“Eclectic, interesting…will fill you with hope and resolve!” – Pick up our new short story collection, Women.Mutiny
I know that. I know she’s always there for me. It’s because of her that I’m independent. Ambulatory albeit with crutches. And ambitious. She never let me pity myself. Never.
‘Our whole universe was in a hot dense state.
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago, expansion started wait!
The earth began to cool. The Autotrophs began to drool.
Neanderthals developed tools, we built a wall.
We built the pyramids,
Maths, Science, History,
Unravelling the mysteries.
That all started with a BIG BANG! BANG!’
I woke up bobbing my head to my favorite theme song. The sun was yet to rise and after just three hours of sleep, I was ready to start cramming again. Today was the most important day in my life.
An hour later, I decided to take a break and look out of the window. I spotted early morning joggers and mothers whisking their kids away to school. A few kids were off to play football or cricket or whatever new games are introduced in schools these days.
I sighed and got back to cramming. I could never play sports even if I wanted to. How could I? It didn’t matter though. Or did it? I really don’t know. Mother always says, you can’t have everything. You are good in academics, a few others are good in sports. That’s how it is. I always shrugged it off.
I yearn to go out there and kick the ball or play badminton with my friends. Friends? What friends? Do I even have any? Or is it because of pity that they talk to me? How I wish I could know! Mother would tell me, “If they are there for you even in your difficult times, then they are your true friends.”
This is a difficult time for me. I’m appearing for an important entrance exam that will decide if I’ll become an astrophysicist or no, and there are no friends to help me out. Mother would laugh if I tell her this. She would say, ‘Of course they won’t come, and even if they do, what will they understand about the kind of physics that you are learning?’ And I would argue, ‘But, they can at least call, say hi, or whatever.’
Oh crap! I need to stop these thoughts and get back to revising. And I also need to see father, seek his blessings. I doubt he’ll bless me though. He doesn’t even acknowledge my existence. Only Suraj is important for him. His beloved son. I’m just a mistake. Why was I even born?
Every single day I watch him talking to my younger brother. He spoils him so much. Whatever he wants, he gets. Sometimes I hate both of them so much. But mother consoles me. She says, “You are very special, my child. Do not feel bad. Cheer up. I’m there for you.”
But, I can’t help it. I do hate my father though. He did not bother to give me something as basic as vaccines! Every child receives it. It’s given free of cost in government centers! So, of course out of the millions of kids in this country, I had to be struck with polio. And that too, a vaccine strain. I read all about it. And I can’t believe my luck. I don’t know why mother still stays with him though.
Sometimes, I crave for his attention. I crave for that pat on my head when I do well, or a consoling hug when I do not. What can I do so that he would shower an iota of his love on me?
It would be difficult for mom, I know. Without any financial help. And he’s a good provider and a good father to Suraj. It’s only me that’s the problem. I wonder why they named me Sneha. How ironic!
I have to clear these exams and go away from here. Build a new life for myself. May be go away in space. Mother would throw a fit if I told her that. I won’t tell her, lest she doesn’t let me appear for these exams. It would be a year wasted. Mother writes beautiful poetry though. Every time I’m upset about something, she comes up with something rhyming. It feels like rhymes have started flowing in her blood now!
“Sneha, what are you doing? Come on, freshen up and come for breakfast.” Mother’s here to get me out of my train of thoughts. I smile.
“Give me a few minutes, ma.”
I grab my crutches and head towards the bathroom. After I’m done with my business, I get dressed and go to the kitchen for breakfast.
“So how are the preparations, considering the examinations?”
I burst out laughing. “That did not rhyme, ma!”
“Oh yes, it did. Have some idli and dosa with this. The chutney is spicy and the sambhar is hot. My dear Sneha, won’t you have the entire pot?”
“Ma! Stop it. It sounds more like a rap than a poem.” I laughed.
I felt good. My spirits soared instantly from all the dark thoughts that had consumed me a while ago.
“Ma, dad’s there?”
“No, he left with Suraj. Suraj has wished you luck though.”
I rested my crutches against the dining table and took a seat. It didn’t matter, I consoled myself. I need to crack this exam and shine. I need to live my dream. I just HAVE to.
“Sneha, look at me.” Ma said.
“You are my little shining star,
going out to live your dream
I’m here for you, if not in person than from afar.
Good luck to you my little girl, it’s time for you to gleam!”
She continued, “I know that it’s very difficult for you to face this everyday living under the same roof. He’s a hypocrite. Your father. But remember, he’s not the center of your universe. You have the world to see yet, you have to reach the skies. Do not do anything to make HIM love you, do only what would make YOU love yourself even more. Do what makes YOU happy.”
She hugged me tight, and I cried. I cried for the father’s love that I craved. I cried for all those races that I missed. I cried for the looks of pity that I got. I cried incessantly.
“Now, now. That’s enough Sneha.”
I took a few deep breaths, washed my face and waited for a while. So that I could calm down. I needed to be level headed for this exam. It would make or break my life.
Just as I was about to leave, ma gave me a paper.
“Read it in the cab as you go towards your exam Centre. And all the best!”
Excited about the contents of the note, I opened it as soon as the cab started moving.
‘All this time he convinced you
That he is the centre of your universe,
Whereas the truth is you are the sun,
And he was just a mere planet,
Orbiting around your golden essence.
It would take one million of him
To make even a single you.
Your soul is full of such warmth,
Such life giving beauty,
That it is he who searched
The entire universe to find you.’
(Nikita Gill, Lessons from the cosmos #2)
I re-read the poem a couple of times to soak in its beauty. Oh, ma! I love you so much!
I forgive you father, for not giving me my share of love. For giving up on me. It’s alright though. I have enough space in my heart should you choose to love me some day. Until then, I’ll wait. Yes, I will wait.
I was determined, more than ever, to crack the exam and live my dream.
Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the Muse of the Month March 2019, but not one of the winners.
Image source: shutterstock
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