“Mamma, should we go for this?” Came a loud and shriek voice from outside the door. It was Simone with a yellow colored paper in her hand. Mamma opened the door and said, “what is it all about? Why are you yelling? Any notice from the school? First, change your dress, freshen up and then let us see what it is! Okay?”
Simone made a face and went in. She was back after sometime and continued in an excited tone, “mamma just look at it please!” Mamma was serving her lunch. She said, “your favourite chilly chicken and roti, have it… then, we will talk about it”. Simone was a foodie and her mom knew her taste.
After having completed her lunch, she said, “there is a poetry writing competition and we both should participate in it”. The mother turned back and said, “who me? Huh! I’m not interested”.
Simone went to her, peeped into her eyes and said “Yes you! Writing poetries and stories is your passion I know. That passion you had suppressed for the sake of family. You just lived for others forgetting your dreams. Why mamma? Remember, you used to write poetries and speak about it to your Baba (Grandpa) and then show it to Vicky Uncle… I remember those tell tales then how can you forget? Why don’t you start afresh? I am there for everything. I want to see that writer back in you. Now c’mon don’t hesitate, pick up the pen and think over. You write better than me. I have learnt it from you Mom! Accha mom, listen” Simone continued “You remember, during Mom and child competition at my school during Annual Sports, we both wrote poetry on the same topic but my teachers appreciated your poetry and I was so upset you know. I was so jealous of your writing skills and truly wished that I imbibe your skill and see it did. Now I am writing and you are not. How is that mom?” said Simone showing her tongue and winking at mom.… that envious tone did not hurt Moushumi rather she was happy for her daughter’s happiness.
Moushumi was an educated lady with high culture and ethics. She stood up for her values, respect and morale. She was a wonderful writer during her student life. She had even won prizes for her poetry writing.
After getting into family life, Slowly, she got so engrossed that the “mightiest sword, ‘PEN’ had lost its way from Moushumi’s hand.
Simone had taken up the venture of making her mom to pull up her socks and get going. Every morning, before going to school, she would go to her mom with a notepad and a pen with requesting eyes. She would look at her mom and smile. Moushumi had lost her confidence and interest as well. Not to disappoint her daughter she would take the pen from her and later get busy in the kitchen or chores.
A week went by and Simone kept on trying and pursuing her mom to write. Every time Moushumi picked up the pen, she would go back to the olden days, feel dejected and drop down the pen. She remembered, once her husband had yelled at her saying, “what all nonsense you keep writing. Stop all this. Instead of being in the kitchen, you are always with a notebook”. And that was the day when she had quit writing. Later in the evening, Simone came up with her poetry and asked her mom to read and suggest corrections.
Moushumi was eagerly reading and the happiness that her daughter has taken after her gleamed in her eyes. She read it conscientiously and her expressions showed that she wanted to make some changes. Simone was capturing all these beautiful moments because she wanted her mom to get back to her writing and that was the only reason Simone had taken up writing.
She asked, “mamma, is it okay or you want to make some changes?”. Very casually Moushumi said, “yes, I think some changes I can suggest so that your poetry comes alive. I will do it, just give me some time”. Simone smiled and looked at mom with hope. Mom made some corrections and handed it over to her and said, “you write very well. Continue writing, it will give you inner peace and joy.” And she got up and went off to the kitchen. Simone was disappointed to see her mom upset.
Simone read her poetry:
Far From the Land Yet So Close
The splash of the sea waves, the coziness of the caves;
The beauty of the scenic mountains, the fragrance of the flower fountains.
The chunk of the sun rays, that is serene, absolutely worth of praise.
The adventures in the sea of the boatmen, the peace at the temples gives the feel of heaven.
And there is a tune that speaks to me through the art of sand;
Oh! Yes this is the essence of my Birth Land…
At night, when Simone went off to sleep, Moushumi took the notepad and started writing poetry. She tried writing but was unable to write. So she stopped and went off to sleep. It was a Second Saturday morning, and Simone had an off from the school. Simone got up late from her sleep and found mom was already in the kitchen preparing a tasty breakfast which she could sense from the aroma. She saw the notepad lying next to her pillow. She looked at it and found some scribbles and understood the frustration behind. She decided to speak to her mom.
She went to her, hugged her and said “good morning mamma”. Moushumi smiled and said “ohho surya vanshi uthh gayee?” Mamma handed over a glass of water which Simone really hated to see and have. She was a camel who would drink water once a day. Moushumi would force her to drink and her expression would be like “mamma, why do u do this to me? I hate this in you”. Simone was more of a rebellious kind just like her dad. Moushumi looked at her smiled and said “I would for the sake of your good health. So have it, go and brush your teeth. Let us have breakfast”. But ultimately, a mom is a mom and she knows how to get things done.
