MIDWAY : Supreme sacrifice

Namita Nepal

The mercury was plummeting steadily in Kathmandu. It was time, I thought, I expressed my desire to mom that I needed a new sweater. The old one was almost tattered. “I would fetch one for my darling daughter the next year,” she said. As most college-goers would have it, I started lobbying for it again. And that she kept on pointing to the same scruffy sweater before walking out of the room told me that she was firm on her decision. But at one particular occasion, no sooner had I broa-ched the subject of a new pullover, what I saw in my mothers face left me dumbfounded. I could see tears welling in her eyes and whatever she was saying in a muffled voice did not reach me.

That was when my protests eventually ran out of steam. I was not so dumb enough not to know her burden of meeting the family ends meet, and single-handedly at that. I then stopped lodging protests. While the winter unleashed its fury in full swing, I was but left to either wear the tattered sweater or stay indoors. Impatient as I was, I decided to go out but without wearing the frayed garment. Chums in my neighbourhood were well-protected and were quite alarmed at my scarce clothing. “Why aren’t you putting on the winter stuff? said one. “You will certainly catch cold,” said the other. I did not have any answer to their inquisitions.

I then gradually stopped going to the campus in order to escape the cold and my friends’ curiosity. And this did not go unnoticed by my mom. One fine day when she returned home with a new sweater, my joys new no bounds. I had led a reticent and shy life in the weeks immediately preceding the sweater’s arrival. Exulted over being offered a new sweater, I then resumed my college routine, right from the next day. It was quite worth the wait and all the lobby.

Although the new sweater was enticing, how mom afforded it, despite being submerged in insurmountable difficulties, however, did not quite settle comfortably with me. We knew she had been running the family on a shoe string budget. On top of that, exorbitant as they were, her medicines were but indispensable, not to mention other priorities. A week later, on my way to the college, I stumbled unto the local dispenser. He blew the lid off when he said that my mom had put aside her medicines for my sweater. Benumbed with guilt, the indemnity I mustered to buy her medicines did little to lift the heavy lid of supreme sacrifice — a mother’s love for her offspring.