Preparing to go to Shimla to wage a WAR
Amma was happy in her own little world. My husband, K. S. was in his own universe of post recovery from traumatic head injury….my daughter was busy admiring the little bundle of joy in her life and I was oscillating between all these trying to find my own little space thinking of that “Office Order”!
I could not talk to Amma, would not share anything with K.S. …what was I to do. I thought of Scarlett O’Hara of Gone with the wind fame and her utter dismay in the last few lines of the novel … “Where should I go?” “What should I do?”
I had to go to Shimla. I had to, for sure! I had to find a lawyer. I thought hard of any advocate that I might happened to know but I didn’t know any. The closest I had been to a lawyer’s office was in our neighbourhood Advocate R. N. Sahay, Pinku Shambhu’ Bauji whose brass name plate, with in/out, we were in so much awe of, once upon a time…. And another was the name of Advocate Chhabil Dass that I would read every single day while passing through the Middle Bazaar. I thought of so many of my classfellows who joined Law classes at HP University and many others whom I watched walking from Ava lodge having attended the evening classes for a degree in law. Sadly I could not find a known countenance amongst all those dimmed memories. But all those faces blurred up in a shapeless entity and all I could see was the black coat…. That looked horrendous sending shivers down my spine!!!
What would I do? I was torn, shaken and devastated! Amma was immersed, happily, in her own world! She would ask me, ” Why are women of the colony not coming to meet us?” And would rue, “I knew it…you have not distributed Laddoos…arre your Bauji with his meagre income distributed Laddoos in the entire mohalla when Bittu was born!”
I would not say anything as I, too, was observing that very few of my “friends” had come to bless my grandson and I had to wink at them to ensure that they didn’t ask me about that “office order”! A few would come only to gather information as to what was I doing? What would be my next step? My next step….even I didn’t know anything about it.
One of the friends told me that there is a time limit to file a case in the court so I just could not sleep over it.
But what would I tell Amma that where was I going to? I had to tell her as I had told my husband about that “Office Order”! I was trying to find an opportune moment for that.
But Amma was able to see through my pretension of normal behaviour and asked me point-blank when she could get some free time, “What is bothering you?” And I broke down…my first crying….tears rolling down my cheeks, I told her, “They have shown me the door….naukri se nikaal diya mujhe”!
Amma was quiet, very quiet….as she knew about some problems going in my workplace since last two years but perhaps even she was not prepared for this. She asked me stoically, “What next?”
” I have to go to Shimla but with Nidhu still recovering…how can I?”
Amma decided the matter in one single sentence, “you go to Shimla today itself, I would take care of Nidhu.”
I was full of relief….I had unburdened myself. There was no need for that “Office Order” to remain hidden under the folds of my bed….it was open as was my dilemma… I felt so light hearted. Amma opened her purse and got out some money out of it and putting that in my hands said, “Keep this, you will need it.” It was huge for me. 10,000 Rs. Amma always would give me Rs. 500/ everytime I visited her. I knew she had brought this money to get a hold chain and a gold “stairs” for her great-grandson believing that it would be her staircase to heaven!! How can I snatch from her her passport to heaven? But she was adamant.. “I would put those “stairs” in a black thread. gold chain can wait.”
My eyes welled up again as now there was no need to hide my emotions…and my tears!!
With the file of papers in my black bag and Amma’s money in the back pocket of that bag…. her blessings in my heart, K.S.’s strength in my mind, Nidhu’s hope in my face and little Aarush”s gentle touch in my soul….I was all prepared to go to war….to go to Shimla!!!