Chapter – 19
A nine year old, I soon got back to life’s routine. I began to play again. I laughed. I made merry. Life flowed again. But, deep in my heart, mother’s memories ached like an unhealed wound – a scar that could never be wiped off.
A year had not passed after my mother’s demise, when I heard of my father’s second marriage. Actually I overheard it from my aunt’s conversation with my grandmother. Father was going to marry a timber merchant’s daughter. Grandma also added that the timber merchant had two elephants of his own. I could sense the displeasure ringing in my grandma’s voice. I heard aunt speaking in a subdued voice about a rumour that my father was maintaining an illicit relation with the timber merchant’s daughter even when my mother was alive. I sensed Grandma’s voice quivering with helpless indignation. “Poor children! What will happen of them…Will that nefarious nymph take care of them?” Grandma uttered these words with a heavy release of breath. Afterwards I heard only breaths – breaths of helplessness. Falling and rising breaths…
I felt disgust for the timber merchant’s daughter who was coming to steal my mother’s place. For me my mother was irreplaceable. In my heart, I decided that I was not going to accept her as my mother.
Father’s remarriage took place in haste. My brother and sister participated in the nuptial function that took place in the church. But, I did not witness the ceremony. I was in the cemetery meanwhile, where my mother’s body was buried. I was listening to her asthmatic breaths rising from the cavernous depth of her tomb. They were sad, lonely and forsaken. My poor orphan mother! Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I sobbed. I felt my breaths getting strangled with sorrow. Sorrow whirled inside me like imprisoned breath…
“You are standing here…?”
A voice shook me to wake. It was Geevarghese, my father’s friend. He smelt toddy.
“Your father is getting married…and you are standing in the cemetery? Come, child…and join the party…come on…meet your new mother…” His breath emitted the sour air of toddy as he spoke.
I felt a rush of hot blood within my veins. I yelled: “I have only one mother, and she is here….!” I pointed my finger towards my mother’s tomb. “And I am not going to accept any new mother…!”
Telling that, I ran out of the cemetery.
(to be continued…)
by A. Fraizer