TODAY -

An Untold Relation

Louriyam Bebica *



She met john three years back in their college election. She was campaigning for her friend where as he was voicing for his friend. Their introduction to each other was as wild as second world war.

-"Hey you don't you think you are trying to break the queue? Did you mistake it to be your mom's kitchen where you can push in any time you want?" John pointing his finger, stormed at Mary.

-"Oh! Sorry, did you say anything?" Shaking her head with an irritating mood ,replied him. She try to push in to the voting room again.

-"Miss….whatever. Can't you hear me? "

-"Ah! What the hell you want? Can't you mind your own business? If you don't 've things to do ,plz let me know I will give you the work. Now plz leave me with my business and get lost".

-"Hello, you….it's my business". Holding her hand he claimed.

-"How dare you ?". Pulling back her hand.

-"How dare I ? And how dare you? Do you think I don't know the reason why you are so interested in breaking the queue and jumped over everyone 's head? It's the third times you are trying to push through this queue. Do you think those who are in queue since morning are jobless? They got nothing to do? Don't you know that principal has announced for fair election ?"

-" Plz why you are talking like you are the remaining part of Gandhi ?Its Manipur everything is fair and acceptable . Mind you, you are not a thief until YOU ARE CAOUGHT no matters how many times you steal."

-"So you want me to catch you while stealing? You are not ready to submit yourself until then ?"

-"No, by the way why you are so interested on telling me what is right and wrong to me? "

-"I 've no interest telling you this .The thing is ….the another candidate of general post for what you are busy breaking the queue is my friend " -" Oh ! Oh! There you go……"

Their first meeting was so hot and wild that their friends has to get involve to stop them. They hate each other so much that they swear never to talk to each other.

But faith has another plan for them. After one year of that incident they collide on each other in a SUMMER CAMP held by Kangpokpi church. He was the in charge of his church .She was the warden of St. John's orphanage's kids. They recognized at first sight as expected.

-"You?". Mary uttered showing her un expectation on his presence there.

-"Ah! It's you?" John's reaction on his face was more annoying.

-"Oh dear God ……bless me ."

-"What?"

-"Forget it." She moved ahead .

The camp was supposed to held for five days. It was compulsory for the leaders/ in charge from different church to be in touch and work with understanding. No doubt they were at the peak of their ego but they were man of responsibilities. They know how to keep their personal issue aside and coped up for the sake of those kids.

Those five days were not learning process only for those kids. This camp gave them the chance to linger with each other. Unexpectedly they found that there were so many things they share in common, their view and interest. Both of them like the same dish, music, book, in fact they seem to 've same way of interpretation of the world too. It was on the fifth night of the camp they were leaving by the next day. Mary was sitting all alone at a corner of the ground leaning on that mango tree looking at the moon who was so bright

-" There you are. I 'been looking for you. So tell me how was the camp?'' He sat down to join her .

-"Ah…..I was thinking only about you. This camp taught me a lot about you ". She replied with a smile that he wanted to see.

-"Oh really?"

-"I 'm afraid but I think so."

-"Thank you lady."

-"You well come ".

-"Hey those five days we 've been talking only about those kids. We never get the chance to talk about ourselves .So don't you think it will be fair enough sharing ourselves at this last moment?"

-"Not a bad idea".

-"So will you tell me about yourself?"

-"Humm….where do I begin?"

-"You can start with your name? Your family?"

-"Do you mean to say that you don't even know my name?'

-"Don't give me that look. Of course I do, but it's the way to start a formal introduction right?"

-"Ha-ha ,ok. My name is Mary. These kids are my family."

-"Means?"

-"I 'm an orphan. I was brought up by the same orphan home they are now".

-"Hey I 'm sorry". Holding her hand, he try to comfort her.

-"Don't be sorry. Mother never let me feel that I was an orphan. And now it's my duty to give them the love and care that I received. I can't see them longing of love one on their eyes. I know how does it feels? It is very hard to reason them sometime ,as they are young. Their mind is loaded with questions and curiosity. Whenever they saw their fellow mates with their parents, their little mind began to seek answers to all possible questions 'why they 've mamaa and papa when we don't 've even one of them? Where are our parents?' The common answer I gave them is –'they are in the heaven, they are looking at you every second. So you should always be a good kid.' I sometime pointed blindly at those stars and try to convince them that they are their parents. I know I was wrong but it's the only to wipe their tears.

I found myself totally broke when they requested me to turn into STARS. So that they can go and meet their parents. 'Che make me also I star . I will visit them. I will come back tomorrow early morning. I wanna see them and tell them that I 'm angry for not seeing me . Ah! I will give them a warm hug before I come back. I want to see them so much. Plz che turn me into a star .'There I 'm thrown in a silent of darkness with no words to say". She wiped her tears telling him the story.

