Amma #AtoZChallenge 2018 #BlogchatterA2Z #ShortStory

AMMA (4)

I looked up at the skies wondering what the tomorrow holds for us as a family. I know she is playing peek-a-boo with me, nestled amongst the trillions of stars scattered around the velvety black skies. Why did she leave me alone? I didn´t have any strength left in my being anymore.

Mystifying are God´s ways, I tell you! He extinguishes the light of the world and leaves it darker each time with his inexplicable decisions. God will protect and save you for the rest of the days of your life. That was her ardent prayer and belief. Little did she know that the same God that she prayed to would betray her and all of them in the most gruesome way imaginable.

I wake up abruptly every night as the happenings of that eventful day play in slow motion in my head. I still get shudders recalling the images of her unconscious body, lying in a pool of blood,. I remember how it was only a couple of minutes back when we were contented souls after our spicy Hyderabadi Biryani lunch downed down with Thums-Up. Life couldn´t have been any more perfect for us as we headed our way back home. She sat on the pillion beside me and hugged me tight as I zipped through the by-lanes of the city. She was chirping her personal trivia into my ears. I couldn´t catch the words that were lost in motion but her ´Joie de vivre´ spoke a fluent language of its own. In a flash of second, something hit our bike hard. I jammed on the brakes in quick reflex, tightening my grip on the handles. I looked in the mirror and saw nothing. I felt something whiz-by us but my perturbed mind didn´t register the details. All that I was desperately seeking in that moment was Swati.

The following days spent after the tragedy were the most trying times of my life. From losing Swati in a freak hit-and-run accident to fighting a losing legal battle against a politician´s transport company, I lost every bit of faith, hope and strength that was left in my being. I had lost everything – the love of my life, my wife and failing to find justice.

Many advised me to move on and look out for a life-partner. But, marrying again was simply not an option for me. I couldn´t imagine anyone else in Swati´s place. Her memories were sufficient to live the rest of my life. But what about our daughter, Priya? Would memories be suffice for Priya to move on from this tragedy? Especially at her tender age of twelve.

What made me anxious was the fact that I was never the ´hands-on´ father. I entrusted most of the parenting responsibility on Swati´s shoulders. I was the cool Dad who spent his weekends treating his daughter to whatever her heart desired – candies, ice-creams, dolls, gadgets. You name it, she got it! In contrast, Swati got the rough end of the stick. She woke up early before sunrise and got things moving smoothly for all us. She handled every task thrown her way like a true Indian goddess with multiple hands. Looking back, I was her second kid as she handled me and my mercurial tantrums with a saintly demeanour. Swati was a living angel and her death has left us totally shattered.

How I wish I were in Swati´s place instead! I wished Swati was the survivor of this grave tragedy as she was the optimistic and courageous of the two of us . She believed in seeing the glass half-full and moving on in life. Unlike me who was looking at blankness all around him and feeling completely lost right now!

At the same time, it tore me to watch Priya drifting into slow oblivion without an anchor. Would I stand a chance at filling into Swati´s tall shoes? A bright twinkling star caught my eye. If Swati were in my place, she´d only need that faint spark to look at life in its dark eye and beat it at its own game.

I don´t know how and when the transformation began. All I remember now is taking one small step forward at a time. There were many times when I wanted to retract to my old self. But every time I felt my spirit being crushed, I remembered Swati and my mission impossible to be her.

I befriended the early mornings and made the kitchen my second home. From someone who went from not knowing how to crack a boiled egg to mastering all of Priya´s signature dishes, life took a 360 degree turn. All credit goes to my mother-in-law who let the cat out of the bag.The old me would take the easy route and outsource all academic learning. But, the new me took Swati´s hard approach. Swati detested the idea of tuitions as her focus was to make Priya an autonomous life-long learner. In the beginning, it was difficult to get into the shoes of being a stern but fun teacher but with time, I enjoyed playing that role. Another challenge for me was to listen to Priya, fighting the urge to be her problem solver. I know Swati would lend her a patient ear, gently coax her see things in a different light and let her make an informed final decision.

And so a decade flew by since Swati´s fatal accident. But, not a day goes by without thinking of her. It´s like she never left us. I wondered how Swati made parenting seem like a breeze. To my awakening, it is one of those ´shot in the dark´ jobs in the world. I have anxiety attacks about matching up to Swati and if she would approve of my upbringing of Priya.

But there was something else that was eating me up like cancer. I feel guilty for being the one who drove Swati to her death. I was meant to be her protector and I failed her that fatal night. I failed both Swati and Priya. I failed to protect Swati´s life and robbed Priya of her mother. This will remain a constant pricking thorn in my life.

Priya awoke me from my listless thoughts with a warm embrace as she tucked a card in my hands.

´This is for you, Appa! But, please open it only after I´m gone.´,she said before giving me a light peck on my cheek and heading out to her college.

I opened the envelope to find a beautiful handmade card. Priya strung together memories of our father-daughter bonding in a collage. Inside the card, her message read bright, loud and clear –

´Happy Mother´s Day, Appa! Thank you for keeping Amma alive! I love you.´

I didn´t realize the stream of tears flowing down my cheek but it felt like a big stone was lifted off my heart. I could finally breathe easy and rest awhile. Priya gave her verdict in my favour.

Happy Mother´s Day, Appa!

