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Mom's Color Code
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Mom's Color Code
Relationship between mother and son. The very intricate relationship that needs no description.
[1,287 words]
Partha Pratim Majumder
A creative story teller of India.
[August 2006]
And The Light Returns !!! …” (Short Stories) God finds out the earth with values eroded. To him, erosion of values means absolute darkness. When he fails to find out values in the all levels of the society including top, an ordinary ragpicker... [1,392 words] [Literary Fiction]
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Mom's Color Code
Partha Pratim Majumder

At first I used to spit on them for teasing me. They said that I did not resemble my mother any way since I was not as black as my mom. That was why they were sure that I was not my mother’s son. Thereafter, I used to search for coaldust or charcoal to rub on my skin to have my motherish deep dark shade. Finally, I used to cry my heart out for not reaching minimum shade of my mom. At that age of six, I was confused as they all were amused to get burst in laughter. Even my mom too.

I was called as an angel then and I used to hate myself for my fair complexion. I used to envy so many mothers’ sons around me , to whom my fair complexion was ever a matter of envy. My complexion of the color of sugarcane juice could fail to prove that the deep dark woman with deer eyes was my mom, That point I could not prove during her whole life.

I can not prove anymore because she was cremated an hour ago.

After I had become big enough to punch a boy at his jaw or roamed around with a group of followers , the teasing perished. None did cut such nasty or silly joke over the difference of complexion of me and my mom. Teasing was probably a child-age syndrome.

But my brain consumed that as an addict.

Now I am on the way back home in the whirl of the city . If this city were flat, if all buildings were only as high as the people inside , if all the lights were switched off, the sky washed clean, the factories gone to sleep with cars and vehicles , I could have seen the smoke from her pyre, the fire dust in the air with molecules of her dusty skin, burnt hair, frozen eyes, dry mammary , damaged abdomen, cancerous uterus, cracks at heels and white strings in the forest of her pubic hair - the remnants of an old woman , who perhaps was born to be a mother giving everything from breast milk to the last drop of affection for her womb – marked living creatures.

At the sight of dense smoke of the pyre burning my mother to ash , I would have then made an exception, rolled the cab’s windows down. Let some particles glide past my tired eyes to burn to make me say ,” Dear mom, you are beyond any proof or dispute now. Moms are always so.”

I don’t know whether my mom’s last touch in the air engulfs me and the city I live in. All I know is that the moon will certainly slide into the right place, the clouds will gather in their own way. The stars will blink like ever before to witness the last tram with metallic sound stifling silence of the road. And the city will go to slumber tonight without my nightblack mom.

And from now onwards, she will be nowhere around me except in her giant photograph in a wooden frame trapped with a couple of dead cockroaches. The woman – with the spread of vermilion on the road of parted hair – staring at me straight wherever I stand in the room .
Paradoxically, on that rainy afternoon, she could not locate me on the road in bewildering stupor whilst running , immediately after I was rescued from sinking in the river at my age of seven. I, while shivering in fear and chill of cold water, had to shout at her, “Look, Mom ! I’m here”. It seemed to me that she was blind in the tension of seeing my corpse , not me.

I was mere child, four or five, naked, standing at the washbasin. My slender waist was under her grip. Her glass bangles created noise in fragile tune, as she started rubbing my groin with soap, water and towel. I balanced myself , my left hand rested on her head and right leg on her left knee. My eyes were on the red vermilion smeared passage between sets of hair in search of lice. Her head turned to interact with our cook at the kitchen. The more her instructions used to continue , the more rubbing of soap on my soft skin would burn the tissues, making me wet for longer period and susceptible to pneumonia. She used to comb my hair in vengeance while grumbling – “how long will it take for you to grow to do all on your own? ”

I did never bother about my growth at that age. Although my mom did. After bath , she used to move to bedroom holding my hand wearing a slipper – clap-clap-clap. The tip of her nose was oily , part of blouse was wet. Loose hair fell on her sweated cheeks glued.

Her days were too short to oversee me and my sister , but with individual focus – cooking, joking ,feeding, reading, washing, rushing ,mopping, shopping , laughing with and roughing us up at times . Her nights were too long to discreetly weep in silence – for fatigue, for forgetting that she was ever alone and a young woman, and had her own life striving for becoming a singer, poet or a writer. Or, for that man with receding hairline and steel framed specs holding two sharp and intelligent eyes, whom she never married.

Intermittently, she used to cry killing the silence of midnight – after being beaten by my father. That time, I could see her shadow on the wall from under my blanket as lying frozen in fear. An unhappy and broken woman in night with smudged vermilion and distorted voice. Next morning, I wondered to see her fresher than the sunray. Bathed, combed, smiling – sitting before God with folded hands praying for her children and their dad.

I was fond of pets – birds, dogs and chicks. My mom allowed everyone of them to enter my life and our apartment which had turned to a mini zoo, and took enormous pain and labor to look after them so that her children might feel happy and thus gradually burning her candle of life, till the selection of my better half.

She denied my choice, and uploaded her mind to indicate her possessiveness over me by way of selecting her bosom friend’s deep dark daughter as my would be wife. Being a hot and handsome young man , I was deluged by the love of young feminine curves and of fair complexion of all those models and heroines. I even dreamt of fair babies off fair couple – me and my wife.

Thus the color code of six faded when I was twenty six. Black or dark melted in the blue to see white or off-white emerge. I dared to marry fairy of distinct and aristocrat man’s palace , where maids and servants were all black. My mom was gradually taking track to the darkest corner in moulded tolerance to go unnoticed. My wife made her leave me and house to an old age home. Instead, two white dogs , gifted by father – in - law were accommodated in my flat for security reasons.

So, mom, finally you get a better shade in death –from black to gray in ash. And what about your lifetime sacrifice , love, affection ? Are they as colorless as your breastmilk ?

I transpire to be red as vermilion in shame.

But , I am afraid, they were right. I can not be your son, even if color code of our blood is same or DNA test confirms so.



"This has such a wondeful poetic favor to it. I loved the usage of color in this piece. I was completely tied to the protagonist and that enabled me to continue reading the story. This is simply a wonderful story written well and good enough to be published." -- e. rocco caldwell.
"Dear Author, you are simply brilliant..... I am thrilled to read such a well structured piece on the intricate relation between every mother and her son. Fabulously rich and poetic. " -- Sanjukta Mazumder, Jamshedpur, Jharkand, India.
"V" -- Vishal Gupta, New Delhi, India.
"Quality prose.... Brilliant imagination... Gripping...Reality arrested in words.... Congrats. " -- Himani Misra, New Delhi, India.
"Excellent Prose. Interesting Topic. Main character takes his readers to the end in complete command. Fine , Very fine." -- V. Ranga Rao, Mumbai, Maharastra, India.
"Very well written..... many thanks for such an original piece. " -- Raju Srivastava, Benares, India.
"Kudos to you, Partha Pratim. Strong pen.... poetic flavour but straight hitting... I like it." -- Jyotibhusan Halder, Ranchi, India.
"superb... " -- Brian H, USA.


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© 2004 Partha Pratim Majumder
February 2004

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