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Different Hues - Chapter 4

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My husband’s work took us to live in another country immediately after the marriage. We had a very simple and quiet life there. My son was born in a country where his mother struggled hard to speak in the native tongue of the land. His father of course, being a master of many languages, never had to face any such problem. . I was my son’s only companion and friend till we came back to settle in Kolkata, just before his fourth birthday.

My husband had a travelling job and had a very  tight schedule even otherwise. My son and I spent the days and nights mostly with each other in our small one bedroom apartment. He never left me alone for a moment and I had to do all my chores while holding him on my arms. 

The window sill in the living space was our favourite place. I used to make him sit there and show him the never ending flow of cars passing by. That is how he learnt not only the colours but also the different automobile brands. Many were surprised that how could a boy of two and a half say all the colours so perfect and also indentify a Volkswagen or a Ford from a Merc. Only his Mumma knew the little boy’s secret. The running cars, in different shades with logos all different, were the lonely mother and her son’s only friends.

As he grew up and I found it too heavy to him carry on my arms I made him sit in front of the television set and finish my work. It was me only who got him addicted to MTV. I admit that it was me who made a small child of three to fall in love with Michael Jackson, Genesis, Phil Collins and Queen. I do confess that I did that for my selfish reason. I wanted my boy to remain diverted while I cooked and cleaned. 

Even when I took him to play in the park in the evening time, he would call me to sit with him on the sand and together we built our castles and start making them again when they fell apart. He would hide and I had to seek, he would love to build the Lego Bridge and I had to one by one, hand him over the bricks. 

My son at the initial stage found it very difficult to interact with people, when we came back to settle in Kolkata. My father in law knew about his grandson’s addiction for TV. He gifted one for his favourite grandson. My son was very thrilled with the Hindi channels. The song and dance sequences of the Bollywood Masala movies caught the child’s attention and much to his grandfather’s horror he started imitating all the dance steps, one by one. He soon learnt that he needed a partner for practising those songs and dances and who else but Mumma was his obvious choice.

He was particularly fond of one Pepsi Ad, where two beautiful looking girls knocked at Amir Khan’s door and asked him whether he had a bottle of Pepsi or not. Both those female models became famous film actresses later. One of them was none other than Aiswarya Rai, before she had won the Miss World crown.

I remember, one day, around eight in the evening, my son came running to the kitchen. He pulled me by my hand and took me to the drawing room door. He forced me to throw away the ‘khunti’, I was using for making the evening ‘chappatis’, taught me how to stand, leaning on the door, place one hand, fashionably on the waist and ask in a husky tone, ‘Hi, I am Sanjana. Got another Pepsi?’And as soon as I asked him that he ran away and came back sweating and panting with an imaginary Pepsi can.

I was extremely amused and asked the boy of four what made him choose that new game. He said that he had learnt from the TV ad that a boy would do anything to please a girl and he wanted to try that with his mom.

‘Mumma, I would always get you whatever you want because you are my only friend, you are my Sanju’, very innocently, that day, he said.

I laughed a lot and told about this to his father when he returned and also to all my friends. He made me, play this ‘pretending to be Sanjana’ game pretty often then and soon it became much talked about among our family members and friends.

My son grew up like all other boys do. He started playing football and cricket with the neighbourhood kids. He played chess with his father and beat his two grandmothers and his little sister in the card games. I got busy with my job and other things. My daughter was born after a year and a half and I did not have much time to play with my son anymore.

My son grew up to be a handsome young man and he became friends with some very beautiful girls. A couple of those girls are now my friends too. He then got a job and has moved to a new place to stay. Today, like all other young men in the IT sector, he too has to work very hard and doesn’t get much time to play. 

I miss my son a lot. Even though, it is more than two years that he had been living in a different city, I often spend my free hours, browsing through the old holiday albums, replaying all those happy moments of togetherness, in my mind. At times, I realise that I am getting old. Loneliness is catching up and also a sense of insecurity engulfs me from time to time. When life gets harsh and hard, when everything else around appear to me grim and bad and I feel like giving up and crying out loud, I remember that I just have to dial up my son. Even today, he holds the magic key, by a turn of which, he can overfill his Mumma’s heart with laughter and joy. 

I could never understand what a ‘best friend’ meant. I never had one, in school or in college, I had many ‘good friends’, though. ‘Friendship’ is about sharing and caring for too, I always knew. Today, I can proudly say that yes, my son is indeed a ‘good friend’ of mine. If I feel low and if I ever need a healing touch on any of my bruises and sorrow, it is to him I can always go.

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About the column : Champa's column :"Different Hues"  will reflect on various aspects of Relationships. 

About the Author : Champa Srinivasan is a Post Graduate in English Literature from Jadavpur University. She taught in a college under the Calcutta University for many years and had to give it up once her family started getting scattered. She now keeps herself busy, designing leather items for her family owned export business. She keeps travelling between her two homes and loves to write about her mother, her childhood days and her children, as her past time.

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