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.‘
I looked at Deepika and Ranveer’s lovely dovey reception photos once again and sighed. “The early days of marriage are the best. Look at Ranveer looking so lovingly at Deepika.” Grumbling I go to the kitchen and make tea. Hubby dear is on his third conference call of the day. He hasn’t asked for it but I know he would want a tea at this time. I take the tea and keep it without saying anything.
My mind goes back in the flashback mode when we were newly married. We used to laugh more, be more carefree. Of course, with age, responsibilities, and maturity that carefree attitude is left behind somewhere.
Just then he calls me from the other room and says, “I booked your tickets for Baroda next week. I have informed the office people also that I won’t be able to travel that week.” Next week I will be going to Baroda to take care of my mom who will be undergoing cataract operation. My kids will have their school and college and hence my hubby will be in charge of them and the home. This is not the first time that he has taken care of things. My dad had heart attack last year and I have visited my parents multiple times since then. My husband all the times has reassured me that he will take care of things back home.
I smile, over the years the expression of love changes. Yes, we both love each other still, even after 16 years of marriage. The small gestures say so. Love is all about support, care, equality, friendship, being there for each other in happiness and sorrow. That’s true love.
Raghav knew he was in big trouble when his mom called him in a stern voice in her room. He remembered that he had forgotten to delete his WhatsApp messages last night before going to bed. His mom used to pull out the charger from his mobile every morning. She must have seen his messages today.
He quietly stood beside his mom. As expected his mom was extremely angry. She couldn’t keep her voice down and yelled at him, “What’s going on between you and Sia? Is she your girlfriend? Is this the age to get involved in relationships? You are only 14! Concentrate on your studies. The mobile is the culprit here. I shouldn’t have gifted you the mobile. Easy access to everything. Misusing your independence and mobile. If I see any such message in the future, I will confiscate your mobile. Now go and study.”
When Raghav quietly left the room, his father simply asked his mother, “Meera, remember your teenage? Didn’t you go through any such infatuation?” Meera now in her 40s instantly became the 14-year-old shy girl whose strict parents didn’t like her talking to boys. But the heart and hormones were beyond her control. She remembered how that cute lanky boy whom she used to have a crush on once sneaked in a red rose in her English textbook. She was so thrilled. Every time she saw the rose her heart raced.
Few decades later the rose in the textbook has been replaced by text messages. Meera was replaced by her Raghav…
Her 6-month-old baby wouldn’t stop crying. He was cranky since yesterday night. The young mom was at wits end not knowing how to pacify the little baby. She tried distracting him, feeding him, cuddling him. He would sleep for a while and again cry. “Is he teething?” she thought. Finally, the baby slept.
She slumped on the chair and started crying. She was tired. She had a C-section and her back still hurt. She remembered her carefree days when she would go to office, meet targets, party, and have fun. Now she was all alone managing a cranky baby, not knowing what awaits her every moment. Her husband seemed to have lost interest in her now. She hated her body. God, will things be normal again?
He was having a bad day in the office. He hadn’t slept well. The baby was cranky all night. He had tried helping his tired wife in taking turns to take care of the baby. He wanted to go home. Today he felt like resigning from his job, but he knew he couldn’t. Now he had more responsibilities. Gone were his carefree bachelor days.
He came home, all tired and worn out. She was sitting on the chair, all tired and worn out. She got up and went near him. Both hugged each other and had tears rolling down their eyes. Both just needed this hug, this reassurance that everything will be fine as long as they are together. After a long time, they both smiled at each other.
He said, “Come, lets make some tea and pakoras together. Our joint ventures have always worked”. She smiled shyly..
Why is it so hard for some people to believe that times are changing, world is evolving? Also, correlating the changing times and technology with lazy parents and selfish kids has become a norm. Yes, this is a generation of apps. I admit there are times that I don’t like to slog in the kitchen and I order food from the app. I don’t like traveling by public transport and book a cab using my app. I pay my bills through an app. Does that really make me a lazy mom or a bad parent setting a bad example for my kids? NO..
Imparting right values has got nothing to do with technology or apps. If I don’t cook for a day or 2, my children won’t judge me and label me as a bad mother. Also, if my kids use apps I won’t call them selfish or self-centered. Teaching the children value of money, imparting them values such as compassion and love has got nothing to with their app usage. My son uses public transport most of the times but on days he might book a cab for him and his friends. Does that make him selfish or the fact that he doesn’t value his parents’ hard-earned money? Does a woman not slogging 12 hours in a kitchen make her a selfish/lazy mom/wife?
Technology and right values can go hand in hand. Times have changed, dynamics have evolved, parenting has become more difficult, but generalizing moms as lazy and kids are selfish all the time is not right. Its not that during our childhood there were no self-centered children or negligent parents. So, once and for all stop generalizing..