The kids had just made their return from their maternal grandma’s home with the new baby as an addition to their family. This was almost two and a half decades ago, when all three of them were chubby cute babies. Little did they know they shared a bond of siblings. All three wanted their share of love especially from their mother who was now the only person to be around them day out and night, doing house chores tirelessly in a diligent manner. The youngest among the siblings wanted the most attention, as he was an infant, just two months old; learning to make movements, cranky sounds, wetting clothes, bed, throwing tantrum at random hour were part of his early infant-hood.
Their grandma was most worried about how her daughter is going to manage all by herself, single handedly, the daily household chores – routine started with folding the bedspreads, mattresses, brushing teeth, bathing the elder kids, oiling and bathing the little toddler with utmost cautiousness, covering him with tiny ruby white cotton clothes, wrapping him in a swaddle(big white cloth), rocking him, petting him till he felt asleep and then putting him to bed, preparing breakfast, lunch, getting eldest kid ready for school, snacks, dinner, feeding the kids, changing their clothes, washing the soiled clothes and sometimes wet too, brooming/sweeping the entire house, cleaning utensils, making their bed and finally putting them to sleep. These were her daily set of activities. They never had the concept of maid back then and even now they do not have any. Her pure love, cheerfulness, dedication and commitment had conquered all the pain, merrily and relentlessly. In fact, their garden had blossomed into something more and more beautiful throughout all these years .
They had these naïve conversations with their mother
“Mummy, how did I come to this world?” to which their mother replied “Shanu, God sent you to us.”
When she cuddled them in her arms, they held her ‘Mangalsutra’ and played with it in every possible manner, grabbing it tightly, pulling it, twisting it and then unknowingly putting the locket into their mouth. Imagining that, there is something to eat inside the ‘Matka’ shaped locket which followed curious question
“Mummy, what is there in this?” (pointing to the locket) to which their mother replied “Your Pappa is their inside that.” Immediately there was a reflex action of releasing it away. Pappa is there inside, we should not put it in mouth.
Post lunch, when their mother got some free time for relaxation and used to have plans of giving time for her hobbies of preparing yummy snacks like ladoos(besan, rava, methi, coconut- abundant in variety), shankarpali, knitting crochet (sweaters, socks, winter-caps, scarf), stitching(her own blouses, tiny clothes for her kids, special ones for her daughter with different types of sleeves pattern). In the meantime, the carefree elder two kids had some naughtiness on their mind and laughed, ran playfully here and there with great joy. Their noise in turn woke the youngest one. This spoiled her plans most of the times. She used to whisper to her elder kids. “I have put him to sleep just now. Please, don’t make noise and wake him up. You two sleep for some time or go out and play after sometime when the sun goes down.”
They were being persuaded by handing over a hands full of home/mom made square shaped sweet snacks called ‘Shankarpali’ in a bowl by saying “Eat chocolate, take some more. Isn’t it very tasty and nice?” It was their father who had avoided getting junk food from market. He, himself avoided eating outside as he grew up eating fruits, natural resources. Both parents made sure to feed kids with natural and healthy food.
Their father provided every single stuff needed for running the household. So, rarely, did their mother stepped out of house. And on such occasions the youngest kid was the most reluctant to leave her and needed to be negotiated and convinced, somehow. For this, she had found a solution. Placing the doctor’s appointment card that had a picture of mother and baby on the bed, as she draped her saree she used to lovingly and convincingly say to him. “Mummy is going to visit doctor, she is not well. She will be back very soon. What does Shanu want? ” The cute little one had a face full of worry as he wanted to go with his mother but at the same time the thought of doctor and injection frightened him a lot. So he repeatedly said “Come soon ok, come soon.” He used to get a peck on his chubby cheeks. “I’ll come soon Shanu. You play with Baba and Bena.”
The eldest one, Baba was going to school during afternoon time. Shanu was all growing up, learning to crawl, managed sitting on the floor now. After their afternoon nap the younger two kids, Bena and Shanu used to play with toys and their mother’s bangle had turned into the most magical toy ever. As the bangle whirled fast it brought an unimaginable joy and laughter on their faces and as the swirling slowed down, Shanu stroked palm of his little hand, missing the judgement first two times to stop the movement completely. Then pleaded to his mother with excitement “Once more, once more.” After he was done with the magic, he grabbed the bangle and hit on the floor vertically to hear its sound. Then looked around joyously for attention.
To be continued…