“Mom, I don’t want to get married right now. Not so soon. I have my exams scheduled mom”
“Dear, it’s your father’s decision. He must have thought many times before arranging the guy for you. Why don’t you think from his perspective once?”
“it’s not about the guy mom, it’s about me, can’t you see?” cried Ritu. Every single teardrop broke Neelam’s heart into a millions pieces. She remembered the last night’s episode when she had told him how she thought why it is not the right time to wed their daughter off. Oh what a crime had she committed by opening her mouth. He made sure she’d regret every word she had spoken. After all women were not allowed to express their opinion. She couldn’t tell the tales of all the sufferings she went through last night. Neelam stood there as her daughter wept, and soon, left. With heavy heart, she stood in the balcony, watching the sky and the birds. It did not help to soothe the pain. Not a bit.
She watched the kids play cricket in the park, the busy road… the vendors…
She saw an emaciated bitch standing near a tree surrounded by her pups who were feeding from her. Suddenly a pack of dogs attacked the little pups. The dogs were bulky and strong. The bitch cried and counter-attacked. The puppies were crying as they saw their mother fighting and chasing away the bully dogs. It took her a lot of effort but the dogs did run away eventually. The bitch returned, tired and exhausted. Very carefully, she inspected her pups and licked them lovingly. The pups felt safe. Once again, they gathered around their mother as she lay on the floor and started feeding.
As she stood watching the whole scenario, something sparked in Neelam’s heart. She felt liberated for the first time in her heart, as a mother. She knew now, what a ‘mother’ meant. What a mother is capable of. She finally decided her daughter’s fate, and that set her free.