‘ You go home and check your emails. You read the second mail and freeze ! .’
Shikha wished upon Gods if what she was dealing now could be replaced by the above scenario . For she was freezed to the core , so much is true , but on reading the second unopened mail on her mother’s inbox instead of her’s !
She didn’t have to cringe her eyes or strain harder to recognize the girl and boy cuddling cozily on that peach coloured couch , so engrossed in each other that they seemed oblivious of the fact that it was already 1a.m on the frog faced time piece which adorned the book shelf beside . The picture was taken on a summer night one year back , when she with her boyfriend Sameer and another couple had crashed on his house after their twelfth standard school farewell party . Wait . What had she lied to her parents the next day about not returning home after the party ? ‘ The function stretched for a few hours more Ma , instead of winding up at 10 P.M . Shruti’s home is just a couple of blocks away from school , you know right . Her parents were out of town ; but her grandma was there . Shruti urged me to stay at her place for the night , said it was not safe to wander back alone. ‘
She hadn’t expected her parents to buy such a cleverly construed story , where there was almost nil scope for an eye witness , given that Shruti’s grandma was half blind ! Yet they never bothered to scrutinize the story further .
Now , after one long and eventful year , she was jolted up , rather heavily , on being stumbling upon this picture , fortunately unopened , on her mother’s Gmail inbox page .
She turned 19 a month back , but her mother had already registered her profile on the most sought after matrimonial site available. If it wasn’t for the occasional tryst of her mother with her laptop , surfing the matrimonial site for new proposals , she wouldn’t have had a clue as to what Sameer , her ex – boyfriend now , was upto . Her mother never cared to log out of her gmail account even . Srolling the page further down she noticed a message emboldened in large red print which read ,
“ You must have got a hint as to why I sent you this brazen picture of your daughter and me . No , as you fear in shock , I wouldn’t stoop that low to indulge in a frantic mania of spreading an online scoop linking me and your daughter . This serves as the perfect revenge for me to tear away the mask of reclusiveness she fakes in front of you guys . Like what you must be expecting , she is not just a diligent student , but a reckless woman as well . “
She stared in disbelief at those words , her heart wrenching in spite at how he could muster the courage to come lashing back at her , through her mother , after all those mind boggling days of fight they dragged through 6 months back . His egregious words soaked in the stench of booze and smoke echoed shrill in her ears , like they had deafened her on that God forbidden day,
“ There is more to being in a relationship than sharing the soul Shikha , You better beat it into your rotten brain . Strange enough , the surge of emotional vent that I used to feel in your presence has drained empty . Pardon me for being candid , but you owe me big time for all those fruitless hours of comfort and consolation I showered on you while you were wrecking your head pondering your life problems ! “
She felt a shiver run down her spine harking back those minutes when she had scampered past his living room and garden , crying , to reach the safety of the four walls of her house . She had let herself take the brunt for being nice to him for the whole two years they had gone out . But not anymore .
Shikha swiftly moving to the door , glanced out to check on her mother . Not seeing her , letting out a sigh , she closed her door behind her slowly . Returning to her laptop she began typing frantically , swiping away the beads of sweat clouding on her forehead . Leaning back to scan the message one last time , with no tad of doubt , she pressed the SENT option . Going back to the SENT messages folder of her mother’s account , she reread the message she had sent Sameer, a minute back .
“ Sameer , if you expected me to thrash my little girl and ground her forever on seeing this picture , you are wrong Son . I am well aware of the nasty break up you two had . Shikha , though late , fed me with the details ; the poor girl suffered a lot trying to hide it from me for months . As her mother , and as a Government Employee I warn you against further misbehaviour of this sort to my daughter . I hope you are aware of the unpleasant consequences of the crime you just did by sending me this obscene picture of her’s. My conscience urges me to grant you a second chance . Don’t ever message to my email or my daughter’s . Let us consider the chapter closed . “ Shikha deftly cleared both Sameer’s message and the message she just sent , from the history so that her mother wouldn’t come to know about her prying into her Gmail page .
Shikha reclined back on her pillow , her eyes grazing a picture frilled by a pretty pink photo frame – A picture of the 2 year old she nestling against her mother’s neck . Gazing into her mother’s face , she recognized the warm , affectionate person her mother used to be in her thoughts . Has her mother changed ? Or is it she who had let her mother’s love slip out of her life when she got so busy sewing up the broken pieces of her life . How could she let the half boiled words of Sameer drown her mother’s pleas to be careful while selecting friends ? How come she never think about nestling against her mother to share her little secrets now a days , even when she could undoubtedly feel her mother’s heart breaking to bits knowing her daughter’s reticence ?
“ Shikha , open this door baby . Hot crispy chips just out of the frying pan reckon you ! Come taste it . “ .
Her mother’s exhuberent , albeit worried voice snapped her back to the present . She felt a pang of remorse stabbing at the back of her heart . She knew she needed help . Can any other person in the whole world understand her in as much depth and perfection as the warm voice which just called out to her ?
Opening the door , Shikha softly let out those heavy words which possessed infinite power to seal the silence they shared for months .
‘ Ma , I need to tell you something .‘