No One Has a Right to ...........

by Dr. Pran Rangan


The story narrates the feeling of intense pain of a mother, caused by her loneliness, which results from apatheic attitude of his son and family. But she never expresses it even by her behavior because she believes that her happiness lies in the happiness of her son. Even her impending death cannot dissuade her from wishing them happiness!

Sunanda lies in bed waiting for her son, whom she was expecting to arrive to meet her in her last moments. She had emaciated badly due to pancreatic cancer and was awaiting an imminent end of her worldly existence. She had hired a female nurse to help her in this pitiable condition. The neighbors staying in nearby apartments in her residential complex used to come a few times a day to find out about her condition. This tremendously lessened burden on her heart, which was all the more intensified by the absence of her only son and his family. Some neighbors tried to reduce her loneliness by spending time with her out of their busy life. Whenever she was alone, she used to bring back to mind many memories of her past that she had cherished most.

Ten years ago -

She had been living as a happy family with her loving husband and a handsome son Abhay in the city of Bengaluru after her husband retired as a Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Central Government of India since five years. Her husband liked the city and, therefore, purchased the apartment they were living in. Her son was also pursuing his engineering degree of B. Tech. in the same city in a prestigious college. When he was in final year of engineering course, his father died due a massive heart attack. This threw the family in an emotional tailspin. The bereavement proved to be quite profound for mother and son as they found their lives without a rudder to help them move on. But, in due course of time, they were able to make peace with their adversity. In spite of his emotional turmoil, Abhay worked hard to finish his final year with flying colors. This further lessened their emotional pain they were going through.

After graduating from the engineering college, Abhay got an appointment as an Assistant Engineer in a multinational company in Bengaluru. But while working in the MNC, somehow he developed a liking for Canada and made up his mind firmly to emigrate to work there. He started making serious efforts to seek a suitable job in Canada. He finally got a suitable one as a Senior Engineer in Vancouver. When he broke the news to his mother, she didn't hesitate to express her happiness even though she immediately felt lonelier at heart. In fact, Abhay didn't notice it probably because of his excitement of going to Canada. Alas, his mother thought he could have felt her feelings!

Abhay became busy in making the preparations for going to Canada, meticulously checking every detail. Still he couldn't fathom the feelings of his mother. The night before the day of his departure, he went to bed at 1.30 A. M. as he was having a heart-to- heart chat with his mother. He made her promises that he would look after himself well and contact her immediately on reaching there. But, despite spending a good amount of time with her that night, he couldn't sense her emotional undercurrent as she masked it expertly so as not to rob him of his happiness.

She went to see him off at the airport next morning. After he left, she felt an intense feeling of loneliness but she could console herself by saying silently - no one, even a mother, has a right to rob someone, even her son, of one's happiness. On way back to home, she kept on blessing him profusely, wishing all the success and happiness.

Abhay informed his mother about his arrival as soon as he reached. She felt relieved of her tension about his safe arrival in Canada. He again informed her soon when he joined the new job telling her that he liked it. He also conveyed his many impressions about the city.

It had become a regular trend that in the evening he used to give important information to his mother about all that expired during the day. She always used to look forward to conversing with him on phone in the evening. She always felt better once she had conversed with her son. But overtime this regular trend became irregular as he began phoning her less often. She felt worried about his welfare whenever there was a long gap between their talks. This at times increased her loneliness. But gradually she adjusted herself to such long gaps. She always prayed to the Almighty for his welfare, sometimes consoling herself by saying silently - no one has a right to rob someone of one's happiness.

One fine morning, Abhay phoned Sunanda that he had married a local Indian girl Aarti but couldn't inform her earlier as it happened pretty fast. He informed her that he couldn't have been able to find a better wife than Aarti and she would also find her suitable in every way for him. He told that her daughter-in-law was interested to meet her and promised that they both would come soon to Bengaluru to take her blessings. This unexpected news gave her a strong emotional jolt, which she was able to overcome with some difficulty. She was unable to understand the circumstances that forced Abhay to act in this manner.

As usual, she consoled herself by saying silently - no one has a right to rob someone of one's happiness. This incident increased her loneliness. She used to assuage her loneliness by reading holy book of The Bhagwat Gita and visiting regularly a nearby temple.

With the passage of time, her contact with Abhay became lesser and lesser. Sometimes, she also tried to contact him on phone but could reach only after many failed attempts. She couldn't figure out the reason behind emotional indifference of his son and daughter-in-law. But, as usual, she was always eagerly awaiting his phone calls. And whenever she got one, she was overwhelmed with happiness, which only lasted for a short time, being replaced with loneliness again.

Then one day she got happy news that Abhay and Aarti had been blessed with a son. She was very happy when Abhay broke this news. She blessed her grandson for a happy and long life. She also gave heartfelt blessings to Abhay and Aarti.

Life moved on as usual and she was able to adjust herself to utter apathy of his son and his family to a great extent. The Bhagwat Gita always proved to be a dependable companion in assuaging her loneliness. She also developed good relationships with a few neighbors, still trying to add some significance to her existence. She was getting phone calls from Abhay with increasing infrequency. But, on getting a call, she always felt happy for Abhay and his family and liberally blessed them.

Somehow, ten long years of her life passed hiding many happy and unhappy memories in their continuum. But one day ill fate again gave her a hard blow, when she learnt that she had developed pancreatic cancer, which was in an advanced stage. She informed Abhay about it hoping that he would now come to meet her. When even this news failed to change Abhay's behavior, she resigned herself to fate, deciding not to disturb their happiness - no one has a right to rob someone of one's happiness.

Her condition deteriorated fast and on an ill-fated day, she was waiting for her imminent end, thinking loudly - no one has a right to rob someone of one's happiness.

But her kindness never allowed her to think - no one has a right to ignore someone's unhappiness while being totally immersed in one's own happiness!

A week after Sunanda's cremation was performed by her neighbors, Abhay came to his home with Aarti and their son. They stayed for a week and left for Canada without a feeling of remorse after finalizing sale deal of the apartment he once lived in with his mother and father.

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