An envelope arrives at the Shanti Sadan this foggy morning & creates a stir in the whole house. Everyone wants to know what has happened. The cook, Sunita has made those special modaks today to celebrate the news & this luscious smell of roasted khoya is shouting to the whole town about the incoming of the letter. As soon as the letter arrived, servants are trying to figure out the inner content without opening the envelope. Just then, “Sunita..!!!”, shouts a deep curious woman’s voice & the envelope suddenly reaches back to the table. “Ji… Letter aa gya”, says Sunita in an excited tone.
The old lady Geetanjali comes down the stairs, surprised to find the whole group of servants waiting eagerly for her in the hall. She picks the envelope up, opens it, stops to look around. Those widened eyes & excited blunt smiles are looking at her in utter suspense to unravel the highly anticipated news. A look of anguish for the delay is also crossing their faces though. She finally opens it & a bright sparkling emotion struck her face. “It’s a princess”, she roars in happiness. The reaction was underwhelming & everyone seems happily confused trying to figure out the words of this absurd English language. It was a chaotic confusion where no one knew what is it. “Hain…!!! Kya hua hai???” “Kya hai, kya hai??” “Pinces!!!, Ee ka hota hai” is what people started questioning each other. On realizing her blunder she shouts, “Arre….Ladki hui hai” & suddenly the chaos turns into a blissful shouting. “Yaay!!!!” “Accha, Humne toh pehle hi kaha tha” & what not. They got so excited as if they all had the newborn as their own. Some started tapping themselves for their valuable suggestions they gave like ‘Bhairo baba ki bhabhoot’, ‘Putri Prapti Mantra’ & what not. Others were busy telling that they already knew the gender seeing the way she walked during pregnancy and Sunita was busy distributing modaks among people while letting them all remember that it was only her who wanted a girl to be born & no one else. Their happiness was beyond imagination.
Geetanjali had some joyful happy tears in her eyes. She looks at herself in the mirror to see the signs of being a grandmother. She feels old today, not just the externals but from inside. She kisses the letter & keeps it back in the envelope, just when she founds another letter in it. She reads it.
I know all of them will be jumpimg with joy after getting this news of the girl baby. All of them were mad for a girl & I must say their wishes come true. Those endless fights on the topic of my baby’s gender will now come to end for which you should thank me, don’t you? The baby & I, we are both in a good health & Sam is being very helpful rather extra faithful after your last class to him. Dear lord…!! He still remembers your red angry eyes on him that day. Today I wrote this letter to just thank you Maa, for everything. I know you would be like, “Marr khayegi, Yeh Thankyu-Vankyu ke natak mat kiya kar” but still I do… I want to thank you for accepting me as your daughter when he left us. Thank you for turning from a mother in law to my maa when my own parents abandoned me. Thank you for accepting me over your own son. It wasn’t easy for both of us but see! We survived. And yes! If you are planning for a big gift for our anniversary, stop right away. The biggest gift you gave me was Sam himself.Accepting him was a challenge itself after what Raj did to us. The battle you fought against this society to get me, your daughter in law remarry with an foreigner was not easy, I know. Maa, I know about your health & don’t ever scold Sunita for telling me but you should retire now. You & your never lasting body needs rest for this time.
Maa, actually I wanted to tell you something. Raj called sometimes ago. Please don’t be angry because what I felt is that he is a changed man. Yes I know you would be angry of me but we are meeting from a long time & he is sorry for what he did. He wants to meet you. I understand your aggrieves but I accepted his apology. I think we should give him a chance, afterall he is your son. I hope you understand. Love you Maa.
Waiting for your earliest reply.
The letter that Geetanjali started reading with a smile now given him a red hot face. She was trembling from anger. How can she forgot what he has done to her. Maybe Shikha can forget her but for her, his decision of selling Shanti Sadan & abandoning his mother & wife for that whore in America was enough to kill him for her. In the fate of her pained distress, she tears the letter into pieces and threw it into the burning fireplace.
By- Subhag Singh