Mr. P K Swain, my husband’s batch mate at REC Warrangal, lost his wife on 9th October. She passed away in Bhubaneswar. She had been battling colon cancer for two years. My husband met her for the first and last time at the Silver Jubilee Alumni Meet at Warrangal in August 2007. She accompanied her husband, and their seventeen year old son had also come along for the Meet. My husband says that she looked fine and was cheerful.
As an important appointment with a Bombay based doctor could be managed only towards the end of August, and since the appointment clashed with the admission of their son in an engineering college in Chennai, they could not accompany their son to Chennai. My husband received the boy and brought him home before taking him the next day to admit him in the college hostel. I have seen only the boy, not his mother who is no more now.
When I saw the boy I immediately thought this is how my son will grow up into in a couple of years – a goatee and a warm smile et al. Though I did not know the ailing woman who had seen off her teen-aged son with a heavy heart worrying how her boy would cope in a strange and new environment, I could connect with the woman as a mother. As a mother I could understand all the thoughts and memories that would have crowded the mind of the woman as she saw her son off — memories of feeding him, goading him everyday to eat the right kind of food at the right time, cooking a variety of dishes that the boy relishes, putting his room in order, collecting wet towels from his room and asking the child not to study for long hours in the night lest he sleep off in the examination hall the next day.
She would have advised him for months on end on how he should take care of himself, “Eat proper food, wash your clothes regularly, be mindful of the water you drink, do not stay awake too long in the nights, keep out of bad company, do not get into trouble.” She would have racked her mind to tell him everything that he would need for the rest of his life. If there was something she forgot, she has lost her chance.