THE LOST DAUGHTER
Sharda was flipping through the photo album. It had been so many years back when Neeti’s first birthday was celebrated. All the relatives, friends and neighbours were invited. The excitement in Neeti’s eyes still had the power to take Sharda back down the memory lane by just a look at that photograph. “The way Neeti was excited to see her birthday cake and was trying to touch it had brought a smiles on the faces of all the guests. It seems like yesterday when she started going to college and see how time flies. She is married now.” Sharda thought. “I had never expected that my 1 year old Neeti would say Thank you to the guests who gave her gifts. She had surprised everyone by speaking her first clear word that day.” Sharda smiled as that day’s visuals were still clear in her mind. How could she forget that day too? After all, it was her daughter’s first birthday.
Sharda flipped the photographs and came across Neeti’s photograph with her friends at college hostel. “See the way she is smiling in this photograph. She enjoyed so much with her friends in the hostel and used to tell me all her hostel adventures chirpily. But it was exactly the opposite when I left her there for studies after her 12th class. The way she was weeping and was asking me to take her home still moves me from within. I was so unsure if she would adjust to hostel life. But she proved me wrong and adjusted there so well. The same way she has adjusted so well to her life after marriage. Now, she is taking care of her job, her husband and her kid all on her own.” Sharda was proud of her daughter but also there sadness to be away from her.
“Why did she grow up so fast? She has become a wife, a mother and many more relations have been added to her life. She is so busy in her life and hardly gets time to talk. Have I lost my daughter in the process? Have other relationships taken my place in her life? Does she still love me?” Sharda thought with wet eyes. She was missing Neeti so badly today. All the memories had flashed in front of her eyes. All she wanted right now was to have Neeti in front of her, the way she used to come running in her arms for the magic hug when she was a kid. “I find so much peace in this embrace maa.” Neeti always said.
With a heavy heart Sharda got up for the daily chores and left the photo album aside.
The faint phone ring of the mobile phone from the other room caught her attention.
Sharda went there and picked up the call. It was Neeti. “Maa, I had forgot the recipe to cook Dum Alloo. Please tell me naa. Some guests are coming today.” She said.
Sharda told her the recipe.
“And yes maa, the kids are having their vacations starting from next month. I am planning to visit you this time. It has been a year we have met. I miss you so much maa” Neeti said.
“Come soon beta. I too miss you a lot” Sharda said hiding the sadness in her voice.
“Yes mom. I will get the tickets booked today. Ok now, I have to go and cook food for the guests. Bye Maa.. Love you.” Neeti said disconnecting the call.
Sharda felt like her secret wish coming true. She smiled and thought “She is still my young Neeti who always needs me. I was feeling so emotional right now and wanted to talk to Neeti badly. But then I thought she must be busy and I dropped the idea. But see the telepathic connection that we both have. How I can ever lose her? How can I lose my own daughter who is a part of me? I am the one whom she remembers the very first moment when she needs help, is sick or sad. She has this assurance that her mother is always there with her. Then why do I need this assurance that she loves me?”
Sharda felt like she had found her daughter again. She had realized that this was a bond of unconditional love which could never break. She was so happy and had already started making plans for Neeti’s visit in her mind.
-Rooprashi (Author of “The Girl Who Saw It All”)
PC: Anukampa Sharma (@astralrover_)