As soon as I came back to the hostel, I went to the bank to withdraw some money.
I had 165 Rs in my account and I withdrew 100Rs.
I had to send the money to Amma, but how?
I didn’t have time to go back home and give her the money. I had lots of assignments to submit before the end of the week or I won’t be allowed to write the internals.
Unlike the first year MBBS, I was really enjoying the subjects taught in the second year. I enjoyed Pharmacology and microbiology( not so much Pathology)
It was exciting to see how microbes work and how the drugs work!
I scored the highest mark for all the pharmacology exams and I knew I might get the Gold medal for scoring the highest mark next year. I wanted to win that and I knew I could, if I worked hard.
May be I should send a money order for Amma. But that would take at least 7 to 10 days. I decided to post the money to Amma
I tore a sheet of paper from my record book and started to write a letter
I didn’t know what else to write. The words and the sentences were stuck some where in my brain and they refused to flow out through my pen. Communication gap! That is what it is called. I told myself.
Then I remembered something and I write
Dear Amma, I am in the well and hope you are in the well too. Please use the money to buy groceries
I knew Amma would laugh her heart out when she sees my letter. She knew ‘in the well’ story. She was the one who told us that story about how her classmate wrote the first letter home in English.
The record book was almost foolscap size and the letter looked so naked without any words in it. Why is it so hard to write a letter to ones own mother? I didn’t know the answer.
I drew a big heart in the middle of the letter. I wanted Amma to know how much I love her. I wondered if my mother knew how much I love her?
I didn’t know why, but Amma always felt Maria and my sisters love her more than I do and I keep trying to tell her, that isn’t true. But I was never successful, why? Why does Amma love Maria more, when she doesn’t do anything? Why doesn’t Amma love me 1/10 of the love she gives Maria, when I am the one who does everything for her? Why? Why? Why?
The injustices that I had to face made me so angry. I didn’t even want to post the letter
But the sensible one asked
“So what is the difference between you and Maria?”
‘Nothing’ I mumbled
I placed the money inside the paper, folded it well, so no one would notice the money inside, placed it inside the envelope and walked towards the mailbox to post it.
The dresses for Lisa and the school fees for Sally was at the back of my head, like the Oru Kudayum Kunjupengalum story, but so was the shiny gold medal for Highest mark in Pharmacology.
May be it was the greed for the gold medal, or may be it was the knowledge that there was no way I could get 12, 000 Rs that made me forget about my family.
I was busy doing my Pharmacology assignment when I received the phone call from Beautiful Eyes
In my heart
But the thing with guilt is, how much ever you try to ignore it, you feel it gnawing your conscience every once in a while and finally you just do things you never thought you would do and that made me phone my father and tell him that he is the best father in the whole wide world
As I sat in the canteen, I couldn’t really believe that my father has agreed to let me visit him. I wasn’t expecting him to. I only called him to get rid of my guilty feelings. I just wanted to be able to say to Liza and Sally that I tried everything, including calling up Appa and nothing worked. I was just hoping to wash my hands off like Maria did.
What am I going to do? There was no way I could miss the exam. My college send the internal marks to the University. I regretted lying to Appa that I have holidays next week. I should have thought first before talking. Now I can’t go and tell Appa that I have exams week after next. Besides Sally’s fees had to be paid as soon as possible.
I drank my tea quickly. I had to go back to the hostel and start preparing for the exam.
Aparna was sitting on her bed when I entered the room
“Nina, where did you go? I was looking for you everywhere. Your father called”
“When?” I asked her
“Few minutes ago”
“What did he say?”
“He wants you to call him back immediately”
I knew why Methran Thambi’s son wanted me to call him up. He would have discussed my trip with his illegal half and decided that I shouldn’t visit them, lest I know their secret.
I wasn’t going to let her spoil my trip. I needed time to think. Then I remembered something
“Aparna” I called out
“Yes Nina?” She looked up
“Did you tell my dad anything?”
“Did you tell my dad that my mother is staying in Bangalore?”
“No, you mean your dad doesn’t know?”
I was standing on the thin layer that separated me from the bottomless pit of shame and sanity. One wrong move would destroy everything. But I couldn’t risk Appa knowing that Amma is staying in Bangalore. I had three more years at the medical college.
“My parents are separated. And my father doesn’t know where my mother is and I want to keep it that way”The truth was out, it felt like someone dropped a bomb in front of me and I walked away quickly. I didn’t want to answer Aparna’s questions, that surely followed after such a revelation.
I read the story Oru kudayum….. by Muttathu Varkkey when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I would like Yaya to read that story.. I know it sounds silly, but is there any way I can get an english version of that story?