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SOLACE

With light fading towards darkness of the evening, silence crawled up the abysm. Indrani sat in her room all alone engulfed in darkness, preoccupied with her thoughts. Her sorrow was so deep that she could not get away from it. She even lacked the strength to get up and switch on the light. Her lips quivered, tears hung heavy on her lashes.

It had been a few hours that she had been deprived of her most valuable possession. Asha had left home deserting her. She had taken with her Indrani's busy mornings, sweet evenings and watchful nights. The chill wind blowing through the window brought with it sharp, intense waves of memories. It was Asha, her only daughter, who painted Indrani’s blank canvas with some hues. It was for her that she survived, it was she that kept her going. On returning home after a hard day’s work, Indrani’s mood was uplifted when she was greeted with a cup of tepid coffee made with a touch of love. Then Asha herself settled down by Indrani’s side with her head on her mother’s lap. What, if in the process, the steam was taken away from the coffee, it certainly did warm Indrani’s evenings. Often, she looked at Asha with love diffused. They were the best of friends leaning on each other. Asha was full of colour, spirit, sunshine and vivacity, always trying to paint Indrani’s life with radiant hues. “The apple of my eye - how fast she has grown up,”she often thought.

In the dark, depressive, desolate atmosphere Indrani’s mind became a shamble of disturbing thoughts. It was another dark, stormy night - the very night that Indrani shuddered to recall, the most painful as well as eventful night of her life. She was on her way to the hospital anticipating the birth of their child ....... and then it happened. Her husband driving through wet, slippery road, a stalled windscreen, the wheels skidding .......he went away -a thousand light years away. The wind howled, the sky wept at her loss but through the hole in the darkness came a ray of light. Asha was there to console her. Indrani lost her most precious possession, the love of her life, but paradoxically, gained another valuable one. Asha came to her on that very storm-swept, rain-drenched night that claimed Indrani’s soulmate, her dearest friend, Asu’s father. The life she had imagined was stolen in a heartbeat. The burden of parenting through grief was stuffed with so many emotions- conflicting ones - she had the child to love and look after, but the person she was supposed to share all her responsibilities with, was not around. Fate gave her one, but took the other. Yet,Indrani was thankful that she had someone to think about, someone to hold onto in the throes of grief. She took her home.

Indrani’s new life began - just the two of them - bonded by a chain of love, happy in each other’s company, living for each other, facing all the hurdles together through laughter, worries, smiles and tears. A lifelong friendship was built with sharing hugs and kisses, warmth and caring. Asha  was her sunshine. But all of a sudden Indrani noticed a change in her daughter. She never realised that Asha had grown up.She did not call Indrani at her office so frequently as before. Sometimes when she returned from office she found Asha was not there at home to greet her with her warm affection. When she returned, she tried to avoid her. Indrani would be in tears, hurt. Asha was growing older and did not need her so much. Indrani felt that nothing will remain the same except the vast sky. They were slowly drifting apart.

The day Asha announced about her love, her desire of living with someone else and the confirmation of her job in a city far away from home, Indrani was taken aback. Why didn’t Asha understand that she was her source of sustenance, all that she had? Indrani was vexed. But Asha was happy in her own world. From a wonderful little girl she had walked into a mature life with her hopes and dreams. The house was absolutely quiet, except for Indrani’s own breath. Indrani failed to realise how long she was sitting like that. Slowly she groped her way somehow and switched on the light. In the mirror she saw her gaunt face staring back at her. At that very moment the mobile rang. Startled, she rushed to pick it up. It must be her - it has to be. As she answered the call, she heard Asha’s voice. Her dear daughter went on blabbering how she was missing her, never been without her and so on.

When the flame dies, the glow remains. The house suddenly glowed and flooded with the colour of Asha’s presence. Nothing has changed. She was there... next to Indrani’s heart....... and always will be. The flame in the heart did change into a glow. Indrani wept the night through with tears of joy. She can never be free of the love and longing in her heart for her only daughter. Asha was happy. How selfish she had been! She must sacrifice to give her daughter a chance for better life. She realised that their love was unshakeable, no matter how apart they may be. That link could never be undone. She was her heart, her soul, her world. She blessed her from the core of her heart.