Mummy, I am sorry.

She was my mother. My mom would agree. Her children wouldn’t deny it. She loved me as much as she loved her own children. Her children would disagree. Sometimes she loved me more than her own children. I hadn’t called her in almost two months. I hadn’t seen her in nearly six months.

Today morning 6:50 am everything changed. My phone rang. I woke up groggily and saw it was her son calling. I answered. “Mummy died at Tata Hospital”. I was too shocked to say anything. He was crying. I still didn’t say anything. He understood. The line got disconnected.

I called up Dad. Even he had no idea that she was in Mumbai for treatment. I wonder how Mom dealt with the loss of her younger sister. She was just 50. I went to shower. Half an hour I sat there unable to think or do anything. And then I did something I had totally forgotten, something I had made myself believe that I was incapable of. I cried. I remembered her and I cried.

After shower I left for the hospital. Completely numb. I have no recollection of when I reached the station, bought ticket and got in to the train. All I could do was remember. Her face and her voice. As clear as if I had just met her last night. How could I forget her, my mother.

I grew up calling her Mummy. After all isn’t that what you call your mother? I remember all those trips to Varanasi in summers and playing with her children. She has 2 daughters and a son. The youngest one is younger to me by 13 days. She was always teasing me that I should call her Didi too as I wasn’t supposed to be born in September. I was born nearly two months premature to beat her to it. Then they moved to Lucknow.

After that pretty much every other weekend was spent at her place. I loved the dry chicken she cooked and she loved to cook it for me. If I was at her place she would make sure I got to eat it. After I left for US, my cousins used to complain that she stopped cooking it. I thought they were kidding but when I came back I realized it was true. And she started cooking it again but only when I was there. Soon after I moved to Mumbai, her Son did too. Every time she would come visit him she would call me over and cook that chicken for me. Couple of times she came to my apartment and cooked it for me too.

Last time I talked to her she asked me when I was coming home as she was unable to come to Mumbai as she was not well. Like always I said Diwali. Just like I have been telling my parents for 3rd year now. I didn’t call her in nearly two months. She was in Mumbai in ICU for last one week and I didn’t know. They were expecting her to recover and get out of ICU and then they planned to let me know. She didn’t want me to get worried. It cost me my last chance to see her or hear her voice.
I reached the hospital. I saw familiar faces. But I didn’t cry. I saw her elder daughter and her husband. I was still strong. Then I met her son, my elder brother, and that’s when my mask started to crack. I had trouble blinking them away. Then I met her youngest daughter sitting on the stairs. I sat next to her and we both cried. Cried for our mother, who loved us both equally, as for her we were her twins born 13 days apart.

We got the body released and took it down as we had to take it to JJ hospital for embalming. I still hadn’t seen her face as she was now covered in a white cloth, tied up with ropes as if she was not my mother but something else. Once down I was left alone with the body till other things were sorted out. Alone with her finally, I talked to her. I said sorry. That’s all I could say. Again and again. Hoping she would forgive me, and I know she will. But will I? Soon they all came down and they revealed the face so we could confirm it was the right body. I couldn’t look. I stayed away. Still refusing to believe in was her in that sheet.

We reached JJ. They took the body in while we waited outside. Standing in the verandah, her son went in to look at what was going on handing me some papers. I unfolded them as read them. Three copies of her death certificate. I read them again and again and again. The paper kept telling me what I had refused to believe till now. She had died. And I started crying again. Suddenly weather got stormy. It was got windy and started raining heavily. But the storm within was stronger. I was finally on terms with reality. She was no more. I would never ever see her again or hear voice again. Embalming done, they were about to seal the coffin when her son called me in. It was my last chance to see her face before they sealed the coffin. Having accepted the truth I looked at her, lying there peacefully. How I wished she was just sleeping. The coffin was sealed and with it my memories of her.

We took the body to airport and got it cleared in the cargo section and headed to the airport. There I finally met Papa, her husband. I didn’t say a word. I just touched his feet and withdrew. Unable to face him. The guilt was killing me. Too afraid to look in to his eyes which would have asked me questions I had no answer for. Soon they all went it. I was left behind. They are cremating her tomorrow morning at 11. I won’t be there. I can’t be there. There is always some excuse. I have work. The same excuse I have been using to run away from everything and everyone. From those I love and from those who love me.


