Bilal Handoo


Last year on Mother’s Day, Tabasum’s face was beaming with smile. Her younger sibling, Murassa was too cheerful. 365 days after, the day has returned—but, none of two siblings is smiling. Their joy—their mother, is just a memory now. One month ago, a cancer consumed her. Her departure left her daughter-duo in the whirlpool of an unending mourning spell.

Previous night was haunting. May was unusually chilling. And the moonshine had a night off. In that murky moment, longing for mother had stirred up mourning. Both siblings had cried their heart out. Somehow, a reality check had dawned in the dark: nothing akin to last year would be there tomorrow. While sobbing on the porch of her home, Tabassum had a rendezvous with her devastating nightmare, that too, in sleepless state:

“Mother, I no longer have a surprise for you, for the day, I cherished the most.”

Night was no cradle to her pain. And that escalating sense of lose… She had once asked her mother, “Why do humans make much of their lose?” The mother had smiled, before answering: “Sweetheart, we don’t cry for mortals; we cry for our departing hopes, dreams and love linked with the deceased.”

Mother’s words were echoing loud and clear that night. And those lovely words: “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You are the best Mom in the world.” And that compassionate reply of her beloved mother: “Thank you, my angel.” All these words had stalled. And the very feeling was piercing her heart deep.

The ground floor of their home was housing another mourner of the night, her younger sibling, Murassa. Early in the day at school, her friend Ruqaya had mistakenly asked her: “What is your surprise for your mother tomorrow.” The very remark had almost killed her. Though her friend soon corrected herself and apologized, but till then, the mourner inside her had resurrected.

After school, she had skipped the bus—only, to isolate herself from the crowd. She walked a distance of 12 miles from her school to home. And throughout the way, she kept searching the lost shadow of her mother among scores on streets. “Mama, Mama…” she kept whispering to herself, like an insane. “Where are you? Please, come back. I am feeling so lonely without you. Mama, I promise, I would become a good daughter. I will never bother you again. Please, come back.” She kept whispering, insisting and wishing while walking on the street and shedding that sad stream from her eyes.

At Hawal Srinagar, one lady caught her in the middle of her mourning. Out of the crowd, she cut short her walk and hugged her like her own daughter. She comforted her and took her to her home nearby and made her drink a glass of milk. But Murassa’s sobbing had no hiatus.

“Tell me my child, what is wrong, please tell me?” the lady asked.

But Murassa had no answers. After much of the insistence, she finally spoke out: “I am terribly missing my mother.” The lady hugged her tight and tried to step into her mother’s shoes. But nothing seemed to console.

After a while, she resumed her walk back to home amid the vehicular din on streets. She was the only lost soul walking on the street that day. At Gojwara, she was almost hit by the bike. “Are you nuts,” the biker shouted at her. “Can’t you walk with senses?” The biker’s retort further deepened her sorrow. She walked on and remembered how her mother would act her shield on streets.

Two years back, while doing Eid shopping in Jamia Masjid Market with her mother, some biker had accidently hit her leg. Her mother couldn’t withstand it and slapped hard on the biker’s face for hurting her daughter. And the other time, her teacher back in school had slapped her. The next day, her mother had forced the school authorities to tender an unconditional apology.

All these memories were rushing through.

“Look, my children,” their visiting aunt told them on Mother’s Day. “Your mother is there in heaven. Don’t feel so bad. We all have a temporary stay in this world. We will all meet again in the world which is everlasting and above any loss.”

The every word spoken by their aunt was indeed making a sense—but, it was just that: they had lost something, which no human wisdom can ever ebb away, the lost of one’s mother!


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