Aditya grew restive as his family took turns to express their affection for him by stuffing his mouth with the slices of his birthday cake. His cell phone that kept buzzing with messages of birthday wishes were adding to his woes.
His father, sensing his growing impatience decided to wrap up the proceedings allowing his son his personal retreat from the celebrations that would have extended for some more time adding to his discomfiture.
Scampering through the doors he quickly fastened the bedroom lock, shutting off himself from the world outside. Bearing no intentions of any interaction with his family, he quickly turned off the lights and waited for cheerful noises and bursts of merry laughter behind the doors to die out before he could act.
Standing beside the door in complete darkness, he traced meaningless patterns with his fingers on the wall. Staring at the darkness for what seemed like an eternity, he waited behind the doors and then flipped back the switch to turn on the light. He scurried across the room and opened a cabinet pulling out a wooden casket buried under stack of clothes in the lowest rack. The glint in his eyes grew brighter as he opened the casket stuffed to the brim with envelopes, each of which had a number scribbled on top.With trembling hands that was reflection of his excitement he pulled out an envelope and mumbled with his quivering lips the number “18” inscribed on top of it. With a gentle tug of his fingers he opened the envelope and slowly drew out a letter from within and began reading.
As I write this letter, I find my heart filled with conflicting emotions of exhilaration and grief. Son, as I write this letter to you envisaging the momentous day of our life’s when you would be 18, I have a wide grin adorning my face that is reflection of my happiness and pride and my love for you. But my teary eyes have blurred my vision as I know this would be my last letter to you. Aditya, I am not as fortunate as those mothers who narrate their stories to their kids themselves, so I have decided to share my stories with you in form of these letters. My faster deteriorating condition has the doctors worried and I know I do not have much time left. Your father wants me to rest and desist writing these letters so I have promised him that I will be writing a final installment of my series of letters to you.
We were ecstatic when doctor broke the news of your arrival. Your father had let out such a joyous scream that doctor had to rebuke him to bring him to senses of his surroundings. Knowing about your arrival, everyone in the family were excited but no one could have been as elated as your mother. In subsequent months, I found myself undergoing a significant physical and emotional transformation. I grew fond of my bulging belly that reminded me every moment of you and how I would protect you from all the evils of the world. I had witnessed the same fondness in your father’s eyes when he would gently place his palms under my belly and talk to you for hours on end. In fact our emotional personas had a role reversal in subsequent months. I became ill-tempered governed often by my mood swings whereas your father grew more sane and patient. He had become more responsible towards me and was very watchful.
The cruelty of fate manifested itself while you were still couple of months away from your arrival. I had begun to suffer from fatigue, severe pains in my legs and back during the seventh month. The unbearable intensity of pain prompted doctors to recommend further diagnosis. I still remember the fateful afternoon when the doctor announced in the same cabin, where he had excitedly declared your arrival seven months ago, about the test results. The excitement in his demeanor was not visible which was bothering me and then he broke the news-I had an advanced cervical cancer. His professional compulsion made him suggest treatments and medicines, but I knew he was lying-I was on a path of no return. Your father did not utter a word that day. He was quiet the whole evening. He was lost and so was I. That night he held me tight in his arms and breaking his silence he said “I love you”.
Son you must know that the fear of imminent loss could be crueler than the loss itself. I would often in past, question your father innocuously, if he really loves me and he would look into my eyes and smile, but he would never answer. I think that day he was scared of the imminent loss which made him say that. He was scared of losing me, he was scared of losing the only person he had in his life, and he was scared of being left alone. That night we cried together. We, your father and I had been in a relation for a decade. We had shared so many things together. We had smiled together, we had laughed together, we had been furious, but we never cried together. Crying had given us the cathartic release that we needed, and it brought us closer. As my pent-up emotions were released in form of those tears, my thoughts had achieved more clarity and I had made my decision.I knew I was dying, and my own death had strengthened my resolve to save you. It had always been difficult for your father to disapprove of my wishes, more so when I was dying. I wanted you to live as my parting gift to your father so that he could see me in your eyes, listen to my heartbeats in your chest.
The day when you were born, under searing pain, I was pulled into a delivery room over a stretcher. Lying there before I sunk into unconsciousness, I remember asking doctor to save me so that I could see you my son, albeit it would be the first and possibly the last time.I could hear faint muffled voices, as my consciousness grew upon me, one of those possibly of your father. I could feel him caressing my palms, listen him imploring the divine amidst his gentle sobs. Oscillating between different states of consciousness I could feel him and with all my strength I wanted to tightly wrap my palms around his fingers, reassure him with my presence, comfort him with my utterances but I found I could do no more.
By doctors account I came to my senses 48 hours later, waking up to the sight of you my son held up close to your father’s chest and to the soothing lullaby that he was singing for you. His countenance was fraught with the signs of nervous fatherhood, learning to hold his newborn in the right way. Seeing me awake, he was delighted and showcased you with such pride on his face, I saw you then for the first time and felt overwhelmed. He came closer and gave you in my arms and as I looked in your eyes, I felt surreal. I held you close, wanting to make up for those lost forty eight hours and for all those days and years that I was going to lose. Your dreamy eyes inquisitively looking into mine with gleam of thousand moons in them. I broke down to the sight of shimmering smile on your face that I knew I would not be around to see.
I woke up today to a wave of unendurable agony which reminded me of my nearing end. I have seen you a couple of days ago and now I am fast receding to the brink of unrecoverable. I am possibly going to end my letter son sooner than I would have wanted.Son I would always be around you. The moment I held you in my arms, we had established a bond between us that would transcend beyond life. I added to the gleam of your eyes by transference of my dreams and I would be alive in your dreams. I want you to know that I will always love you my son.