-"Hey ,hey ,its alright. Come here. Let me give you a hug". For the first time she cried like a baby under some one's bosom.

-"M alright .Sorry that I spoil the moment. Now tell me about you ." Cleaning her nose.

-"Ah! My dad was then head master of our village's high school. Now he is retire. My mom, she passed away two years back."

-"Sorry about your mom."

-"Its ok. Two years are gone .So now 'm pretty ok."

-"So what is your plan after graduation?"

-" 'M thinking of teaching in our village's school. Only few people are educated .Those who were supposed to be full time teachers from Imphal, we hardly saw them. My father was the first man who passed class ten in the village. I 'm glad that he is so concerned about education. His only dream is to educate every child of the village. That can happen only when the teachers are from our own village."

-"Impressive. So how old is your father?"

-"He is nearly 65 years old. He is still young in Hollywood's calculation but very much old from village's measurement. He toiled under sun and moon. He didn't eat proper diet . The only regular food he has is just rice , boil curry and chutney made by king chilly that help to burn his empty stomach..He said nothing but I know he needs me now. Whatever I 'm today is all bcoz of him and my mom." The sudden mention of MOM seems to freshen the pain of losing her.

-"Oh impressive, 'm sure you will be a tough competitor to your dad as a teacher." She teased him to divert his mind.

-"Mom met her end very early. She was only 43years old when she died."

-"Such a big gap in age? I mean your mom and dad".

-"Yes. My mom was a second wife to my dad. He married her after he lost his first wife."

-"So you 've siblings?"

-"I 've a elder sister. But we don't share a good bonding as she was already married when I grew up".

-"Do you mind telling me what happen to your mom? What kind of disease….."

-"She committed suicide".

-"I 'm sorry." She didn't know how to handle that cold pain that stung on his throat.

-" She was a wonderful woman. But as mother, I couldn't understand her. I had never seen her smiling. I don't know what bothers her that much that she never look up at me too . Whenever she does, she will cry in pain ,the next moment. So I try to keep away myself from her."

-"Why did she behave like that?"

-" That's the question 'm asking myself since my childhood. Once, one of my uncle told me that mom was forced to marry my dad by grandma. We know she was sinking into an unknown pain that she could not share nor forget. I and dad try hard to find the cause of her pain in hope of giving her some relief but… It seems dad lost his hope when she didn't change herself even after I was born. I was the only HOPE they had to change her. They thought she will be alright once she is bless with a baby. None thought her condition will worsen with my coming on this earth. One day when we were having dinner we heard a sound of falling a heavy stuff into our well. When we rushed out to see, we were frighten on what we saw . It was not a THING but MOM who was floating inside . She was not moving herself . Not bcoz she was dead but she doesn't want to be safe .She seems so determine to leave this world. My dad almost fainted seeing her there. Villagers gathered and took her out of the well but she was no more."

The light of sun took place the dwindling sight of the late moon ,they didn't realize how that night flew off.

-"Hey its morning . You shorten my long night into a second ". She teased him again to erase his pain.

-" Oh yes. We need to get back into their rooms. They must be needing us." He stood up looking at the lazy sun that was coming through the leaves of the trees of village's hill.

After the summer camp, they became good friends. She even visited his village with him. She met his dad. He took her to the village's school he was planning to teach. Their relation was going beyond FRIENDSHIP . She often talk to mother about him. She arranged their meeting as frequent as possible so that she can get to know him. One day mother called her into her room.

-"Mother did you call me?"

-"Yes. Come .sit here."

-"Yes mother." She sat down by her side.

-" How do you find John? "

-"Mother !" She pretended to be surprised.

-" It's ok ,you don't need to be surprised. So how do you find him?"

She didn't reply but her smile spoke what was inside her. They eloped after the completion of their graduation. They could not 've holy marriage but his father arranged a small gathering for his villagers on the day she came into his village. After the party, when they came inside his room ,she stopped him all of sudden

-" I wanna say something to you before we start our new world."

-" What is it? "

-" Close your eyes and hug me tight."

-" Alright. Now will you speak?"

-"I grew up without a family. The one thing I 've was only a hope to find a family. When I met you I knew that you are the family I 'm looking for. You make my world complete. With you by my side I will need nothing again. I LOVE YOU and THANKS FOR GIVING ME A FAMILY'.

After one year they had a girl baby. They name her Elia. One morning Mary was washing clothes when the village's post man came to delivered a letter. It was her first letter after she was married. She was happy and nervous to see the sender's postal address. It was from mother…..

"Dear Mary

I 'm sorry that I could not come on the reception your father in law held for your marriage. I hope you can excuse me as you know well of my schedule. I received your letter last week. I 'm happy to know about your baby. Many times I plan to visit you in your village but something or other always stopped me. With the grace of God ,my plan seems to fall on right path this time. We need to visit the village next to yours for a meeting next month. So I decided to drop into your house for a night.