40 thoughts on “Mummy, I am sorry.

  • Anonymous

    I won’t deny that its easy… at times I still cry for my mother, My Dadi… whom I loved more than my mother… When I heard about her death… i was shattered. I was far away and also in the middle of school…work… everything.. yet..I used up all my savings and bit of my tuition money to make that trip to India. I was definately not easy seeing her… I refused to even enter my home and didn’t let her go… yet… at times we have to strong to bid them our farewell…

    She will understand if you don’t go… but at the same time… she will also would want you to be there for her and for her family.

    I believe there are certain miles stones we need to go through in Life and this one of them….

    I don’t want to be pushy…but I have been in these shoes before… and so ….All I want to say is that Don’t wear your running shoes this time.

    Take Care,
    NM

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Manik,
    I am really sorry about this. Dont know what to say. Just that I understand it can be a difficult time, but dont run away anymore. Stop, breath and be with the people you love and those precious few who really love you. I hope you go and say your goodbye’s tommorow to her.
    Take care
    Tulika

    Reply
  • Sree

    Sorry for your loss,Che.Please dont feel guilty.We know death is the only thing beyond us.Those left behind to life should learn to move on I guess.Be well.

    Reply
  • Che

    @Still:

    Thanks dear.

    Deepali:

    I was really sad but then I realised there were people facing worse things in life. Look at the bomb blast victims. Many of their families dont even have a body to claim.

    @Anonymous NM:

    I would have gone if I could, but there are certain responsibilities towards work you just cant ignore. The CD and AD are not at work for 3 days and I need to be there for the same reason. But thanks for your story. Makes me realise how my pain is nothing compared to what others are going through in their life and most of them dont have time to complain like me.

    PS: I thought really hard but I couldnt recall anyone with initials NM that I know…

    @V:

    Thanks man. For now I am trying not to think at all.

    @TJ:

    Too late. the cremation was at 11 and I was in office by then. But thanks dear. I hope I will be seeing you soon.

    @Bubbly:

    thank you dear. I am already back on my feet and annoying preeti already.

    @sree:

    I am moved on. tell me what to click!

    @QI:

    Thanks man. I guess this was a reality check that made me look at life in a different and more important perspective.

    Reply
  • Zubin

    Hey bro..I know what it feels like, the guilt as well…
    Your whole post reminds me of the reason, I resorted on blogging 6 months back…
    Its good that you decided to share it here…the guilt multiplies if kept inside…

    Those who love us..will always understand…even when they are not with us..

    Reply
  • Che

    @Mystique:

    no no you take care of me. take me out for Wall-E and i might just get back to normal!

    @smita:

    thanks for your kind words. I am forcing myself to recover my trying to be as abnormal as i usually am.

    Reply
  • Neeku

    Miss. Pretty helped me to find a wonderful NGO/NPO for me… co-incidently we happened to be in same field of work… (at least me for now….) … so all is great…

    and NM are my initials … just didn’t want to …

    Reply
  • Che

    @neeku:

    thats great! Good to know she isnt totally useless 😀

    Ah! the myustery is resolved and my inquisitive mind can rest now. But thanks for those wonderful words again.

    Reply
  • Che

    @sree:

    I guess someone bought it and is using it to hawk fake purses?

    Hmm yea the collage. Ill see what I can conjure out. I have one made of women who were in my life at one point but dont think thats gonna cut it 😉

    Reply
  • Che

    @AV:

    Thanks. I am learning to get over it.

    @Still:

    Been busy with new pitches all day. Still at work and cant see a way out before midnight 🙁

    Reply
  • Che

    @av:

    aw crap. I brought it upon myself didnt I?

    well i cant post it right away. In the middle of my mini series you see. This postis an exception I had to make. But promise I will put it up soon 🙂

    Reply
  • satan' queen

    People who love you, always forgive you. Don’t kick yourself for something that you can not change. I have been in your situation. It doesn’t get better if you consciously don’t make an effort to forgive yourself. You love her and she knows it. Go on with life. Certain things never make sense so point in dissecting them. May god bless you with the strength to carry on with a light heart.

    I am sawe if I was sorta lecturing…I was in a similar state when my god decided to steal my dad away. So I know that nothing helps…just carry the fond memories in your heart and move on.

    Reply

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