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Soma's Tales

The Sound of Silence

A Message from Maa

The Sound of Silence

While Mohona started her journey back home on a boat, Anupam boarded a rickshaw to return to the hotel. Shalini, sitting on her wheelchair in the balcony of her room, kept thinking about Mohona. These three lives were irrevocably intertwined, but not for long.

Later that week, Anupam and Shalini negotiated with the guru in the presence of Shashidhar Chaturvedi. The guru was a shrewd man, but he compromised. He agreed to take back his allegations. He would blame the media for misinterpreting his statements. In return, he sought assurance from Shalini and Anupam that they would never sell their product beyond the main metros of India.

“All’s well that ends well,” Shashidhar Chaturvedi chuckled as he watched Shalini and Anupam beam from ear to ear, having secured a market for their product. Their wedding anniversary was the same week, and this negotiation was the best present that they could have asked from life. Shashidhar urged them to exchange garlands at Vishwanath Temple and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva on their anniversary.

Mohona also attended this informal ceremony. As she watched Shalini and Anupam circle the sacred fire together—with Anupam pushing Shalini’s wheelchair—and exchange garlands, Mohona recalled her wedding with Sameer. Her eyes became moist. Mohona wished the couple well, but she could not stay back after the ceremony.

“My daughter is coming from America today. I have to receive her at the airport.”

However, Mohona did not go directly to the airport. She went to her school. Standing in front of a large portrait of Sameer, she spoke to her husband who was no longer in the body. Mohona sobbed silently as she remembered how the two of them had spent a life together. She recalled the misunderstandings and the love. Sour memories fell pale before the sweet ones. Recollecting her composure, Mohona asked Sameer to bless their daughter so that she could resolve her differences with her own husband. Then, she started for the airport.

Soon, it was time for Anupam to return to New York. He met Mohona at her place, thanking her for all her help. “I don’t know when we will meet next,” Anupam added as he bid farewell.

“Do not worry. Leave it to Lord Shiva,” Mohona replied with a smile.

Just at that time Sagorika entered the room. Both Anupam and Sagorika were surprised on seeing the other there. “Have you two met in New York?” asked Mohona.

“Maa, I work under him. He is our managing editor. Really, it is such a small world!” exclaimed Sagorika.

Anupam was leaving again, but this time Mohona did not feel alone. Not because Sagorika had come. She was grateful for her daughter’s presence, but now she was feeling closer to Sameer than ever before. It was as if he was right there with her.

Late that night, Mohona was tossing and turning in bed. She was feeling very restless. She heard a knock on the door.

Mohona opens the door. Sameer is standing there. His arms open wide, he gestures to her to come with him. She holds his hand, revelling in its warmth. Both of them walk down the ghat under a full moon. Then, they hop on to a boat like young lovers. Just the two of them sailing along on the flowing Ganga. They drift endlessly. As they approach the horizon, a gentle mist enfolds them. The Ganga embraces them from all sides, and they surrender to their divine mother together.

The next morning, when Sagorika went into Mohona’s room, she found her mother dead. Clasping Mohona’s diary, Sagorika hugged her inert mother. Her body may have perished, but her spirit lived on in the diary that was now with her daughter.

Photography: @focusraghu_photoartist
Location: Varanasi, India