Raj was very happy today. He had gotten selected in one of the most prestigious colleges of the country for his MBA. It was his dream come true. He had slogged to get into this college. He was only 20 and had just graduated.
He broke the news to his parents. They were as elated, or even more, as he was! Raj’s mother Malini had tears in her eyes. Her little boy seemed so grown up all of a sudden. She was extremely happy that her son’s hard work had paid off, at the same time the thought of staying away from him made her sad.
Raj came into her life within the first year of marriage. She was very young when he was born and she felt that she had literally grown up with him. Her life revolved around Raj, her husband and her daughter Ria. This was the little world that gave her all the happiness and fulfillment. She knew one day her kids have to fly out of the nest, but it seemed that the 20 years had just gone like that!
Since the time Raj had his mobile, Malini had made it mandatory that wherever he goes he should message her that he has reached. Sometimes Raj used to forget and Malini would reprimand him. She would reprimand him out of fear, out of concern. When Raj saw the blue tick on WhatsApp that his mom had seen his “reached” message he would be relaxed.
Soon the day came when Raj had to fly to another city for his MBA. Malini couldn’t control her emotions and cried bitterly hugging Raj when he bid the final adieu in the airport. Between sobs she said, “Make sure you ping me when you reach your destination.”
Soon Raj became busy with his new exciting life. He was busy and happy in his college of dreams. He had made new friends, had loads of studies, and other extracurricular activities. His messages to his mom had reduced drastically, not his fault though. He had become busy.
One night while he was studying he saw his mom’s video call on WhatsApp. His mom never made a video call; this was the first time she was doing this. He quickly picked up the call. He saw his mom after a long time. She asked Raj, “How are you beta? I know I shouldn’t be disturbing you, but wanted to see you, haven’t seen for so long na. I am so happy that you are so happy in your college. God bless you and may all your dreams come true.” Raj suddenly felt home sick. He felt his mom had aged a bit in the past few days. He said, “I am happy and fine Maa. Are you not well? You don’t look too good. Please take care of your health. Don’t worry about me my dearest Maa.” Malini was choked with emotions. She could barely say, “I am fine beta. Just a little high blood pressure, but don’t worry I am taking medicine. Okay, won’t disturb you any more. Study, take care of your health, and enjoy a lot. Ping me some times, I miss those messages. Love you beta.”
A week later early morning Raj saw his dad’s number beep on his phone. Dad never called at unearthly hours. Raj picked up his call in his slumber. He could hear his dad’s voice on the other side, “Raj, please come home today. Your mom left us yesterday night. She had heart failure in her sleep.”
Raj became numb. He didn’t know how to react. How could his mom pass away at the young age of 42? This was no age to go. How he wished he could go back and converse a little more with her in the first and last video call that she had made. How could he even fathom and believe that it was‘The Last Time He Saw Her.‘