Simone came to the breakfast table with a big face. Mamma pampered her, kissed her and said “you are my whole world and I want you to prosper so I try to make you organized.” Simone said, “Mom, but I hate to drink water and you force me” she said with a sulking voice. “I want you to be healthy. Am I wrong?”replied mamma. Simon smiled and said “No, but I will drink only 2 liters not more than that”. And both of them had a hearty laugh. Both had a wonderful breakfast. Then Simone went and fetched the notepad, kept it on the table and said, “okay jokes and dushmani apart, let us get serious, I know you can write so get going mom! When you could correct mine then why can’t you write? Please write mom, the last date is very close. I want both of us should participate. And if you don’t participate then I too won’t send my entry. That is final. Now it’s upto you to decide”.
Simone was about to leave when mom held her hand and said, “do you think I can write again because as I pick up the pen I remember abhorrence, ignorance and insanity towards my writing”. Simone said, “yes that is why I want you to write so that you feel that happiness again, move ahead and suppress that hatred, and ignorance under your feet”. Moushumi with tears in her eyes just smiled and said “okay, let me try”. She wrote that night;
You are as inseparable from my being of love as God from his holiness;
How can I lie to the force of a truth that enjoins you and me?
You are the wind that touches every pore yet remains untouched;
Whispering now I am thou and I as some grassy blade that bows.
You one the wind caressing as though ‘twere the last time or so,
And I as some shivering leaf that is lost in it.
You are the wind that touches every pore…
The next morning was a Sunday. As Simone came to the kitchen, Moushumi handed over her poetry to Simone and said, “look I have tried something out. Hope it is up to the mark, my little Poet. So, I compete with you now. You have activated your competitor”. Both of them had a hearty laugh. In the afternoon, Simone sent the entries online and completed the participation formalities.
Late in the evening, both Moushumi and her daughter Simone went for shopping. Both of them loved window shopping. They had ice cream and then went around the city. Simone wanted to buy papers and pens so they went to a stationary shop. After taking the necessary things as they were about to leave, a sound was heard from behind, “both sisters are very close to each other right”? Moushumi turned and saw, there was an old man of her father’s age who was the father of the shop owner. Seeing both their bonding he thought them to be sisters. And Moushumi actually didn’t look like Simone’s mother. She actually looked like her elder sister. And this was not the first time when she got to hear the sentence. Most of the people said so. All the comments in facebook had the same story, “both look like sisters” “both sisters gorgeous, “I did not know Moush you have a younger sister”. Moushumi was giggling as she could see Simone fuming as she always does. She was so jealous that she said “henceforth, we both will not move together”. Now it was mamma who winked at Simone and said “how is that Dotty? I loved it. Na na na na…”
After a week it was the result day. A message popped in Moushumi’s mobile phone. She read ‘results of All India poetry competition have been declared. Prize money Rs. 10,000/- has been awarded. Check your result’. Moushumi ran to Simone and said, “look for the result online. It has been declared”. Simone was so happy to see her mom excited and this is what she wanted in her mom. Simone wanted to win the competition. That hidden jealousy prevailed but she could not show that as she wanted to encourage her mother. She kept her fingers crossed and wished for a win. After all it was her forte; poetry writing. For a moment she thought, is mom really gonna win? Naah, it would be me because mom had left writing and I am still into it. But the next moment she would think, naah let her win so that she starts again. It was such a serious and grave situation for Simone.
She logged in and searched for the result. She checked in for her name first. She kept on searching for her name again and again. She looked at Consolation, 3rd, 2nd prizes.. She could not find both of their names in all these. Then she checked in to see the name of the winner and her eyes gleamed. It was her mom, Moushumi Pattnaik.. She jumped with happiness. “Mamma, you have bagged it. 1st prize mom 1st prize and cash award of Rs. 10,000/- Congratulations!” She hugged her mom hard. Moushumi was in tears. She could not believe her eyes. Both of them celebrated the win. She turned and said to Simone,” ek aur competition Karen dono? Is baar bhi jeet ke dikaho.”. Simone hugged her and said “I love you mom. Continue writing, it gives inner peace and happiness. But I am really jealous again mamma and this time seriously. How do you write so well? Pass on your skill to me”.
That was the day and today is the day Moushumi is still writing. She is half way her book “Beyond Anything else”…
By Moushumi Pattnaik