A mother’s soliloquy: They ask me if I feel honoured…
People ask me how I feel. Do I feel honoured? Do I feel pride to have given birth to a hero? I would take off my clothes, if you could see the pain that grips my breast.
My son died. 17 years and three months 12 days he lived.
Add my nine months of labour; my pain for his life. Consider that night when I delivered him to this cesspool of a world. Where grass is green and the leaves turn brown, but men… huh!
Men have been robbed of their old age.
And you ask about pride?
That the very last thing on a mother’s mind.
He liked mangoes. Sweet summer fruit. He would eat and not stop till my voice was raised. Sated, he would lie down, eyes closed, mouth ajar, with his hands on his belly and a fringe of a smile.
Bitter to me is that fruit now, even the slightest sight of that hue. Bitter the sun, the moon, fields of corn and the grocer’s cart. Bitter every gleaming spark. Haunting the chime of the gold plated bracelets. Piercing the glint of zircon.
I cover my face to hide from his absence and they call me the modest proud mother of a hero.
I am a mother, a woman. I make this world and I never take up arms. I fight with love. I care. I lie when I have to make peace. I cringe when a needle pricks and plucks a dying man from eternal sleep. To the warrior, I am that home which he longs for when his bullets run out. I am an artisan who crafts a world view when the kingmakers stumble taking their first steps. When the world leaders shit in their sleep, I change their diapers. To me this is my due. My tithe for the sustenance of life, my part for an act of god.
But an act of bravery, a rash selfless sacrifice, an instance of bravado to me is a folly. And the world so shamefully names it my pride.
They insult my loss.
They insult my tears.
They call them tears of joy.
Proud is the mother whose hand never leaves the firm grasp of her son’s, when she breathes her last. Those eyes are proud which turn to stone with an image of her grown child forever by her side. Honoured is that brow which sweats and grinds on the mat and wrests miracles for her boy. Celebrate her joy, whose legacy has a progeny. Praise be to her, who in decline witnesses remoulding of her blood. Cherish that grace which is a verdict of age. Honour that woman who has stood the test of time.
I do not deserve to be noticed, let alone praised, forget honoured. I have changed colours all my life. From a thing of beauty I have passed into nothingness. My lineage erased. My mark on the history of man shall fade. Whatever the heavens lay beneath my feet have turned to hell.
These hands, these hardened hands, have manoeuvred all human filth. Yet they never reeked. His kiss did heal. His balmy lips would melt away the crust, wash away the rust and overpower the must, but never again.
I wish I could chop them off today.
What good is a hand that cannot fend against the bogeymen of sleep?
Worthier is a brick which stills the guilty mind to drift. Worthier the jabs which calm the nerves of a shaken child. These hands, my hands, once held the secrets of a perfect meal. This moment even their shadow casts a spell of poison.
Where there was love, there is hate.
I am the woman whose sorrow shapes all human grief; a mother whose hurt forges the mettle of stars. Who bears the discomfort of love and gives birth to a tragedy.
I am the nature , I am the nurture.
I am the east, I am the west.
I am the morning prayer, I am the lilting dawn.
I am the cradle, I am the song.
And I am more. Much more.
Who has a right to take my child away like this? A snap of a finger.
What men do claim the mirth of killing my son? Which men? Oh the brutes in arms!
Hear me well.
A heart for an eye. Pools of blood for a teardrop. The vengeance itself will plead for mercy. The winds shall howl no more and the sky will be mute forever. The moon I shall bludgeon to death and the stars would shine no more. The god shall turn a blind eye and your fate in my hands, will change. My nails will etch over the words divine.
Over your happiness will be my curse. Rage shall purge all joy. Vain will be your cause and fight. No room for peace, no respite. And the fear with each passing breath shall fill your soul. All hopes for an afterlife, I will smother with my wroth.
Doubts shall infest your combes, your chattel, your turm, your brawn, your faith. And till eternity folds upon itself, you will linger in the moment of death, on a bed of thorns like a rabid dog, no, like a rabid rat, no, like a squirming worm, no, like a vanquished swine.
No! Like an unanswered prayer, like a mother’s stare, lost. Like a hiccup that never stops, like regret that never leaves, like voices from the past in a mania that smarts. Like a scream unheard, like a cry with no foothold. Like a struggle, which never ends.
See what you have done. A mother’s broken heart is the devil’s cheek. All the storm I have raised, please do not fear, it is contained within me.
Apologies, my killers. Apologies!
I am nothing but a woman. Nothing but a Maa.
I am the first glimpse of love and the last.
I am the freedom, I am the chain.
I am the peace, I am the war.
I am the blood, I am the bone.
I am the crib. I am the lullaby. I am the sleep.
Sleep! I am here beside you.
Sleep well my child. It is a long sleep.
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