A Promise To That Hold
I woke up late that day, as always. We had a calling bell at home; connected from the kitchen to the bedroom upstairs. The origin of the bell is quite mysterious. Nobody knew how it came there. However, it was my mom’s savior. As a daily routine she rang the bell every 5 minutes to wake me up. At the usual tenth ring, I woke up and ran for a bath. My mother made my hair, packed my lunch box, found the socks, discovered the missing shoe, made dad’s tea, and breathed a bit in-between. The ‘Auto-man’ in the auto-rickshaw which took us to school every day was honking at our door. Picking my lunch box first then reluctantly my school bag, I ran. Suddenly my mom held me back and asked the auto-driver to leave without me. I was happy. I didn’t have to go to school.
My mom asked me to remove my white skirt. That’s when I noticed, it was stained red. Blood. OH MY GOD - Blood. I lost my cool when my mom and grand-mom were smiling. My grand-mom looked overjoyed and yelled at my dad ‘Your daughter has attained her puberty’. My 11 year old brain could not decode that. I was taken to the bathroom and there was turmeric paste all over me, as was the South Indian tradition. My mom explained to me why there was blood and how it will repeat once in every month. I was confused. My elated relatives were preparing for a grand celebration to announce the good news (Indian tradition).
The day ended and I lay next to my mom. Both of us were tired. My mother loved me of course, but was never the kind who would show it. She never called me darling, no sloppy kisses or any other obvious display of affection. She was like that and I loved the way she was. That night my mom did something very unusual. Assuming that I was asleep, she raised my hand and held on to it tight. With the other hand, she patted my head. I felt it was her way of loving me. Twelve years later, my hands have still not forgotten the warmth of her hold. In my head unintentionally I had made a promise to that hold “I will always be there for you mom, whenever you need me and even otherwise.”