I started writing to Ma a few weeks before she left us. There was so much to say to her but I had no strength. When I was younger, Ma got me a new diary and a pen. She encouraged me to write my thoughts daily. And that’s exactly what I did — pouring out my love, anger and fears into my diary. This was a letter I wrote to Ma 4 days before she went away! Ma was hopeful and talking about wearing new clothes, doing up the new home. We knew that was not meant to be. I was out of home when I penned this letter. And 15 minutes after I finished writing it, wiping my tears, I got a call from bua. Ma was restless and perhaps, stepping towards the “new journey”. It was as if she had read my letter and was doing what I had asked her to do! Humans connect in the strangest of the ways!
June 24, 2015
Dear Meethi Ma
You are the most beautiful person I know, that goes without saying. It is an honour and a challenge to be your daughter. But I promise I will continue to try my best.
Cancer has taken over your body. I know you miss getting up at 4 and running around to complete the morning chores before anyone else wakes up. I know you miss making those finger-licking besan ladoo and those irresistible rajma. We also miss them a lot. More than that we miss you jumping around from kitchen to the room back to the kitchen, calling out to us.
What I would give to have you call out to dad and me to the dining table. But we will be as stubborn as we always are. We will make you call us at least 5 times before we stop doing what we were doing and start walking. And then dad would all of a sudden have the urge to relive himself. Bua would get a call and she would sneak in a corner. And you would be left huffing and puffing at the table. But that is that. Today times are different. You have done your bit and it is our turn to carry forward your legacy.
Mom, there is so much I want to talk to you. So much I want to tell you. But with each passing day as you fade I realise how small and insignificant words can become. Hence all I do in hold your hand. As softly as possible. I also touch your forehead a lot. As a kid when I was sick you used to do that to me and I would feel comfortable. Do you get the same feeling?
I know papa forces you to eat. That irritates you. That is his way of saying I love you. Every time he asks you to have coconut water or fruit or one more bite I feel he is saying I LOVE YOU RITU. I know these days you guys have been holding hands often. Just the way dad fears losing you, you fear losing him. I know you are worried for him. You are concerned about his health and well being. I am there ma. Together with Nitish, I will look after papa. But let me tell you over the years you have made him strong. Remember how you and I used to worry how papa will take to his post retirement days? He will play the piano. He will cycle. He will, perhaps, paint a portrait of you on the blank canvas which has been kept in my room for eternity.
We will also take care of bua. I know dadi asked you to take care of her years back in sundernagar. We promise we will accompany her to all her hospital visits. And be regular in all her blood tests. We will also be with her when she over works herself getting vegetables from her best friends in the vegetable market.
I am sorry mom. Your dream house could not be ready in time. But I will leave no stone unturned to make it reflect of you. Your room will have blue curtains. And just the way you wanted, the balcony will be green with plants and grass. There will be two chairs and a table with a tray. On the tray will be two cups and a tea pot covered in teacozy that you have kept in your bedbox for years.
You are tired mom. Please choose to rest. The Angels in the heaven need you. I promise to be a good daughter, daughter in law and a wife. I promise to keep the family traditions going. I promise to keep us a family.
When you are gone, I will miss your good morning messages. They kickstarted my day with a smile. But I know you will be with me, with all of us. Always!
Choose peace ma! We are with you!