STRONGER THAN COFFEE

“When will he be back?” I asked. “Mom, he’s fine. He’ll be back soon” My daughter soothed me. “Mom, will you have some coffee?” She continued. “No, I don’t feel like having anything.” I just wanted to see him, my husband Ram.

I still remember the time when he came to my dad to ask my hand for marriage. I had known him, also liked him, but looking at his determination and confidence while talking to my dad, I felt in love at that moment. At that instance, I knew this man will protect me from all storms observing his confidence, and I knew he will respect me and love me to no bounds observing his tenderness when he voiced my name. My dad was also happy with Ram and his confidence, he asked my decision and we were married in next fifteen days.

“Madhu I have to go to a different city for work.” Ram said. I looked at him; I knew what he wanted me to say. We spoke more with eyes than words. “I’ll stay here and look after our three kids, while continuing my job as a teacher.”He smiled; my favorite smile. “I know you can do it. You’re my champ, my strong wife.” I still missed a heart beat when he proudly called me his wife, even after ten years of marriage. I just smiled him and he hugged me. “I’m not going too far, I will keep coming as and when I can. Also, you’re a good writer; I’ve been longing to read something written by you. Now I’ll finally get a chance, through your letters.” We both hadn’t gained any fortune from our parents, so we both earned to raise our small family; and as I had predicted, Ram always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do, which we passed on to our children. I worked full time as a teacher and a mother too. My older son went to hostel to different city for higher studies, it was difficult for me. It felt as if a part of me had gone. However, it was important for him and his career. Ram, as a result, made his trips frequent than usual. My two daughters occupied all my time, so I didn’t have time to grieve. My older daughter was matured and understanding. The younger one took time to get adjusted with the situation, as she was very close to my son; since Ram had been away during her growing up, she found a father figure in my older son. Ram took hold of the situation and too my younger daughter with him as she had summer vacations. This way we fought odds and storms and grew as a family.

My older son got married, and I was on cloud nine. My family was growing day by day. Then my grandson came, and when Ram and I held him in our hands, our eyes went moist. “Long way we have come, haven’t we?” Ram asked, and I replied with tears in my eyes. My two daughters got married during the same time, and that had been the most shocking part of my life. They had been my lifeline, and they both got married and moved to different cities. I was happy for them; however I am a mother, my heart always worried for them. Ram never left my side after that; we both took retirement.

Our children got busy with their life and their own family, I was happy, yet little lonely. Ram saw this and started planning trips. “We have worked our entire life, now it’s time to relax and see world.” Ram said. Ram and I made several trips to explore India. We also made sure; we were part of our children, and grand-children’s lives. Life was beautiful then.

‘Time never stops’, you truly realize this in old age. My grandson moved to USA for higher studies. Ram was very proud as it was his dream that his grandson was fulfilling. I was sad, but happy for my kid. My grandson got married, and the day my great-grandson was born, was the happiest day for Ram and me. “Madhu, we have achieved everything whatever he had wished for in life. I am sorry, if I haven’t given you things you wanted, and also want to apologize for any wrongdoing from my side.” Ram said, I saw something in his eyes that I hadn’t before. I was scared, I just hugged him. We met our little great-grand child, the little bundle of joy. He brought happiness to all our lives. Ram and I spent all day playing with him, and he also got inclined to us in a very short time. My son held a family gathering, and my whole family was in front our eyes. Ram and I were contented. “Mom, dad has to for some medical checkup tomorrow. He has to leave at dawn and he should be back by evening. ” My son said. I didn’t know what to react. I was scared. Ram and I slept in silence that day. Next day, Ram and my son left at dawn. Ram smiled at me, my favorite smile while leaving.

I couldn’t sleep after that, I kept myself busy, reading something or playing with my little great-grand-child. My younger daughter would just not leave my side. I was alarmed by that, but it also felt good. Ram and I have lived most of our married lives apart, but this few hours apart felt like a life-time. We both knew this day was coming, yet we didn’t know till it came. I felt paranoid by evening, I wanted to see Ram. I started crying. My grandson called his dad, my son. He said they’re on their way. I felt relief hearing that. I waited patiently near the door, and then they came. My eyes searched for Ram, and when I saw him, I remembered the day I had seen him first, still confident and dashing. He smiled, my favorite smile and I calmed instantly.

“Mom will you have coffee, now?” My daughter asked. “Yes, strong!” I replied with a smile. While sipping on coffee and watching Ram play with my great-grand-child, I realized the strength of our love. We have never said, ‘I LOVE YOU’, yet our love is stronger than this coffee. Love doesn’t need to be said, it needs to be felt. I don’t know how much time we have together, however I’ll make it a point to spend each and every second of that time with Ram, my husband, my love.

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