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“Dad, I’ll be late! Don’t wait up for me.”
Arunaji was chopping vegetables for dinner. She turned around. One look at Ria and her blood boiled.
Ria was dressed in an off-shoulder red top which exposed her tiny waist and the little belly button ring. The black mini skirt looked more of a ‘micro-mini’ to Arunaji. As Ria bent down to put on her matching stilettos, the red and blue tattoo on her right shoulder glowed to perfection.
Arunaji screamed at her daughter.
“Where do you think you are going at this late hour? And that too dressed like this ??”
Ria looked at her mother with irritation.
“I am going to the pub. And mom please don’t start lecturing me. I am not a child anymore. I am 27, working and quite capable of taking my own decisions. I want to live my life on my terms. Dad!!!”
Ria looked at her father who gestured her to leave. Ria blew a flying kiss to her father and left. Maheshji turned to his wife.
“Don’t worry Aruna. She is a mature woman. She’ll be fine.”
Being sidetracked by both her husband and daughter, Arunaji lost her temper.
“Your love and affection have spoiled her. She never listens to me. Wearing such indecent clothes and partying out late. Do you know what I found in her jeans yesterday? A pack of cigarettes! I won’t be surprised to know that she drinks too. God! What will she do after marriage?”
Next morning, Ria woke up late and groggy. It was Saturday and her office was closed. She left the house around noon and returned late in the evening. ” What happened Riya? You look upset. Did you fight with Rahul?” Arunaji looked at her worriedly.
Ria looked at her parents and said,
“Mom, Dad. I have something to tell you.”
Arunaji felt an impending disaster. She waited with bated breath.
“I am pregnant.” Ria dropped the bomb.
It was nothing short of a heart attack for Arunaji. She looked at her husband and he too looked shocked.
“When are you both getting married?” Arunaji couldn’t stop herself from asking.
“Married? Are you crazy Mom? I don’t want to marry Rahul.” Ria made a face.
Arunaji screamed, “Then why did you..?” She couldn’t continue further. Ria shrugged carelessly.
“We just wanted to experiment…know if everything was alright with us.”
Arunaji’s eyes almost popped out from its sockets. Ria saw it and held up her hands.
“Ok. I admit we made a mistake. But don’t you worry. I have made an appointment with the doctor. I will get it aborted.”
Arunaji now pounced on her husband.
“All this has happened because of you! She has crossed all boundaries of decency. “
Maheshji hung his head in shame and despair. There was nothing for him to say.
A few days later, Ria went for abortion alone. Arunaji wanted to accompany her but Ria refused.
After returning from the hospital, she went straight to her room and shut the door. Her mother pleaded with her to come outside and eat something but they fell on deaf ears.
It was late at night when Ria finally opened the door of her bedroom. Arunaji rushed in worriedly.
“Are you alright beta?”
Ria turned a tear-stained face to her mother. Hugging her tightly, she sobbed.
“Oh mom…it hurts…it hurts so much. I never thought I would feel this way. I feel like a murderer. I have committed a sin Mom! “
Arunaji looked at her in the eye and said, “Ria, if you want to live life on your terms then you have to own it’s consequences too.”
As days passed, Arunaji saw a change come over her daughter. Ria’s outside endeavours were now limited to her office only and even after coming back she locked herself in her room She had also grown more silent.
One day, Ria returned early in the evening. She looked excited.
“Mom, Dad! I have something to tell you.”
Arunaji’s thoughts invariably went to that other evening when Ria had made the same statement. She looked at her daughter suspiciously.
“I am adopting a baby girl!” Ria dropped the bomb.
“Has she completely lost it? Huh??” Arunaji asked her husband.
Maheshji now turned to his daughter.
“Beta, I can understand after what happened..you..um…have started having motherly feelings. But why adopt? Why not marry and have a kid of your own?”
“But I haven’t found anyone I’d like to marry. And no Mom I won’t marry a stranger. I have thought about this. And I know I am doing the right thing.” Ria was adamant.
“Ria, you can do whatever the hell you want with your life. I am fed up with you! But I won’t be a party to your madness! ” Arunaji raged at her.
Needless to say, Ria went ahead with the adoption and soon brought one-year-old Disha home. Though she kept a nanny, Ria always made it a point to attend to little Disha after she came back from office. Arunaji was amazed to see her daughter changing nappies, feeding, playing and singing the little one to sleep. It warmed her heart to see her daughter happy after so long.
One evening, Arunaji saw Ria taking the baby for a walk. Ria was wearing a plain T-shirt and jeans.
Arunaji blurted out. “What is this? No more short dresses??”
Ria broke out into a burst of laughter and replied, “Mom! I understand your feelings but do you really expect me to wear mini skirts to the park? And also for your kind information Mother India, I have stopped smoking and drinking. Do you know why? Because of this little angel.”
Ria smiled fondly at her daughter and kissed her head.
“I don’t want to set a bad example in front of her. And…it’s also injurious to health. Now that I have her, I have to be careful about every step I take. “
Arunaji was amazed to hear this. The little angel had accomplished what she as a mother couldn’t. She then said what was actually in her mind.
“That’s alright. But..um.. people are talking behind our back. I mean about you being a single parent.” Arunaji said slowly.
Ria instantly changed into a tigress protecting her cub. She said fiercely,
“Let them talk. Who cares? It’s my life and I will live it on my terms!”
For once, Arunaji agreed with her daughter.
First published here.
Image via Youtube
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