Mother called me

Mother called me yesterday. She does it always. As always, we talked about things that are there like her hands under whose skin she says something runs or the cold that is more than it was last year. ‘It is the old age running under your skin, mother,” I said. A burst of crackling laughter came across, from hundreds of miles away.

She has always maintained the sense of humour she has.

When I was eleven and I’d fight with my sister, mother

Would say, “See, in 11 years you’ll be 22.”

When I was twenty-two I fought with myself, said I wasn’t prepared for the world, said the world was cold and I wanted warmth, said I wanted something else. Mother said, “Son, this is all that the world has, all that you can have.” “You are at the flip side, mother,” I protested. “Listen, in three years you’ll be twenty-five.”

My mother always pushed deadlines for me thinking I was still her boy. What did she want when she said I would be 22–25? Whatever she meant, I got what I wanted — comfort.

I am 25 now and mother called me yesterday. I was still fighting against myself… my job is a louse, the cold is unbearable, maybe I should go for studies or do biology, here my brain is sinking. My mother listened to my ranting. There was a silence in her voice, “Son, maybe you must find someone.” “That is not what I am looking for, mother, that is not it.”

“Listen, in three years I will be 75,” my mother said.