“Mayank, if Nikhil was here today, in which year of MBA would he be?”

Before writing the letter, Mahi asked her husband to confirm. Mayank kept his gaze affixed on her and was astounded. What quantum of forbearance did this woman possess? From where did she bring such a big heart to bear the pain and sorrow of this magnitude? With love, Mayank’s heart was filled with pride and renewed respect for his wife. He said softly, “Maybe in the second year.

 

Mahi trembled for a moment. She quickly averted her eyes from Mayank to hide her tears and began writing the lette

 

“My dear mo

I hope your health is better than before. Sorry, this time there was a delay in writing to you. I’ve been assigned a new project in college, for which I’m  burning the midnight oil to submit it as scheduled. But no need to stress about me. I’m eating well and on time. Moreover, I’m trying my best to catch up on sleep as well

 

I’m badly missing your chhole bhature. Please tell Didi to send me your recipe, I’ll try to make it. However, I’m sure the taste won’t turn out like your

 

Mom, take great care of yourself, and keep taking your medicines regularly. Don’t skip a single dose, okay? You have to get well soon, for all of us. Needless to say, I know that your love and blessings are always with m

 

Your loving so

Nikhil.

 

As soon as Mahi signed her late brother’s name, she could no longer keep her emotions in check. Her saddened heart was overwhelmed and held back tears eventually streamed down her cheeks

 

Her younger brother, Nikhil, had loads of dreams and aspirations, and to fulfill the same, he flew to London to study. Mom was quite upset at his departure. Howbeit, Nikhil consoled her with a promise to return home after completing his MBA

“Mom, don’t you worry. I’m only going there to study. I vow not to hunt for a job or go chasing behind girls. After all, I wish to stay with my darling mother.

Mom gave in to his wishes with a smile, and pulled his nose before engulfing him in a bear hug.

 

That was the last meeting of the family with Nikhil. He died in a car accident six months ago. Two explosives bombarded on his loved ones simultaneously. On one hand was the news of Nikhil’s death, and on the other, mom was diagnosed with a life threatening disease. Mahi was completely shattered, and her entire world tilted upside down, but she had to take care of the others, especially her mom and therefore, she couldn’t afford to break dow

 

Handing over the letter to Mayank, she squeezed her eyes tighter as new tears assaulted her. Floodgates burst open and she cried bitterly. Mayank came and sat beside her and took her in his arms. What assurance could he possibly give her? His own eyes were moist. Caressing her hair, he asked gently, “Mahi, how long will this go on? Till when can you hide the news of Nikhil’s car accident from mom

 

Mahi brushed off her tears and replied in a painful voice, “As long as my mother is breathing. Anyway, the doctor has said, she only has a few months of life left. Mayank, you know she won’t be able to accept Nikhil’s grief. My letters bearing Nikhil’s name, at least keep her hopes alive

 

Mayank kissed Mahi’s forehead and wordlessly, they sat in each other’s comforting embrace. After a while, Mahi said, “Mayank, it’s good that mom can’t hear, otherwise if she’d insist on talking to Nikhil on the phone, what would we do about it

Taking a ragged sigh, Mayank conceded with her and remarked, “You’re right Mahi. Perhaps it’s your letters that give meaning to mom’s wait for her son.

He cupped her face and kissed her affectionately, before showering her with words of appreciation. “You are an amazing person sweetheart! That’s what makes you a perfect wife, sister and a wonderful daughter.

Three months later, mom passed away with the hope that her son would be returning soon

 

Shamim Merchan