That phone call still reverberates in my ears. Mom’s voice still seems to be fresh and clear. She was in a rush. Somewhat in panic.
I chose to ignore. Lying on my thin mattress, trying to break open its stitches by my right hand, I held the phone by my left. I stayed in a paying guest accommodation at Greater Kailash at New Delhi back in September 2013.
“Everything fine?” I asked sensing a choke in her voice. “Come home,” she replied. My fingers stopped enjoying the little game of pulling those threads of the mattress. It was an unknown deep silence that we shared. I was too afraid to ask what had happened and she was too sad to tell it all.
My grandma was on her death bed. Or she had died. I wasn’t clearly told.
I had sensed something grave while mom and I had this little chat. But she denied it. She said it was all okay.
One one hand I thought grandma was no more, but I rejected its acceptance. It was tough to imagine a hail and hearty grandma so numb and cold. It was impossible to think how she looked dead.
And if she was on her death bed, I wasn’t prepared to say that sort of a goodbye to her. A goodbye that meant I wouldn’t see her again. A goodbye that said that the next thing I’ll touch would be her ashes.
That was the first time I felt that home was far. That Delhi was not my city. That the next door neighbour didn’t know what she was to me. I hadn’t even told her. I hadn’t said that I found her beautiful. Or that I loved those earrings she wore. Its six diamonds and square shape.
I was too distant to whisper it all in her ears.
The journey back home towards Shimla was harder than I’d assumed. I visualised my entire childhood with her. The only thing that I didn’t remember was the day I’d seen her last.
I don’t know why but I’ll never forget the last time she called my name. It was different the last time. Did she know I’ll not hear her again?
But she had promised about never going away. I guess it was the memory of her last call that she had meant.