The Bird Must Sing

From a long, long time–a time she can't remember–she was always trying...but alas, for somebody else. For her two teenage children, girl and boy; both quick witted, equally unique in their own ways, tech savvy, much like all the rest of the millennials. The two had become her entire world, her only world to be more precise. But, she would try so hard that she'd often come across as intrusive!

She would love to experiment with food, night-after-night, come what may, with help from her seldom derisive babies, just so to please her man. That's because, after all, it had been famously proclaimed by the wise of the old: "The way to man's heart is through his stomach." It did make some sense back in the day or so she thought.

Despite all, each day began, each night ended, more or less, in the same way; like running in a circle. She denied it over a 1000 times and yet she was trapped in a loop ad infinitum. How could she not have arrived at the conclusion that, "To live without newness is to not live at all"? Maybe, she just had forgotten to take interest in her-own-self, or, could it be, that she was waiting for it–the great realization–to come from some place else?

a short story about dreaming and longing

"Mo-ahaaa-MM!?!" Just as when Pria entered the room, her ___ year-old-daughter Pari shouted at the top of her voice; as loud as any Indian news anchor. "You should never barge into my room like this, you know?"

"B-ut, I was just..." Pria stood shook, even though, she had almost seen it coming.

Pari, indeed annoyed, shrieked. "I've told you, LITERALLY, a million times; can't you respect my privacy, like I respect yours; why don't you get it already, ahh!??"

"Whatever," Pria replied with a no-care-attitude. "This is your glass of milk, take it, drink it, and I will leave in a jiffy!"

Just about then, Pari had started to lose it. "Milk? I don't even like the milk," she blasted. "D'you even know your own daughter??"

Pria engaged no further; she pretended calm; put down the glass of milk on the table across the room; then she faded.

Unfortunately, it has been like this for some two-three years now. Well, the two kids had gotten older, probably wiser, in some sense, which is good, except that they also have become perpetually ready to debate and argue!

Vivek, 13, was preoccupied by his favorite computer game; unaware that in the room adjacent, some rampant yelling just had occurred out of the blue! His noise-cancelling headphones were partly to blame, in addition to his innocent ignorance. He did however see his mom enter; place the milk and go without saying.

Much like a Yogi he knew some-thing was up, because, mom would never leave the room without pampering her little son. He was younger, meaning, his hormones hadn't kicked in just yet; and so he quit gaming to be better prepared for a battle, much more real...that whether to side with his sister or with his mother!

"Mom, what's wrong?" he questioned ever so inquisitively.

"Why, go ask your sister." Pria retorted like a typical mother would, in such a case.

So he did.

"Pari, what'd you do to upset mom?" Vivek interrogated his sister; he always would assume that she's the guilty one, unless she'd claim otherwise, of course.

"Urrghhh, get outta my room, you idiot!!" Pari raged just as a typical sister would, in such a case.

Well, someone must say otherwise this game-of-reality better be abandoned, Vivek thought to himself. "Mom, Pari won't let me in!" he complained. "She is always like this with me; what, am I not her brother!?"

"Yeah, and what am I to you both?" Pria followed up with an other rhetorical question.

"You TWO always gang up on me, don't you, am I not permitted to see my own children, in my own house, that is?"

"Oh, I see." He sighed of relief, as if he understood exactly-what-had-developed between his mother and sister. Spoiler alert: he did not.

"What do you know Vivek?" A sparkle of tear just had started to appear in the dark of Pria's eye. She gulped: "I give every-inch-of-my-body to you two, and, what do I get in return...DISRESPECT and CONTEMPT, that is all!"

"So don't naaa?" Pari, who had a habit of eavesdropping, quipped. "Get a f**king life of your own!!"

A daunting silence filled across the length and breadth of the room.

Vivek rolled his eyes. "She's much older," he thought: "But hasn't a clue what not to say when, smh!"

"Mom, please, look at me," Vivek begged. "Don't you listen to her, she's just angry, really, REALLY angry". He looked at his sister, trying to pin her down, with his eyes. "Truth is, we both love you dearly," Vivek continued. "It's just that we don't show it enough, so much like you do, trust me!"

"No, no, I think she's right, Vivek." Oh, a bulb had been lit!

"Please, what do you even mean?" Pari mocked. "Wait, okay, lemme guess, isn't this, what do they call it, ah, emotional blackmail, that you use too often??" She went on and on as a frustrated Vivek goggled at his sister in total disbelief. "Shut up for God's sakes!" He bursted.

"Oh, you two, stop it already!!" Pria felt underrated.

So, she got up; the little bit of tear in her eye just had vanished into thin air; whole of her body shaking with anxiety and her face glowing with a strangely new-found confidence, which, by the way, just for the record, had always remained deep within, her heart. Example: when she went against her father's wishes, to join art school; but, as time ran its course, her morale became dormant.

Never-the-less.

"All what I'm saying is," Pria went on to explain. "I WILL get a life." She emphasized with a glimmer of hope, "That OF MY OWN, you will see!"

In just a moment of calm, the two juveniles had been overthrown from Power. They looked at one another, dampened, by what just had transpired.

Pria, on the other hand, twinkling, finally had decided TO TRY; to try with utmost sincerity; just not for someone else no more!

To be continued...

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