Mona was astonished by the sound of her mother’s laughter. She could hear it from inside the last room of the house while her mother laughed away in the front yard as if there is no tomorrow.
‘Do you hear that? Mumma IS acting weird,’ said Mona to her husband Rohit.
‘It’s just your imagination. Mumma always laughs like this, with abandon. You should too instead of being a grumpy old woman,’ said her husband Rohit.
He adjusted his glasses and walked out to the front yard. The older woman was engrossed in playing with her grandson. Both were in fits of laughter trying to catch each other.
There was nothing amiss, he decided.
Later in the evening, as they were getting ready to go to the temple, Mother asked to borrow a sari from Mona.
Aghast, she pointed out ‘Mumma never wears borrowed clothes.’
A similar event was repeated the next day. Mother insisted on visiting the kudumba kshetram (family temple), a journey of over 250 km.
‘She even insisted on visiting her childhood home. Of course, it was no longer ‘hers’ but she wanted to have a look at it. Isn’t that weird?,’ whispered Mona.
Finally, Mona asked her mother, ‘Are you okay?’
‘Why? What could happen to me?’ asked Mother.
‘All this back to roots business you are doing,’ Mona continued.
‘I am getting older and there is not much time. You should also loosen up a bit. All that unnecessary worrying will do you no good. Get outside more. Enjoy your life. ‘
‘Yeah and who will run the house?’ she shot back.
The nights were even more dramatic. Mother had started to tell stories to her grandson. Not the bookish ones. Mona had heard them in her childhood. It was about the fair girl and dark girl, about the fox and the hen and many more. She was an expert in telling mythological and supernatural stories of her local Gods.
‘We will have a tough time when we get back. Who will tell him stories? Not me,’ Mona said to Rohit at bedtime.
Half-asleep Rohit indulged his wife and let her ramble about her mother. But, he never felt anything amiss. Isn’t that what all grandmothers do? Pamper the grandchildren, do to them what she could not do for her children.
When it was time to leave, the child threw a tantrum. He rolled on the floor and got his clothes muddy and insisted on not leaving granny.
Rohit had to promise a complete set of action heroes to get him to leave.
It was exactly three days after they got back home and into routine, when the phone call came.
Mona picked up the phone. She listened and kept the phone back. In a dry voice she said, ‘Mumma is no more. She knew. All those weird things….’ she broke down.
Short story written for FridayReflections for the prompt –
Write a post using this quote as an inspiration or within your post: “Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary” – Brene Brown