The letter

My life was tragic until one day when a postman showed up at my door with a parcel on which was written ‘urgent’. I shuddered even more when I saw my name on it. Something urgent for me would mean even more trouble. Maybe it was the landlord asking for money he lent to my mother who died without telling me a bit about what she had done and what she had not.

I kept the parcel on the table and sat beside it; wondering whether or not to open it. My eighteen-year brain smacked my head subtly, saying that I had to.

My mother was a wonderful being. She smiled despite the hardships my father made her face, single-handed. Above those, she had my responsibility as well. I didn’t complain. Never. Not even when she forgot to pack my lunch or not show up on my annual function. She had difficult things to do for my sake. Oh, my father! He was an alcoholic. Forgot that he married my mother and continued to treat her as if he paid her for all she did. And she would say no word against him. I didn’t complain. It was her respect towards him, and mine towards her.

When I was fifteen, my father ceased our miseries partly. He passed away. But what he left behind was a heavier burden, his debts. Paying them off was a difficult task that stood at our threshold. My mother inclined me to focus on my studies. I would bring better light in the house through it, she said. And when two years later she died, I was in a state inexplicable. Before I could remorse of her death, I had things to look into. Her debts, my father’s debts and my education loan that I had taken six months back.

When I opened the parcel, there was money in it. I was taken aback. I looked at the cover again, there wasn’t a name. When I looked at the money again, I couldn’t help, but smile. It was strange for the cover had only one name – mine. All I wanted to know was who cared for me?
Few days later when I cleared my mom’s belongings, I came across her accounts she maintained about her debts and my father’s. She didn’t go without saying anything.

I paid off the debts and continued to study. To cross-check, I went to the post office. As usual, they did not reveal any details.

Somedays, I sat up late at nights studying, and would feel somebody sitting beside me. I would look around only to realise that I was all alone in the house. Somedays, when I came home late, the lights would be on, strangely. But I didn’t take notice of all this until one day when I forgot to arrange my clothes for the next day and mindlessly went to shower and when I was back, the clothes were ready on my desk. I shuddered. There was somebody living with me. And the doorbell rang. I carefully walked the aisle and picked up the broom while walking. I opened the door and let a sigh of relief. It was the postman.
“Sir, your letter.” He fumbled.
“Thank you. who is it?” I asked.
“I don’t know, there is no name.” I froze and looked back. There wasn’t anybody.
I took the letter and shut the door. When I opened the letter, I couldn’t believe of what I read. There were details and numbers of people who could be of my help. Random people who I never heard of.
I rushed down, huffing and caught the postman.
“I need to know who sent this letter?”
“It’s not possible, sir. The sender hasn’t written anything.”
“But you would know. You would know where these letters came from.”
“I wouldn’t. Maybe the master knows. I have to ask. But why are you panting.”
“Let me know tomorrow, will you?”
The postman never came after that day.

I celebrated my twentieth birthday with the orphan kids. The pain in their smile wouldn’t be deciphered had I not been in their place as well. That day, when I reached home late, there was a birthday present at my doorstep from maybe the same nameless person who had been writing to me about things helpful to me. I only smiled. I slept a little less that night.

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon CoolPix885 0000/00/00 00:00:00 JPEG (8-bit) Normal Image Size: 2048 x 1536 Color ConverterLens: None Focal Length: 11.1mm Exposure Mode: Programmed Auto Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern 1/45.6 sec - f/3.2 Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sensitivity: Auto White Balance: Auto AF Mode: AF-C Tone Comp: Auto Flash Sync Mode: Red Eye Reduction Electric Zoom Ratio: 1.00 Saturation comp: 0 Sharpening: Auto Noise Reduction: OFF [#End of Shooting Data Section]

The last time I worried about my expenses was when my mother was by my side. Now, every month, without fail, I received money orders from an unknown person. I began to call him my Guardian Angel. My friends considered me sheer lucky.

I began avoiding to stay alone. Somedays, I went to my friend’s place; some days, I invited them over. But that couldn’t happen often. I was scared. But the letters were reassuring that someone cared.
In the previous letter, the person mentioned that he was happy that I was graduating the next month.
I had seen my graduation day even before it had come. I had decided that I wouldn’t cry even though I would have no one beside me.

Two months later, I got a job. I didn’t have anyone to share my news with who would be happy for me. The next day, I received a letter. Maybe the last.

“Dearest Kabir,
I believe that you no more need me. You are capable and on your own now. Maybe it’s only love that I cannot give you any more. You have seen a lot in the past, that has made you. And you will see a lot in the future which will make you stronger. Never lose hope and continue to believe in yourself.
You no more need to get scared in your own house. Couldn’t help, I wanted to make sure that you were okay. I wanted to tie your tie on the first day of your office. I wanted to greet my daughter-in-law when you would bring her home. I wanted to just be around arranging your clothes when you forget. Sometimes, I stay up late even when you don’t return home. I still want to do the same, but I can’t be around.
I might still be around, with the winds or the trees, smiling at you at each step of success you take.

Today, tomorrow and always.
Your mother.


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