It was just another very hot weekend of the summer. The outspoken Mother in law was out for her usual kitty party. The son, Avinash was taking his afternoon nap and the daughter in law, Gargi was in the kitchen. Ding …dong…the bell rang. Gargi was occupied in the kitchen brooding over something, she didn’t hear the bell. Ding…dong…the bell rang again and with it a usual banter woke her up from her thoughts. She ran to open the door. It was very hot outside and the mother (in law) was sweating and throwing some harsh words at her. “I will melt outside, now if you like can you please open the door so i could come in. Or if you want i ll go back?”
“Oh no mummyji i was occupied in the kitchen. Sorry it took a while to open the door.”
“No no now as you can see i am sweating and it is a very hot day and i am coming from outside, so can you please bring me some water? (there’s something on her face).”
“Sorry mummyji i will just bring it for you.”
The mother sat down and took off her sunglasses, kept the expensive bag aside and started checking the phone while saying something in an undertone to her daughter in law.
“Here mummyji please have water.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with today’s generation? If you are thirsty you need to ask for water. When my mother in law used to come from anywhere i always kept a glass ready. (what’s on her face?)”
Gargi heard all she had to say but did not utter a word.
“Mummyji would you like to eat something?”
“No i already ate at the party. Did u both had lunch?”
Gargi as if was sobbing silently whispered ” Avinash ate and slept, i will eat later. I still have some work to finish.”
“Ok!(there is definitely something wrong and there is definitely something on her face).”
“”Gargi…what is it?”
“Come here and show me what’s on your face?”
Gargi takes a step back and tries to hide her face “oh its nothing mummji.”
The mother gets up and goes close enough to see her face properly. Her lips were cut and there were signs of violence on her face.
“Oh its nothing, i fell down”.
“No you didn’t. Tell me what happened to you?”
Gargi lets out a sob and says after much reluctance “Avinash got angry on me”.
“Oh he got angry and he hit you?”
“Its ok dont think much about it. You must have done something and he got angry. I will talk to him later about it.”
Gargi looks up but doesn’t utters a word. She turns to go away.
“Oh listen i have been looking for my walking stick for many days now. Do you know where is it? I want to take it with me for my evening walk today.”
“Mummyji you go and take rest i will bring it for you.”
“Bring it now.”
Gargi leaves sobbing silently and brings back the stick.
“Ok now you go and finish your work in the kitchen.”
Gargi leaves thinking about her own mother and wishing she was here. She would have hugged her and cried hard.
The mother takes the stick and goes inside the room where Avinash was sleeping. She locks the door from inside.
“Aaah…mom …what the hell are you doing? why are you hitting me with the stick? aahhh”
“How dare you hit Gargi? This is what i have taught you? I am ashamed of you today. You put us all down. Just because you are a man and have more power than her you think you can hit her? That girl left her family her everything just to be with you and you give this in return?”
“Your father never raised a finger at me and you hit her?”
“I am sorry mom please stop hitting me now. I will not do it again.I dont know what came to me . Aaaah.”
“Avinash if i ever heard that you raised your voice on her let alone hit her then i will not spare you. And you better apologize to my daughter in law.”
“Ok i will mom…i am sorry.”
Gargi was standing right outside the closed door and she was crying silently. But may be these tears were not because of pain but because she found a mother, here in this house too.
Mother comes out of the room. They look at each other and they hug.