16 June 2006

Requiem For A Dream

It was a lovely morning. The garden had bloomed into a beautiful chorus and the birds seemed to be singing along. It was my 12th birthday and I watched my lovely mother walk towards me, daring the radiance of the morning sun, as enchanting as the mist that shrouded her. I started walking towards her, slowly breaking into a run, straining my eyes to get a better look at the ethereal figure quickly fading before me. And then; a cold hand woke me from my dream, into the grey reality of my paradoxically special day. I was born to a lovely mother and an able, responsible father. A family that looked cheerful from the outside, but had sorrow lingering in every nook and corner of its household. Wise men said that a day would come when our misery would be brought to an end. That would be the day when the far off stars would change their arbitrary course. But that day never came; it was life, which took another course instead. The first child of the family was a boy. A boy who didn’t even live to be called by a name. But all was forgotten when an adorable, child with a seraphic smile was born to the delicate lady after many prayers. It seemed that there was nothing more that the family could ask for. Every moment was rather like a dream. And then ... something snapped. The dream was broken. Only to wake the family up into a nightmare. The child did not complete two years of life on earth........And that was perhaps the time when the actual doom fell. I was soon born into the family, only to be looked after by the maid-servants. They were my care-takers, my constant companions. It was from them, that I heard the stories of past glories of the once happy family though I had faint memories of rare happy moments I had shared with my mother. My mother had by then become mentally afflicted. She was almost oblivious to my existence. Two deaths were more than what her nerves could bear. Contrary to the doctor’s notion, my birth made very little contribution to her recovery. The doctors prescribed various pills for the sudden attacks of fits, but they did nothing more than reducing the frequency of the attacks. As days passed into months and months passed into years, the attacks began to take a sinister form. I was 8 years old when I found my mother lying unconscious, with her arm in the fire-place....the flames mercilessly licking life out of her pale white hands.... It is perhaps when the realities of life become bitter, that men tend to lean on the frail string of superstition. Having lost faith in modern science, a distraught husband soon brought an astrologer with a legendary knowledge of ayurveda into the scene. But destiny had other plans for the poor lady....she was driven from sanity to insanity. My vision was blurred when I left the dark chamber to which my once elegant mother was now confined. I had tried talking to her, only, I didn’t realize that I was listening to my mother's low tinkling voice for the last time....Before leaving the room, I turned around to see if there was any sign of recognition , of love, in my mother's eyes. But all that I saw in those still brilliant eyes was a cold stare, which went past me, through me...... staring into nothingness.... It was a Tuesday..............the day I completed 12 years of my life on earth and the first thing that greeted me that morning was not a birthday wish. It was raining when I was finally at my mother's bed side. I heard the doctors say that my mother was finally sane; she could understand what was being told. But it was too late now. She was in coma. My father managed to murmur in my ears that my mother had wished to see me, wanted to tell me something, but those words were never told......... The whole world seemed to shrink before my eyes, my mother lay there, motionless and still; I saw the light fading away from her eyes, shutting down the brilliance of life forever. As I stood there watching for any sign of life in the body before me, I remembered watching her in the chamber of solitude, her last words echoed in my mind, “Who are u............" It has been twenty years now. My dear father had been my friend, my family. Yet, some times I wonder what the dear lady would have wanted to tell me…Could it be a birthday wish for her little daughter? Or something else? I still see the dream I saw as a child. With the lovely lady walking towards me. But the melody had changed…it was now, perhaps, a requiem for the dream….


  1. its no wonder you won the prize. marvelous!

  2. ***Posting this on behalf of Uday Kiran


    I found it hard be alright immediately after reading this story. It took a while for me to come back to my world.

    I did not want to ask a personal question in public comments (and hence through this email). Many might have asked you this and I am yet another reader who is hoping it is just a story. Does 'I' in the story refer to 'Jyothi Karat' in reality ? If the answer is yes, I cannot figure it out whether to congratulate you on winning the prize for this story or not but surely want to say that you know how to lead the life and congratulations for that.

    With Regards,
    Uday Kiran


    Hello Uday,

    Its not often that one comes across people who are sensitive to other people's personal space, and i regard you highly for that. But this is not my story. It is my mother's true story. I've heard this story a zillion times from my mother and by the time i wrote the story (i think i wrote it when i was 17 or 18) , i was so closely acquainted with all of its details , that i knew the story as if it were my own. Therefore, with my mother's permission, i wrote it as if it were my own.

    Am glad you asked.