PART 2: “LET ME GO, MOTHER..."
He somehow knew after this incident that, whatever position he might be in, she would be with him. Help him. Love him, unconditionally. His mother… Ganga… (Part-1)
His father got him enrolled in the school. He liked going to the school. Having kids of his age around him- talking to them. And he was gifted. He could remember anything on just hearing it once. But somehow, he could not always concentrate. He could not help it. But whenever he looked outside the window, he was lost in thoughts. Sometimes he was so lost that-
It hurt that day. That tiny piece of chalk thrown at him with such anger, it hurt.
“Where is all your attention? Do you think this is a joke? The whole of Kashi’s kids sitting here and listening to me and my OWN son- let alone listening, doesn’t even care looking at me as I speak…”
His father was indeed very upset that day. He would not talk to his son, that entire day. And if Shravan would try talking to him, he would go away from that place. Shravan felt that he was a lone human in the entire world. There was no one else with whom he could talk to. And he had nowhere to go. He rushed out of the house and ran as fast as he could. He ran to his mother. Ganga would always be there. Flowing with such force- such raw energy! Watching her hurry towards the sea- it could make you forget all the negativities in you. Shravan sat himself on his mother’s lap, both his feet touching her surface. He wept. That was the saddest day of his life. The Ganges, patted him. She consoled him…
But that day, his mother helped him realize something. Shravan was more like his mother. He found her in him. Her free spirit. Shravan saw the Ghats around. Then he felt his mother’s soft touch upon his feet. He felt her say- “Do you think I flow within these man-made boundaries? These stones- the bricks? Do you think they hold me back? No. I am all around. Look around, son. Look beyond the stones. See those sinners washing their sins? They think all their sins turn into puffs of smoke when they wash themselves in me. Fools. I flow on them. Over them. But I never am inside them. These walls, the Ghats- they are physical. Ganga flows into lives. Into minds. That is my strength. A strength, these mortals can never bear in them. A strength known only to a few. I can only be trapped in minds. Like I am bound in you, by your love…” he felt her say.
Each day, Shravan would spend all his time thinking about what lay beyond his world? Sometimes, he would watch the television at his neighbour’s place- strange places, and strange people in it would capture his imagination! They were so different from his world here. He wanted to go away. See those people. Meet them.
One day, he told his father about his desire. His father listened to him, patiently. He then said, “Shravan, you belong here. In Kashi. Those strange places are not for us. Those places would never like people like us, visiting them. Those places would never be good to us. Your life is here, son. Kashi knows you. The soil knows your scent. The air around has seen you grow up. The walls around have seen you loose your first teeth. Your mother, Ganga, flows here. Not anywhere, but here. I am here… You understand”?
He understood. He understood that his mother was in him. Ganga’s spirit in him, urged him to know himself. Identify his soul with hers. He understood that, he needed to leave…
And he left. He remembered the night he left, very well. His father was asleep. He had managed to tie up some of his things in a bundle. He touched his father’s feet while the later was asleep. He left the house and went along, to bid farewell to his mother. He took her in his hands and placed her on his forehead. Somewhere inside his head, he had a feeling that this had happened before. An initiation. He was just about to leave- when his mother took his bundle from him. He tried to take it from her. But she would not give. It was as though she was pleading him, not to go. Perhaps there was something out there- that would harm him. It was as though she held him by hand and did not allow him to leave.
He made her understand that he was ready for it. Ready to see the world beyond here. He was like her, he made her understand. Just like her, Ganga. He convinced her to let him go. He also promised her, that he would come back to her. One day. Some day. And he felt her hand pat his feet, gently. His mother let him go…
(..To be continued., Part 3: “In a new world…”)