The First Home

I visited Vrindavan when I was 16. The plight of the old-age haven and their residents was beyond words. No matter how resentful I may have been with my parents, I could never imagine abandoning them, and my rose-tinted view of life assumed that seldom do people abandon their parents in some old-age home and even if they do, they would take good care (No, “Lage raho Munna Bhai” hadn’t released yet).

But, shattering all my delusions, this incident managed to hit the core of my soul. I saw a mother (looked 80, but could be younger) weeping in despair sitting beside another, who I thought was asleep. I asked her the reason of her sorrow empathically, she did not get me and rather gestured me assertively to leave with blazing rage in her eyes, holding her ‘asleep’ friend even more tightly. A person beside me told me this was routine here, that the lady I thought asleep had indeed assumed slumber for all eternity, and that the weeping lady cried because the garbage men would come and take her friend’s body, cut it into pieces, and feed them to the animals. While he was saying all this to me, succumbing to it’s habit, my mind began to form vivid images of the gore body parts. Those generic images along with the strike of reality were enough to tremble me. I couldn’t believe my ears, I gathered myself somehow and asked the person about the children of such deserted mothers, and all he could say was that I need not worry, these mothers have achieved salvation by dying at this holy place, and he left. I did not share this experience with my parents or anybody. During the rest of the trip I remained largely silent, my mom bugged me a few times about my silence, and like always, my dour instincts took over me and I shouted to “leave me alone.” The next moment was one of the most important moments of my life. Throughout my silence I was wondering about the awfulness of those people who abandon their parents like that, but then it hit me, maybe they too wanted their parents to “leave them alone,” like me. It occurred to me that I was no different, maybe this resent grows into something that awful, my guilt conscious arose and shame was all that was on my face. Since I am quite an introvert, I did not share this shame too with my parents, didn’t even say ‘sorry.’ But, deep down, this teen had learnt a lesson today.

Later that night, looking at the beaming face of my sleeping mom, I realized that her womb will always be my first home, I felt sorry for all my misdemeanors with her, and resolved that I won’t express my resentment ever even over her most lame anxieties.

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