Ask me to “Get Lost”’ and I would ask you to arrange it for me in a in a Book Shop, Gift shop or a Card shop. If choices were allowed, I’d prefer it alone by myself with a soothing music on the background. It always makes me feel intellectual when I am amidst racks and racks of books (even if it is all plain fiction), take each in my palm and read the gist given at the back cover as if I had all the time in the world. The sight of glasses and porcelain articles, flimsy and fragile, still balanced at their center of gravity in neatly spaced rows and columns keeps my eyes glued to them. And all the touchy-senti-feely lines in greeting cards with flowers and sceneries would mesmerize my brain to the extent that I might have admitted that perfect world was just next door. It’s not about buying, it’s about seeing! On one fine after-office evening, I decided to get lost of my own accord in a myriad collection of books, gifts and cards, all within a single three storied building hosting ‘Odyssey’
My mission was simple. I wanted to buy two coffee mugs, one for my dad and one for my mom. If they had sweet affectionate wordings on their circumference, it would add one more point in showcasing me as a loving considerate daughter. I was quick to find what I wanted and lucky to find them printed with ‘Dear Mama, Papa…tra-la-la’. Two coffee mugs isn’t that bad an excuse to hang around and treat myself to the rich sophisticated atmosphere. I did purposely hang around for some more time. As I deeply inhaled the fragrance of the various scented perfumes displayed for sale, I started surfing the novels section until I picked up an intriguing romance title that wasn’t so unkind to my credit card.
Shopping done and dinner dined, I retired to my bed that night to begin off with the book that I bought. I have always believed that romantic novels before going to bed would spin wonderful dreams to sleep on. Chapter one started off with a young pregnant widow who gets into a painful accident, has her delivery and surgery together and comes out of the ordeal successfully with her infant into the world. Chapter two onwards proceeds with the untold love that starts to brew up between her and the doctor who saved her and so it goes. Contradicting my intention of picking up that book, chapter one directed my interest to a different lane and I stayed there.
Our widow mother was cooing and cuddling her baby daughter, wanting to protect it from all the wickedness of the world that she had to encounter. Either my love for kids in general or because that character nearly shared my age, the conviction with which she stayed and the bond that she shared with her baby moved me momentarily. Was she feeling the same way I did in my childhood when I was petting a pigeon from a featherless baby to a snow-white beauty? I knew it was an absurd idea but strangely I was relating to her, that character!
I closed the book and closed my eyes but my thoughts were wide awake. I’ve been thru a few phases of life in the few years that I’ve lived. As a child, I spent time with dolls and toys, as a girl I fooled around with my brother and cousins, the college going me was attached to friends, later on (like every other girl though few admit) dreamt about the ‘Ideal Man’ who’d pair up with me to start off another life and now I’ve already started thinking about how would parenthood be even before getting wedded to the ‘Ideal Man’, whoever it is.
I felt something amiss and a little guilty even. When was the last time I spent ample time with my own parents without getting bored off with the pesky details that they had no one but their daughter to share? Wouldn’t they have felt close to what our heroine of the novel felt? They do till date for I am still their child. I might get married off, mothered off but I would still be their kid because that was how they knew me and that is how they’ll know me forever. On the other hand, I had been gradually advancing from innocence to intelligence and with a little help from my earnings, gave way to selfishness, centering my world with me, my dreams, my ambition, my failures, my successes, my life! Of course, I had been a good daughter many a times but somehow being possessed with this so-called motherly feel for a few minutes, when I could see so many things in different light, they all seem so trivial. I even felt ashamed that such realization should come from just from a few pages of a novel. I wouldn’t call it a realization exactly, it’s an overlooked-taken-for granted-fact!
One can never guess what triggers what but now I was triggered off with feelings and sentiments that I assured myself I still have time to make amendments and give no place for regrets in future. As important as my future is, so is my past, a parental past in another sense. I squirmed out of my blanket, unwrapped the coffee mugs and re-read the lines. A small smile played across my lips and I was glad I picked up those. Now, I know that the mug wasn’t just saying it for me, it was meaning it as well.