The Ageing Lioness
It was a crisp clear morning and I was wearing a beige coloured hand painted cotton sari. It was well starched, neatly pressed, pleated and pinned. My three-year old son was wearing his school uniform with a pink handkerchief pinned to his shirt. The wind played with the kerchief tenderly removing the sweat from his brow.
The little one started to sing the rules of crossing when we reached the main road. “Look right, cross. Wait at the median. Look left, cross.” “Climb the footpath. Turn left, count fifty steps, turn right, count twenty more and Voila! we reach school,” he continued.
We crossed the first half of the road. Waited at the median. The road had a steep curve at the far left as one stood facing it. It was a scary thought to know vehicles may sweep in from the curve at unexpected moments.
“Any vehicles to the left?” I ask him.
“No ma. Let’s cross”, he says. I strain my ears to listen to any noise of oncoming vehicles from the curve. I hear none and start crossing the road. Suddenly from the curve I hear the honk of a speeding car. “Quick”, I tell him and run to the other side holding him tight.
I trip on my sari and fall on the footpath. I hold him close. The car speeds by. “Thank God. We are safe”, I mutter in relief. I check him out, dust his knees, wipe his face and gather myself. A few scratches hurt my left elbow and I find the sari torn where it was pinned together. I set it right in a hurry. He looks at the blood on the elbow with horror.
“Don’t wear sari anymore. This is a bad sari. It made you fall, get hurt.” he cries. “We are okay. Don’t worry”, I pacify him. We resume our walk….
I woke up startled. I had lived a few moments of a surreal dream. It left an indescribable feeling, a lingering in my heart. I do not know if it made me happy or sad. All I knew was the mother and toddler in the dream belonged to the past. Now they are two independent entities relishing each others presence.
He is no longer a toddler. Over the years, he has grown, evolved and taken charge of his life. He no longer holds my hands. May be he will, when I can no longer walk. It was reassuring that I was tender, vulnerable, overflowing with emotions, protective about the kid. A small world we have woven with his smiles, disappointments, happiness and sorrow.
However, I haven’t taken my eyes off him yet. I am like the lioness who rests in the shade allowing her cub to explore the wild. Its just that my eyes are growing older.
Subhashini Chandramani is mother of a teenager. She is a homemaker and poetical story teller who writes under the pen name, neelavanam which means the blue sky. You can follow her thoughts at http://neelavanam.tumblr.com/ and @Neelavanam on Twitter.