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Letters from Aroop


“Dear mommy
How are you? I am fine. I miss you so much.
Life is going on fine at my end. My new work place is nice. I got lots of praises for my presentation last week. My boss even said that if I continued my work efficiency, I would soon get promoted. I was so happy, I wanted to talk to you that very moment. But as I told you, I find it better to express my feelings to you through letters.
I have my basket ball match this weekend. So we practice late till night. I hope we win this time around.
This Sunday, I went out for dinner with Riya, the new girl from office I told you about in the last letter. She is nice, mom. I mean, we could chat on so many topics. You know how introvert I am, but she somehow makes me talk. I always yearn to have a friend to whom I can speak to no end. She seemed like that kind of person.
You must be thinking I have forgotten home. I know I have not been home for last four years. But believe me mom, I am home sick. But as you know, I just can’t afford to take a leave at this point of time in my career.
I know how much you love me. I know you always think of me. Don’t ever feel guilty about anything mom. You have always done the best for me.
Just as I told you I am seeing Riya, I want to know, are you going ahead in life or no? Are you seeing anyone? Or should I ask grandpa to fix your date with some one ? That reminds me, how’s grandpa? Say hi to him.
Rest all fine. See you soon. I love you.
yours,
Aroop.”
Aradhana read and re-read the letter several times. She wiped the tears that had unknowingly flown down her cheeks. She missed her son so much. It had been four years that she had last seen him. And she craved to see him, touch him, take him in her embrace, run her hands through his hair. She held the letter close to her heart. She was happy for her son, and proud of him. She had always wanted him to go ahead in life, and he was certainly on the right path. She could understand why he could not visit her. And being his mother, she knew how bad a conversationalist he was. That was why he always chose to express himself through written words. She too felt good to receive his letters, and to write to him. It seemed more personal and long lasting than a phone call.
She carefully folded the letter, neatly placed it back in its envelope and ran her fingers over it lovingly. She would show the letter to her dad before placing it neatly in the closet, where she had stored all his letters written over the past four years. But before that, she would write a letter to Aroop so that she could give the same to her dad to post it. This had been their ritual for every month, for past four years.
When her husband Rajiv had died fifteen years back, Aradhana was devastated. She could have ended her life, had it not been for Aroop. Since then, Aroop had been her only reason to live. She gradually brought herself out of the sorrow and focused on Aroop’s upbringing. It was not a cake walk for her, being a single, till-then-non-working parent in a metro city to give him the same standard of upbringing and education. But she did succeed in it. Her in-laws had hardly ever contacted her after her husband’s death, but her dad had been a rock pillar and it was he who had helped her pass that toughest phase of life. Of course, there was her brother. He was a bit too preoccupied with his own family responsibilities, but still, he always tried to be there for her in any way possible. But now, it was all past. Now Aroop was a grown up man with good virtues and values, well behaved, well mannered, highly qualified and working with a prominent company in the US. What more could she ask for?
Her dad stayed with her brother’s family just a few blocks down the same road as hers. She often went to visit them. Her brother’s wife invited her over for all festive occasions and otherwise. They knew she was lonely and tried their best possible to give her company. But still she felt alone. She missed Rajiv, she missed Aroop. She remembered the happy days when their little nest overflowed with Rajiv’s love and Aroop’s banter. But now everything was quiet. Many times, all she could hear now was her own breath. And she longed for the noisy days again. But she would find comfort in the thought that soon it would be a noisy household again, overflowing with love between Aroop and his wife and banter of their kids. She laughed to herself at this thought, and wondered if this Riya would be the one…
Aradhana spent the afternoon writing the perfect letter to her son, telling him about her own life, how she was happy with the way life treated him, how much she yearned to see him, how she was proud of him and how much she loved him. And of course adding that she was not “seeing” anyone. She smiled to herself as she wrote that.
In the evening, she called up her dad to see if he was home. “Another of Aroop’s letter? Sure sure, come fast”, her dad sounded excited. She knew how much her dad loved Aroop. He had pampered him from the day he was born. But their bond had grown stronger with each passing day, especially after Rajiv’s death. He was Aroop’s idol, Aroop looked up to him. He too missed Aroop a lot. Even though he never verbalized it, Aradhana could find the hint of tears lining his eyes whenever the topic of Aroop was brought up.
Aradhana reached her brother’s house and rang the bell. She was welcomed by her beaming dad.
“Cant wait to read his letter, ha?”she teased him as she took out the envelope.
Her dad snatched the letter and began reading. Again, she saw his eyes brimming with tears as he read it. She had always seen her dad as the strong person, but with age, he had certainly become very emotionally labile.
“Where are Vivek, Shalini and the kids?” she enquired, to lighten the atmosphere.
“They have gone to the City Mall” he said.
Aradhana went into the kitchen to make tea for them and to give her dad some time to compose himself.
As they settled into their chairs in the balcony with steaming cups of tea in their hands, her dad asked, “Aradhana, don’t you feel lonely staying alone in that house? Why don’t you move here with us?”
“Oh come on dad, my part time job is good, and then I have you all, why will I feel lonely? And in a few years, Aroop will be here. We have to get him married, then I will have grandkids and you will have great grand kids…” she said. Dad did not reply. Both sat staring at the traffic beneath, each lost deep in his own thoughts.
**********
He had struggled to keep a straight face till Aradhana left, but the moment she left, he collapsed as he allowed himself to cry his heart out.
He had received that dreaded phone call four years back, just a few days after Aroop had departed for the US. Aroop had died in a freak accident. It was a terrible blow for him, but he knew that this news would kill Aradhana. He had arranged for the body to be brought to India and done the funeral all by himself, without letting anyone know. He had to keep Aroop alive for the sake of Aradhana. Initially he had done so to buy time and tell Aradhana at a time when she was mentally prepared. But he soon realized it was never possible. No mother could be ever prepared to listen about her child’s demise. And now it was too late. He looked down at the envelope Aradhana had handed to him to be posted to Aroop. He would place it in the cupboard, which he always kept locked, where all those letters, over all the years, were kept. And then, soon it would be time to write another letter from Aroop…

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About The Author

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Ketaki Patwardhan Nirkhi

Public & Government Service

Maharashtra ,  INDIA

I am Dr.Ketaki, an anesthetist by profession and writer by passion. My debut novel, "Those enchanted four and half years" is a medical college campus lovestory. My next novel 'The missing connection' which is a psychological thriller has been launched recently.  Few of my short stories have been published on sites like induswomanwriting, shortstorybook, Muse India, writers cafe, Your story club, Litizen etc. Besides writing, I love reading, travelling and playing casio. My husband, Dr.Aniruddha is also an anesthetist and we stay in Mumbai with our cute little daughter Isha.

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