his salary. He never discusses about his job. He just says he is doing well.

* * * *

I’m planning to join the satsang from tomorrow. It is better to concentrate onto religious practices. I understand why people in their old age go to Haridwar and live their twilight years in an Aashram at Gangaghat. May be all those people who are deserted by their children go to Haridwar or join the satsang. I never wanted to join the satsang but…

“Param, you’ll be glad to know beta that I’ve made up my mind to come to Scotland.”

“…How come?”

“What do you mean ‘how come’? Now I’m unable to live alone in this house. It looks more like a graveyard to me these days. I don’t want to be buried here.”

“What are you talking Moma? Where else would you live if not in your own home? There is no place better than your own home. Believe me. What do you think I’m happy here? Life is very tough. And it is also very expensive. I and Katty put in all our earnings to run the house. You are comfortable there. You have Papa’s savings. What’s the trouble?”

“But beta, loneliness is killing me. I don’t know how to spend time. You know my temperament. I don’t move round with people just for the heck of it. These days even T.V doesn’t interest me. I try to read magazines but for how long can I absorb the printed pages when my heart and mind are driven to far off distant lands.”

“What’s wrong with you Moma? We have no option. Living is very expensive here. It is just not affordable. And you can’t even speak English. It would be next to impossible to find you some job here. Do you understand that?”

“…yes I do. You don’t worry. I’ll manage here. I’ll engage myself in some activities. One must learn to live on one’s own.”

“Great Moma. That’s like my Moma. I know you’ll be able to manage things very well. Okay then, take care. I’ll call you as and when I get time.”

“Okay beta.”

* * * *

I wonder why I stopped going on morning walks. I’ll start my walks from tomorrow. I can’t afford to have arthritis. There is no one who can come to my help if anything goes amiss. Param is right. How can he afford his mother’s expenses in a foreign land where everything is damn costly? But since when have I become so high- maintenance that my two meals a day would be unaffordable to my own son. Had he agreed to my stay with him, I would have skipped one time meal, even otherwise my appetite has lessened with age. I could have adjusted accordingly. I was also learning English speaking these days. But I could not tell Param about it all. He seemed to be more interested in dissuading me. Anyways, let me get ready now for the satsang. God is the only saviour…

Prof. (Dr.) Simmi Gurwara
Head-Dept. of Professional Development
(Humanities & Management)
Radha Govind Group of Institutions
Meerut-250004, UP
Contact- 9412702927

Mailing Address: 3-F, Dwaarika Towers
Sector-5, Jagriti Vihar,Meerut.250004

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