‘Have you kept all documents’, asked Hemangi
‘Yes Ma’, answered Radhika
‘Yes Ma’, answered Radhika
And it went on until they arrived at the airport.
Radhika was Arvind and Hemangi’s youngest child and she was going to the US of A for pursuing her MS, Their elder child Prithvi was in Bangalore, an engineer working for an IT firm.
Finally Radhika moved out of sight. Arvind and Hemangi spent some minutes looking towards the path she had gone and later moved to their taxi.
Life returned to normal. Arvind would go to work. While Hemangi would go to hers, she worked for an NGO teaching children of the downtrodden.
But there was a melancholy silence at home. Hemangi looked as if she was in another world. Rarely smiling or eating, moving from room to room.
Until Arvind couldn’t tolerate any longer. ‘Hemangi, it was bound to be one day’,.
‘Huh, what?’, asked Hemangi
‘Children grow up and leave their homes to go somewhere else and spread their wings, we cannot mourn like this forever. We have to move forward. And we are so fortunate, Radhika calls us everyday, Prithvi comes home for every long holiday, our children care for us; what else do we need’, said Arvind
‘Yes, yes’, mumbled Hemangi
‘I know it is the empty nest syndrome but carry on. You are so busy with your social service then why are you so upset’, asked Arvind and continued, ‘ when Prithvi had left home you had taken months to come out of your reverie. Why Hemangi?’.
Two drops of tears fell down the eyes of Hemangi and in a trembling voice she asked, ‘If I say this is nothing to do with either Prithvi or Radhika going away from home, then what will you say Arvind’, she asked.
‘Huh ‘, was all that Arvind could say.
‘If I tell the truth Arvind you may hate me forever’ said Hemangi
Arvind looked on in silence
‘You remember Arvind we had briefly separated just months into our marriage’, asked Hemangi
‘Of course I do, it was the most traumatic time of my life. I knew that you were the right choice for me but we had so many differences and I didn’t know how to bridge those differences’, said Arvind
‘yes and then I had come to know that your mother was looking for another alliance for you and I was shocked. I couldn’t accept that though you had made sweet promises to me, you were going ahead to marry another’, said Hemangi.
‘And all the time, I didn’t even know what my mother was planning and then when I came to know, I had come running to you and then we started anew’, said a beaming Arvind.
‘But meanwhild something major had happened Arvind’, said a sobbing Hemangi.
‘What?’, asked Arvind
‘I was pregnant Arvind that time. But when I heard about your mother searching for a girl. I became mad in anger and aborted the pregnancy’. Arvind sat down in shock. Hemangi continued, ‘ When I see Radhika and Prithvi I wonder what would my eldest child do, how he/she would look…..’
Arvind got up and left.
Hemangi collapsed on the floor……
The loud ring of the mobile woke her up, she slowly got up and picked it up, it was Prithvi, ‘Ma what happened I have been calling continuously either you or Papa but both of you didn’t pick your phones. What happened?’
‘My phone was on silent mode and it was in my purse, so I couldn’t hear it ring’, she lied.
‘And where is Papa?’, he asked.
He has gone out to get some provisions’, she lied again
‘You know I was so afraid that something bad had happened, Prithvi said.
They spoke for sometime and then disconnected.
Hemangi sar down heavily. 25 years she had kept mum. But this secret had been killing her. Every day she had cursed herself. Whenever she had seen Radhika and Prithvi; she remembered her eldest. Was it a boy or a girl, would he be good in studies; a million questions used to cross her mind and every time she would be submerged in guilt. But now she could not take it any longer…she had to confess.
Night fell but she sat quiet…she didn’t know what turn life would take now.
Suddenly the door opened, ‘Hemangi why are uou sitting in darkness’, it was Arvind and then he switched on the light.
‘Arvind you came back’, she said.
‘Of course, where else will I go’, he asked
‘I thought you will leave me….’ she said
‘I was angry. And what you did was wrong Hemangi. You could have spoken to me but you just went and aborted. But then what has happened cannot be undone. And for that mistake I cannot forget what all you have done for us’, said Arvind.
Hemangi started sobbing hysterically.
Arvind held her.
‘Let bygones be bygones Hemangi, move on. Forgive yourself. Make a new start. Your guilt is not going to change anything. The only course now is to forgive and move on’
Forgiving and forgetting both are not easy. Forgiving others may be plausible but forgiving self is much difficult. In the Bhagavad Gita forgiveness is classified as one of the transcendental qualities
tejah ksama dhrtih saucam
bhavanti sampadam daivim
Translation- Vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor-these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature. (BG 16.3)
We may be more tolerant and forgiving towards others but with self we are often very strict forgetting that ultimately we are humans and are bound to make mistakes.
** This post is not to endorse or justify abortion in any way but it is mentioned just to show how we are often unforgiving to ourselves.
I am writing bravely for the write tribe festival of words-March 2019. Today’s prompt being ‘forgive’