Those words were ringing in my head like it were a soothing morning bhajan. The sun was shining with an extra dash of brightness that day. The birds sang in a sweeter tone than usual and everywhere I looked, I saw shiny happy people walking with an extra spring in their step. Was it just me or was it Swati´s way of joining in my happy dance?

#AtoZChallenge 2018 #BlogchatterA2Z

59 comments

    • Hey Sarah! So nice to read your comment….Thank you so much for the lovely feedback…it’s great to know this story struck a chord with you. Keep reading and sharing your thoughts 👍😀

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    • Hi Ravish! I was actually waiting for your comments on this one. Actually on every post as honest feedback.To see you relate to Priya is something that was quite unexpected. To hear your personal story and this fictional story of mine is pure coincidence. Thank you so much for the kind words. Please do keep stopping by and sharing your thoughts 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Ravish for the encouraging feedback! I’m sorry to hear about your mother but glad to know your father raised a wonderful gem single handedly. This story is dedicated to such strong fathers. Keep reading and sharing your thoughts! 😀

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    • Mehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa – You are my first reader for this year´s #AtoZChallenge 2018 posts. This one has to be special..I tell you. So kind and sweet of you as well. Btw, I just read your first post today…such an adorable theme and protagonist. Couldn´t get any better…going to follow it closely. 🙂

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  1. The story gave me goosebumps. I cannot even imagine being in his place and then being the one driving the car. It seems that Priya has moved on but he may never move on.

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    • Hi Mahak! That is very true..Being in his place comes with a lot of emotional baggage. It is a terrible spot to be in. Priya has moved on thanks to her Dad. Keep reading. I would love to know your thoughts on the other stories as well. 🙂

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  2. You know what today my daughter tution teacher told Me how she lost her husband in car accident and how she is handling as single parents

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    • Hi Sneha! It is tough but when it comes to your own child, most parents outdo all expectations. I´m sure she´ll manage and raise her child exceptionally well. My prayers and best wishes to her. Thank you so much for sharing your comments. Keep reading..looking forward to your thoughts on the other stories as well. 🙂

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  3. I was brought up by my father after my mother died when I was 12 (not in an accident, but it was sudden and unexpected). In those years I never put myself in my father’s shoes. What he must have gone through, and he didn’t have that such support, either. I had tears in my eyes by the end of your story.

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    • Hey Alana! So sorry to hear about your mother’s loss. This story is dedicated to such strong fathers like yours who raise their children single handedly. I’m touched that this story resonated with you. Keep reading and sharing your thoughts on my other stories as well. 😀

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  4. I always love your stories, Tina. I remember your post on Gauri Lankesh, and have since liked your pen. You make it look written so effortlessly (m sure it’s not true) and packed with so much connection. This is definitely a great start to the challenge, Tina. So looking forward to reading your work ahead.

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    • Oh wow, Rashi! What memory …Yes, the Gauri Lankesh post was one of my personal faves. I have the deepest respect for such fearless writers. Thank you so much and looking forward to reading your thoughts on the other stories as well ☺👍

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  5. Wonderful Tina. I am so glad you chose to write short stories for the challenge. I am going to read your stories just before I sleep every night this April. Same way as I read your ebook last year. This is such a beautiful story. So much has always been written about single mothers but we have failed to acknowledge single fathers. Looking forward to tomorrow.

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    • Hi Aesha! I don’t know if I chewed more than I can bite..but let’s see by the end of the month how I fare. Experimenting with fiction ….would love to know your thoughts on the other stories. 😀 Thank you so much for the encouraging feedback! 🤗💖

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  6. Such a heartwarming story, especially lovely because it was written from the point of view of a father for a change instead of a mother. I’ll look forward to your next posts.

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    • Hey Neha! Thank you so much! Yes..This story is experiencing motherhood from the father’s perspective. So glad you liked this one and looking forward to reading your thoughts on my other stories for the #AtoZChallenge 😀👍

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    • Hi Esha! What a pleasant surprise! Am so happy to read your comment in such a long time.Thank you so much my dear. Glad you liked this story. Phew! 🙂 Really looking forward to your thoughts on my daily posts. 🙂

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  7. Such a lovely theme Tina and I just loved this beginning. you are a great writer and I always enjoyed reading your write up. best wishes for challenge and need same from you. here is beginning of #Homeopathy A2Zhttps://surbhiprapannablogs.blogspot.com/2018/03/blogchatteratozchallenge-introduction.html

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    • Hi Surbhi! Thank you so much for the encouraging feedback, my dear! Keep stopping by and reading my daily posts of the #AtoZChallenge. I will be reading and commenting on your posts shortly. Thanks for sharing the links 🙂

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    • Hi RNS! Thank you so much for the lovely words of appreciation. I´m glad to see it strike a chord with the readers and even inspire many, as you say. I´m a happy writer today thanks to readers like you. Thank you so much for the wishes and I wish you the same as well. 🙂

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    • Hey Soumya! So nice to see your comment on my blog. Thank you so much for those lovely words…glad it struck a chord with you. Would love to hear your views on the other stories in this series 🙂 Keep stopping by 🙂

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  8. That really is a wonderful story. It is extremely difficult for any other human being to take a mother’s place in a child’s life. And when a daughter raised by a father tells the father that he has done his bit it sure would feel great. Thanks for a great story.

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