My Three Mothers
A short story by Monica Ingudam
I look up the sky and see birds flying. I wish I have wings to fly away and find my place where I could call Home. Growing up, I was the best dressed and pampered boy by my Father and my mother in my “Leikai” (community). I always remember my mother to be this beautiful woman, fair with neatly tight black hair, wearing beautiful red half saree over Manipuri Phanek. Our house was beautifully arranged, every thing was in place. My mother really took care of my Father and me. I remember my father waiting for me without fail outside my school, standing tall and handsome. He would treat me to “achapot” (snacks) before we go home. It was laughter, love and fun in the family. We were perfect. But even God can’t stand perfection and has to test people. My mother passed away suddenly from a mistake one of the expert doctor made in her treatment over a small ailment. I was just 7 years old then.
Life took a sharp turn. My Father was heartbroken. Everyone was whispering that he should get married. My mother’s side tried to fix my mother’s younger sister with my father and other relatives had other proposals. After a little over a year, my father remarried to a woman of his choice. I was taken to watch a movie in a theater to “distract the son” as they referred as, on the day of the wedding. It’s strange how people talk right in front of you as though you don’t exist, I was small but I remember everything. I neither felt good nor bad. I didn’t know what to expect and I went with the flow of life.
The earlier days were perfect. My step mother played the perfect doting mother. But with time, I was seemingly getting in between my father and my step mother. I didn’t understand then, now I do. They were young and newly married couple who needed their privacy but how could they have any privacy with me hovering around my Father all the time. I remember one time I woke up at night, saw my step mother sitting on top of my father, her long hair opened and I stood there stupidly, I didnt mean to watch them, I just frozed. She turned and looked angrily at me, she looked like angry Durga with big eyes and I was scared, very scared.
Events after events happened taking me further away from my Father. I was hurt, very hurt that my father didn’t see my side of the story in any of these events. He seem to be under her spell. And she is not even pretty no where near my mother. Maybe I was jealous of the attention my father gave her. She was an intruder. It was hard for me to accept her. I missed my mother and cried so much. I missed her hugs, her smell, her pampering and fussing over me to eat. I was sent away to a boarding school. That really devastated me, I was so lonely with no visitors. I tried alcohol, pills and I even put my name to join a rebel group. I was expelled from the school and was sent back.
That didn’t make my life any easier. Day and night, there was fights. My father shouting at me. He became this man I never knew, he saw fault in everything I did. I was not good enough for him, I was wasting his money and one day in anger he blurted out “I should never have adopted you”. My life didn’t need this kind of excitement, it’s my life and not a movie that needed drama. I was adopted and all these while my biological parents are alive. After lot of fights and drama it was decided that it’s best I am returned to my biological parents. I was just a commodity moved from house to house as deem fit. I was angry mostly hurt by my father’s action. My biological parents tried to make me comfortable but I was angry with them too, asking myself why they gave me away. My father and my mother couldn’t have kids and they were on the verge of separation and adopting me right after I was born saved their marriage. I see pain and regret in their eyes and we learnt to stay together catching up on lost times but I never found that connection, the connection I see my siblings having with my biological parents.
There are drama going on about property, rights, sueing etc. And I really don’t care. My father walks past me looking at the other way pretending he didn’t see me. I don’t know how his love for me was lost. We don’t talk anymore. He never had a child with his second wife. I have no hard feelings for anyone now, it was the situations. I hope my father is happy with the choices he has made. As for me, I knew 3 Mothers in my life, I crossed 30 years and yet looking for place which I can call home.
Collection of short stories written by Monica Ingudam. These stories are based on Life’s this and that focusing on Manipur and the people of Manipur.