Chapter Eight: Maternal Hassles
I had phoned both my daughters. The elder one had cut my call and the younger one’s phone was switched off. I had even messaged them, which is rare, me being a luddite of the first order. Why have phones if you don’t want to be contacted? “All grown up, but still a reason for worry, these children”, I mumbled. A mother’s curse is that she can never have peace.
I made my way to the kitchen in an attempt to divert my attention from the possibilities of what my offspring could be enduring thousands of miles from home, somewhere in the Himalayas. Dinner for one tonight, nothing too exciting, a toast with butter and some soup is good enough.
It was time for some television, I decided. I had to snap myself out of mother-mode and I definitely needed to feel independent. Both my daughters seemed to managing perfectly without me, why couldn’t I do without them? All these years, they were dependent on me, and now, all of a sudden, I am the dependent one? Perhaps, life was coming full circle.
My thoughts were interrupted by the door bell. It was my neighbour Mrs Madan. She wasn’t the most pleasant woman in the neighbourhood. In fact, at times I felt she was almost delighted my husband had passed away, leaving me to lead a life companion-less, just like her. I did not want to be around her, but my social conditioning led me to open the door, smile, make conversation and feed her some soup. She tried her best to convince me to join kitties, but I knew what these get-togethers were really about. Middle-aged ladies coming together to gossip, create and disseminate rumours about other women, turn every woman’s house-hold problems into an entertaining episode of a soap opera, or better yet Desperate Housewives. Popular topics of discussion included: extra-marital affairs, incompetent daughter-in-laws, weight issues, recipes, all in all, nothing that interests me.
I yawned twice, and a third time when I was done being polite. She finally took the hint and headed for the door. “You are lucky Radhika. You still have a daughter who comes home to you. You still have to look forward to her wedding...” And in that one statement, all the bitter things she had said in the past vanished. I realized this woman who lived in the house across the street, was more than anything else, alone.
That night I vowed to not let the loneliness make me bitter.