‘Shishir, don’t leave your wet towel on the bed!’
‘Shishir, shut the windows of your room before you leave the house!’
‘Shishir, finish all the food on your plate!’
‘Shishir, learn to appreciate the varied tastes and flavours of food!’
‘Shishir, don’t forget to take your keys!’
‘Shishir, don’t leave your clothes on the floor!’
‘Shishir, pray in the temple before you leave!’
‘Shishir, you never listen to me!’
Malati’s voice carrying instructions could be heard all over the neighbourhood every day. No, she wasn’t a pushy Mother she was just a Mother to a teenage boy. Shishir was a good boy and a good son but he was also a teenager with a mind and a will of his own.
He was an obedient child save for turning a deaf year to these every day instructions. Mothers of teenagers never realise, till it is too late, that repeating instructions every day is a sure shot way to have them ignored.
As time went by, Shishir outgrew his teenage years and Malati outgrew her habit of giving instructions. Shishir aced his academics with grades that made Malati puff up with pride. A plum job coming his way made Shishir move continents and start a professional phase of life.
On Shishir’s 25th birthday Malati realised that living so far away her son must be lonely and started looking for a suitable girl for Shishir. Before his next birthday Shishir was married to Shweta, who Malati thought would be the best life partner for Shishir. Shweta moved continents to be with her husband and as soon as she did, they both arranged for Malati to come stay with them for a long visit.
This was the 1st time Malati had stepped outside her hometown. She looked up in awe at the tall buildings, the broad, tree-lined roads and the cars whizzing by. She was so proud of her son and his achievements.
Shishir’s car stopped before a house that looked like every other house on the street on either side of it. However, once she stepped in it was like she was back home. The house was neat as a pin with touches of India as reminders in all corners. A little alcove opposite the entrance had been converted into a temple. She chose Shweta well, Malati thought smugly to herself.
Shishir and Shweta had taken the next week off from work to take Malati around to show her the sights, all 3 of them flitting in and out of the house for a quick shower and change of clothes. After a week of playing tourists they finally returned home, so to speak, and began settling it.
A new week started with Shishir and Shweta leaving for work giving Malati last minute instructions and their numbers, Shishir lit the lamp and incense sticks and said a quick prayer in the temple before he left, surprising Malati.
One evening as Shweta came home with the groceries Malati spotted Brinjals and a Cabbage among them. ‘Why did you pick these, Shweta, don’t you know my Shishir does not touch these vegetables?’ she asked her daughter in law.
‘Does not touch them? Oh Mom, he not only touches them but cooks them in the most delicious way! I have started eating these because of him! Shweta smiled.
‘Also, Mom you have no idea how thankful I am to you. You have taught Shishir so well that I am the envy of all my friends. He helps in the house, does not leave wet towels on the floor….’
A tight smile stretched across Malati’s face, unnoticed by her daughter in law who was prattling away happily as she put away the groceries. He never listened to me all these years, was Malati’s thought as a strange emotion made its way into her heart.
I am attempting the Theme – The 7 Deadly Sins. This post is written for the prompt ‘Sons and Lovers’ for the deadly sin – Envy.