“I’m quite sure Mom, can’t hear us” Meera exclaimed.
“Nah, I know she can. Look she blinks each time I call her” Naina replied in an irritable tone.
“Mom” “Mommy” “Mumma” “Mom”. She showed no sign of being alive. She did not even look like the Mom they had spent days not talking out of anger or talking too much out of excitement. It was the machines that were making her breathe and not the love for her daughters.
“MA”. “There she blinked again.” Naina was almost too excited to prove that she was right.
It was Naina who made her blink. And for the first time, Meera was not jealous of her little sister, but thankful.
“Ma”. They both called her together.
It was the most epic expression they had witnessed in over 6 months.
Meera and Naina sitting next to their mom in the hospital were now building a new relationship with her. The girls were diligent in maintaining a daily update file on their mom. And today they added a new one, their Mom likes to be called “Ma”.
It was pouring today as well, just like that evening. The evening when their world shattered forever. Naina almost gave her famous angry look at the rain from the closed windows of the hospital. The love between them had taken a turn for the bad. It made her only angry now.
Both Meera and Naina looked at each other thinking of that day. It surely did not start as a gloomy one but beautifully grey and cloudy with soft rain all day. Their mom loved rains. As kids, they would dance in the rain and sing songs and afterward sit together and sip masala chai. And even as grown-ups, the tradition had continued. Today, it seemed unreal when Meera had called Naina to drive home early together from college to surprise Mom. And the girls who had never agreed to do anything without a long argument had succeeded in actually driving together home.
Like always, it was Meera who drove while Naina daydreamed looking at the rain reminiscing their most favorite ‘rain dance’ memory. The one when they had used Bose speakers to make their rain-dance party even more fun. “That one was Epic”, Meera said smiling. It was their Dad’s idea to use the speakers, Mom was always too careful about being a polite neighbor. Though she was right because they had some very angry voicemails to reply to after the party. “Remember the special drinks made by Dad, that night? They looked disgusting, but were so delicious.” Naina said laughingly. “That was the first time I realized my drinking capacity, thanks to Dad.”
They had just made it home when it started to pour down like it was the end of the world. Global warming was a very important topic in their house. From a very young age Feminism, Global Warming, Power of No, Equality, etc had been just a few everyday discussions at the dinner table. Their Mom could talk about anything as long as someone was listening. The conversations in their house were random and deep.
But tonight, the surprise was not just that the girls were coming over after a month to visit home but something else as well. Meera had a very exciting news to share with everyone and she could not wait anymore.
When they parked the car in the driveway, they could see their Mom was sitting out on the deck under the 20 years old umbrella that still did its job of protecting them. But strangely today their Mom did not get up from the chair to greet them. Even when Naina ran up the stairs screaming for her, Mom stayed still. It was only when they saw her eyes closed and head hanging lifelessly on the left side, when they truly started to scream.
Screaming for their Dad this time.
At the hospital the doctors explained the sudden stroke had left their Mom in coma. There was no surety that she would wake up one day, but the girls were hopeful. And they had stayed that way for the past 6 months. Even though they knew their Mom would never want to live this way. Her eyes and hand were the most beautiful features according to them. And today one was being used to pump medicines to keep her alive and the other to keep her daughters alive.
One blink for NO
Two Blinks for YES
Three Blinks LET ME GO
It was time for this dance to stop.