© Harish Jharia
I heard that Lord Shiva swallowed deadly poison for saving the lives of human beings on earth. We could not compare any human being with those divine entities. Nevertheless, whenever someone talked about Lord Shiva, the memory of my mom flashed in my mind; because, I regarded my mom none less than anybody, dead or alive on this earth.
My dad was a high level corporate professional. He was a hardcore perfectionist and a disciplined person. He used to follow certain codes of conduct, specified for himself and he made it sure that we children too stuck to his guidelines. But, my sister and I always kept him in dark about our sincerity to his rigid disciplinary parameters. My dad always considered us as very sweet little children; whereas, we were just opposite to that- the most naughty and mischievous brats.
My mom was the only person who had powers of deterrent against dad’s dictates. She also used her veto powers and many times overruled dad’s decisions. The severest punishment dad used to award us, was “keep standing against a wall holding earlobes with elbows holding high”. He kept an eye on us and made sure that we were relieved within a couple of minutes. Nevertheless, sometimes he used to forget us on attending long-distance calls, especially while engaged in an online conference. That was the time when mom rushed to our rescue and asked us to go and play.
These were frequent hide and seek plays between dad, mom and us little monsters. Dad had a lot of work, meetings, conferences, workshops, presentations etcetera, at his office and on sites. He used to return home tired and exhausted with tensed face and lose tie-knot in late hours. We always rushed for holding his hands when he used to throw himself on a sofa at home. Our touch visibly used to bring feeble smiles on his face.
One such evening, my dad returned home a bit earlier, unusually with a smile on his face. Naturally, on finding him in cheerful mood, we children could not hold back our screams out of excitement. We shouted on top of our voices, rushed to him and clutched his legs hard. He came down on his knees, kissed hard on our cheeks, and hugged us in both of his arms. Mom came running towards us and we all went speechless when dad disclosed that we were going to New York within a fortnight. Mom cupped her face in her palms and squatted on the carpet with us giggling and smiling with excitement.
It was dad’s business trip and a pleasure voyage for all of us. Thereafter, dad stayed back to work at home for a week to prepare an audiovisual presentation. He worked day and night with his eyes glued at his laptop screen and holding its mouse in his hand. His presentation included multiple slide-shows, a long ‘walk-through’ animation and narrations in his own amazing voice. We children used to peep through curtains and watched his wonderful creation when he played it back at short intervals for editing. We could not understand the presentation but enjoyed watching it as it looked like a Sci-Fi thriller.
We both kids could not hold back our enchantment about our first foreign trip and we went out on a publicity campaign to all of our friends’ places to share the same. On returning home, we found my dad taking a nap on his chair with stretched out legs on a stool. His computer was running with colorful animations blended with mild background music and commentary in dad’s own voice.
My sister left me there and went away to kitchen and I kept watching the amazing animation film created by my dad. I went closer and closer to my dad’s table. I could hear his feeble snoring. I moved yet closer and my hand fell on the keyboard. The view on the monitor abruptly went masked and a dialogue box appeared. My legs trembled and hands went numb. I did not know what it was all about and what to do next. My hands reached out for the mouse and I clicked ‘Yes’. The images went out and the screen turned blue.
I saw my mom rushing closer and I could not hold back my fear and cried aloud. Mom went down on her knees, held me hard at herself and my dad looked at the monitor with blank eyes and hands falling free downwards.
Mom could hardly speak, “I just tried to show… my son… animation… he didn’t do it…”
“Disgusting…woman…” Dad whispered in pain. He stood up, quenched his furor by smashing down his mouse on the floor and rushed out of the room.
My little sister cried aloud and clung at my mom’s back. My mom broke down, holding me hard in her arms and hiding my head under her palm. I could hear her heartbeats, felt the vibrations of her shoulders and heard her painful hiccups. Her sobs are still resounding in my ears even today.