Her morning chores though not much were finished, she didn't have much work as she was an independent middle aged women living all by herself and this many years of practice made her perform it monotonously and mechanically faster.
It was her favorite hour now, the tea time, monsoon rain was beating lethargically on the half opened window sill, and she sat next to it, with her freshly brewed coffee, spying her neighbours little garden of lovely roses drenched with rain. The sight soothed her so much that it has been her routine for many years to sit along the window side, and watch the plants evolve through different season...
Her serene solitude was lost by a call in bell. She was startled, that was weird, she never gets visitors that too on a stormy day with doubt she opened the door, the first thing that greeted her were few rain drops, the floor was getting drenched, she half closed the door and stood with only her face peering out. The house owner never fixed the porch and so it was hard for anyone to stand there, in normal days they face the direct sun, and in days like these they were taking a second shower.
She looked up to see a boy or per say a gentle man in his early twenties.. he was trying in vain with one hand to stoop the rain falling in his head and in other held a book. He smiled at her to which she gave him a questioning glance..
“Hi Madam, can I speak to Nithi?” he enquired, while still trying hard to protect himself from the falling rain.
Her eyes brightened, now she knows why the lad was there, “No.. she vacated from here last month.” so saying she closed the door.
Nithi was her paying guest for the past 4 years, and never brought a guest, occasionally some friends drop by, but she couldn’t remember the face of this lad. A thunder and few lightning shook her as she sat down to enjoy her coffee.
Again a bell...she opened the door, the boy was still standing there almost fully drenched now.
“Aunty, sorry to bother you.. but can I get her contact details?”
“Sorry.. I don’t have any.. “ again a blunt reply, but this time she didn’t close the door, it was left opened, the boy took it as an invitation and walked in, before she could stop.
“Thanks a lot aunty, I wont bother you, I will go off as soon as the rain reduces..” he said or rather pleaded to her. Thought irritated at first, her motherly nature gave way, and she felt sad for the lad. Giving him a towel to dry off his head, she walked away. With a thank you, he took it. He spoke after drying his face, “My name is Vishal. yours?” She raised her one hand to her head as a gesture to dry his hair. Ignoring his question, she moved off to her coffee table, where the rain drops somehow found a way in, and diluted her coffee.
He spoke, “never mind aunty, dad always says that, we shouldn’t call elders by name, I will call you aunty, but in corporate world, they call names even to people of fathers or grandfathers age.. Weird right I have to get used to it, by next year I will be working” he finished proudly drying his head.
She smiled at his innocent speech and went into the kitchen with her untouched coffee, coming back with 2 cups of hot coffee and few biscuits she kept it in the table, enquiring, “You are not Nithi’s class mate, right? She has completed her studies. How do you know her and what do you want?”.He smiled and said, “Normally I would say, I came to collect some book from my senior, (Wink) but Aunty, I don’t feel like lying to you, We are in love aunty, me and Nithi, we had a small fight and she didn’t pick my calls after that, it was very difficult to find this place, and finally when I managed to find and come, poof she is gone..”.. he sighed..
“Isn’t she older than you?”
He laughed, “You are just like my dad, he would say the same thing, but I know he would agree..” saying so, he dipped a biscuit in coffee and ate. "Do you like her aunty"
With a smile she asked, “Yes I do, she is very lively and cheerful, How about your mother will she approve?”
“No aunty, my mother is not with us, soon after I was born, we lost her.. but dad said she loved me so much, I guess I am not that lucky to be with her..”
“So you really don’t know where she has gone Aunty?”
She started liking the boy from the moment he stepped in, he seem to be genuine and good, she also felt herself elated, at his childish speech and silly talks, hearing about his mother, she felt the need to console him. But such feeling were suppressed for a long time and so felt weird in her head, she didn’t know how to soothe him.. In pretendence to clear the cups, she went to the kitchen. When she came back he seem to have composed himself, and was standing near the TV, admiring the photo of herself and Nithi. She smiled, and assured him that if at all she meets Nithi she will talk to her about this little Vishal. He smiled and enquired again in a suspicious way,
She burst out and laughed merrily, genuine laughter again, after a long time.
By this time the rain almost stopped. He said, “Ok aunty, I guess its time for me to go, the rain seem to have reduced, thanks a lot.. bye” She didn't know what she felt, but got restless and said, "No see, you cant drive now..! why dont you wait for some more time..?"
Taken aback by this change in her, he looked out for a moment, and stood watching the slow falling rain for some time then as in a trance nodded his approval and sat down. But soon came back to his bubbly nature and commented "Oh aunty, now you like me, I hope you wont throw me out of the house soon, I can be troublesome." she smiled overwhelmed with affection. In her eyes he looked like a ten year old, and so what ever he said amused her.
They had a lovely conversation for one hour, it was more of a monologue, he spoke and she listened, he spoke about his studies, how he met Nithi, his father, his love of music and so on, she spoke very little about her time pass, hobbies and life. As the sky cleared he bade her farewell and walked away. She liked Vishal a lot, a motherly affection to his childish talks and animated actions.
She gave a gentle hug as he walked towards the bike, though the rain has not stopped, it was passable. She had no excuses to make him stay longer, she dint know why, but she wanted him to stay and chat more, she never welcomed any interaction with any one for a long time, even Nithi was not an excuse but this kid was different. She closed the door and walked back to her empty life again.
Ding dong.. her doorbell rang again, with excitement she opened the door to see Vishal standing there.
“Aunty, I forgot to give this, please give this to Nithi, if at all she comes back..” he handed her a book, and bent down to get her blessing and walked away.
After few steps he reluctantly stopped and said, “Also convey million thanks to Nithi.. tell her that I found my mother, tell her that I am proud of my mother..and that I love you mother!” with tears he finished and before she could speak drove off in his bike.
She stood there shell shocked, tears running down her eyes, she looked down at the book he gave, opened it, inside was a photo of her long separated husband and son. Behind the photo were few words written in hurry, smudged with rain drops, “Mother.. I love you and so does dad.. he never hated you.. today would be the best day in my life, PS – I have taken your photo from that TV stand, if you wish, replace this one in there.. yours Vishal..”
She would never get her life back, she didn't dissect the truth, she did not want to get her son back, but she was very happy that he found her and he seem to have understood her, that was what she wanted. Within ten minutes she was calm as usual..
But as she sat in her favorite spot that evening with her coffee she was not spying the garden, she had something else now to watch and admire with love..