Hope to see you soon my child. You are always in our prayer.

God be with you
"

-" John ,John mother send me a letter she is coming here next month." She ran to him holding the letter in her hand.

-" Mother let me help you with your luggage." She took the luggage from her.

-''Where is John and Elia? What about your father in law".

-"John and Elia went to the market . Father went to visit one of his friend in next locality."

-" Elia is not even four months how can he take her to the market?"

-"I don't know mother that's what I always told him but…" She replied smiling at her.

-" How far is it?"

-" Not so far mother. It's in the next locality only. Plz you don't worry. Try to take rest for a while."

-" I 've enough time to take rest. I 'm just eager to see my granddaughter. How long will they take?" Her eagerness and curiosity was brightly visible to Mary.

-"Mother just sit for a while here. I will bring her recent photos . You can look at them before she comes". She went inside to take the album. She handed it to her with a joy .The first word they uttered at the opening of her album was 'ELIA'. Both of them said the same word but their eyes fall on different photos. Mary 's eyes felt on her lovely daughter where as mother's eye felt on the another photo that was kept on the same page.

-" What Elia's photo is doing here?" Looking at Mary who was standing by her side.

-"Mother?"

-"Elia, the girl I met 23/24 years back. I still remember that day. It was in the month of march. There was a strong storm and rain in that night. Everyone was hiding themselves inside their shelter in fear of the NATURE'S anger. In the middle of that night I heard a voice of a girl weeping loudly as if she no longer has control over her emotion and pain. I prejudged it to be a dream at the beginning.

Later when the storm and rain stop ,her voice became more clear. I woke up from my bed in search of that cry. Without much of the difficulty, I found a young lady crying on the stair case of the front door of our church. I went to her and hold her up. She was afraid of me . She reluctant to tell me what happened? After much effort I was able to convince her to tell me of her pain. There she pour out like a storm we had the same night. She was at her early eighteen years. She came to Imphal for study from her village . For the better convenient , she put up herself in a rented house.

She felt in love with a Brahmin boy who was her classmate and also the son of her rent owner. Their relation came to light when she became pregnant . Her land lady beats and drag her on the street as though she was an animal. To her surprise ,her so call boy friend did nothing to protect her. He stood among them and watch the drama as if he was not a part of what had happened. She wanted to commit suicide but she could not do it as a tiny baby was inside her womb. When I went to her, I know what I was supposed to do. I make her feel that she was secure with us. I could not ask her to abort as I see that she was already so much in love with her unborn baby despite knowing it will disturb her future. And after all children are the gifts of God . How can I question on his gift. She stayed with us for eight months.

We always ask her to write to her family . So that they won't be worried . After what had happened she no longer goes to college. But I made sure that she attends extra class that we held for needy women. One day she met one of her villager in the bazaar. Through her she came to know about her mother who was sick. That night she came to me and said she wanted to visit her village. It was her only wish to see her mother and tell her about her motherhood. She requested me to take care of her baby until she comes back. But I never see her again after that night. Mary this is the woman who brought you in this world. "

-"Mother". Mary does not know what to say when mother ends her story. Now she knew the answer john was looking for YEARS. Now she knew why people always said that they were made for each other as they 've same taste, same like, dislike even look similar. Elia's night's storm seems to wrapped her again .

She try her best to act normal when Elia and John came back home. They were excited telling mother about Elia's new moments as she is growing up. So hardly people notice Mary's disturb mind. The dinner was serve in the way John wanted-all their traditional dishes were cook specially for mother. After short conversation with mother, all of them went to bed. The only two souls who couldn't catch sleep were mother and Mary. Both of them were laying down on bed in different rooms but their heart beats seems to be speaking to each other.

Mary sat at the corner of their bed for hours. Tears fall on while watching John and Elia sleeping. She bend down to kiss them on their forehead for the last time. She knew that she has to do it. She left a note under John's pillow. She turn back wiping her tears while slashing the door.

"Hey John,

You always complained me that 'm with lots of suspense. Here I 'm with another suspense for you. But this time, you should promise me that you will never solve it unlike those past suspense. I know you will keep my word as you love me so. You are still too young to spend rest of your life single. Only today I learn that you lied to me of your age ha-ha. I 'm two years elder to you. Right ? John promise me that you will remarry again with someone who will love Elia the way I do. Humm ….and Elia, whenever she ask about me or miss me, chose the most brightest star on the sky and tell her it's her mom. Tell her, her mom loves her more than anything in this world. As I told you earlier this physical world might bring an end to us but not the world that waits beyond this world. I know you will be strong . I know you will keep your words of doing anything to keep Elia happy. Hey do you know that I love you? I love you.

With love
< Your Mary
"


* Louriyam Bebica wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a Ph.D. Student In Tezpur University , Assam and can be contacted at bebicalouriyam708(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on March 23 , 2013



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