The Forbidden Cupboard

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As a child I had always seen my mother performing all her duties sincerely and trying her level best for the betterment of our family. So to mention our family comprised of just three members; me, my mother and my father. Though it is evident that we belong to a nuclear family but in the beginning the story was a bit different.

At first, we used to live in a joint family. It was a wonderful feeling to live with the caring elders and loving members. We enjoyed our lives up to the fullest; until one day, when a bad news propagated towards our family. I received a blow when I heard the following words echoing from my father’s mouth; “I have lost my job”. I received even a harder blow a few days later when I heard that as we could not contribute a single pie in the family we have to leave the house. Soon we moved in to a much smaller apartment. As it was very hard for us to pay the house rent my mother took up a job in an entertainment institute.

Since then, my father became a silent man. He found solitude in his isolation and was always preoccupied with thoughts running from everywhere to everywhere. Though he never informed us, but still we knew that he was trying hard to find a job, but unfortunately his luck did not favor him. Then one day when I returned from school I could not find my father anywhere in or near our apartment. It was like he had vanished out of the blue. I searched for him frantically, fear took over me. So I decided to call up my mother. When she reached home she looked pale and terrified, but remained strong. She did not even try to search for him. It was I who ran madly through the streets searching for him. Since then my mother has become expressionless and has become more dutiful and has turned in to a workaholic woman… these are some of the memories and feelings of my mother which I came across the forbidden cupboard. I broke down to tears when I finished reading my mother’s diary. I kept the diary carefully and reached for something; it was soft and smelled sweet. When I took it out from the cupboard I broke in to a wry smile, because it was a little pink teddy which probably my father had given my mother.

Actually I could make it out from the note that was attached to the teddy bear’s ears. The teddy bear though was intact but its girlie pink colour had faded, like the very existence of my father. By now the teddy was wet with my tears. I kept the teddy and my hands came in contact with a book. It was a photo album which contained pictures of my mother and father. “They looked so happy together and so in love”; I Said to myself as I flipped through their photos. It was interesting to see how my mother had taken the trouble to provide subtitles and comments to each and every photo that was contained in the album. There were photos of them from childhood till they got married. Both of them seemed to have had the happiest moments of their life together. After looking at the photos I got even more puzzled as I could not make out what was that reason that prompted my father to abandon us. But my confusion was eradicated the moment I received my father’s letter. In his last letter to my mother my father had cited his inefficiency and my mother’s efficiency as the real cause behind abandoning us. He even questioned my mother’s character. After reading the letter I could deduce that my mother had known about the whole thing from the beginning, even before I had called her. There had been problems between them, every night behind closed doors. In his last words to my mother he even apologized to my mother for hitting her… All of this was hidden from me considering my age. Again I let my hands wander across the shelves of the forbidden cupboard. This time I saw a bunch of preserved roses with dates written, of when they were given…and tears ran down my eyes. Composing me I again searched the cupboard till I felt something smooth and silky. I took it out. It was a crimsoned black satin night gown. I understood that that she had tried to preserve the loveliest moments of her life. But there was one thing that she could not preserve—-and that was my father’s essence and smell. I closed the cupboard when I finished viewing all its components.

I understood why the cupboard was forbidden to me all this while….. because my mother wanted me to see all of it at once. With a heavy heart I went back to my room where I saw my mother. She was sitting there cross-legged and playing the violin…. the saddest notes coming out by the contact of the bows and the strings. Her eyes were still expressionless. Maybe she is still waiting for him to come or… she has already got a hint that he is no more.

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Source by Gayatri Krishna Mitra