All I ever wanted was to escape from my family and not carry the baggage’s of burdens and responsibilities. The more I tried to flee, the more I got trapped. It felt like I was stuck in quicksand and I just couldn’t get out. I didn’t want to be the one to be there for Amma and at this moment all Amma had was me.
Until that moment my future looked bright and beautiful. I was going to be a doctor and have a life of my own and now I didn’t even know what my future held for me.
Why should I be the one left to take care of Amma?
“Filial piety” Sensible one whispered
‘Filial piety, mannakatta’ I answered
I pulled Amma’s hand and started to walk fast. There were so many cars, bikes and autos parked haphazardly outside the school gate. I walked trying to avoid bumping in to people and hoping I won’t get run over by a vehicle. It wasn’t easy, especially because the path was narrow and I was holding ( I think I was dragging)Amma’s hand. We came across a group of students chatting and walking towards us. They acted as though they owned the road and we should stand aside and give them way. I expected them to notice that I was holding Amma’s hands. They didn’t, They walked straight in to us and I let go Amma’s hand. They pushed Amma to the side and walked off.
“Irresponsible bitches” I cussed. I turned and yelled after them
“How dare you push an old lady like that? Don’t they teach you manners at your school?”
They turned and looked at me and shrugged their shoulder and continued to walk.
“Are you ok Amma?” I looked at Amma. That is when I noticed her nose. Although Amma isn’t very fair complexioned, when she cries, the tip of her nose glistens and turns pink.
I remembered the time I found her scraping coconut in the kitchen after Appa had hit her.
“Are you crying Amma?”
“No, mone’ I am not crying. Why do you ask such questions?”
“Because your nose is red?”
“Where? This one?” Amma touched the tip of her nose. “This is because I have running nose”
I was happy with her explanation. In my small world, I just wanted to know that she was ok and wasn’t crying. I didn’t want her to cry. Mothers don’t cry. Mothers shouldn’t have to cry.
But there was something else that bothered me more than Amma’s crying.
It was me.
I was upset when someone pushed my mother, yet I had no qualms dragging her as I walked. What manners did I have?
I could hear Amma’s voice I am a punching bag, No?
Some how it was ok for me to drag her, but not ok for someone else to push her.
‘mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ( my own faults)’.
I reached out and held Amma’s hand, this time gently. I hoped she would understand that ‘thought I may not want to, come what may, I will always be there for her’.
I knew Amma was tired, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for the auto.
We walked past Casa picola. My favourite pizza place.
How much money have I wasted eating pizza there? American pizza was my favourite and it alone costs 18 Rs.
18 Rs!! if I had 18 Rs in my hand, then I could have taken an auto to go back home. My mother didn’t have to walk all the way home.
erinja kallum, paranja vakkum, chilavakkiya paisayum!!!