My tears knew no bounds.
Shedding endlessly as I saw ‘Salma’ in front of my eyes.
‘Salma’, not only my maid..my companion for the last 30 years.
‘Salma’ who held my one day old Raghav in her hands…. “Aapaa, I will feed him if you allow.”I was in tears as my breasts were not shedding a single drop of milk and my son crying in hunger.
She gave her eight-month-old Ali to nurse and held Raghav to her breast. Since then she took the utmost care of my son just like a mother..many times ignoring her own.
She would hold Raghav for hours till he fell asleep.…tie tabeez on his arms …“May Allah Miyan keep all evil eyes away from my baba.” Watching her play with my son I used to say, “How will I repay this debt of yours Salma?”
“He is my son Aapaa, isn’t he?” she would reply grooming his hairs. He called her ‘Sal-ma’.
Time passed by and Raghav got selected in IIT and shifted to Roorkee. Then came the turning point in his personality. He used to talk a lot about Hindutava and anti-Muslim ideology.
And then one night his phone rang.
“Yes, you’re right. They all don’t belong to our country…..Yes, I’m joining too….no one will be spared not a single one.”
I barged in his room “Raghav, what’s going on? What are you up to?”
“You won’t understand maa.” And left. His eyes were different …filled with hatred.
I was restless..his words echoed in my ears….and then I thought of Salma….some wrong instincts forced me to run to her chawl….and froze when I saw all the houses in flames.
“Raghav baba….save me…I’m your Sal-ma…help…ya Allah!”
She was in flames…screaming and Raghav ….my Raghav holding the kerosene tin.
I collapsed thinking that I made my son an IITian but forgot to teach him what ‘BEING HUMAN’ means.
He passed as an engineer but failed as a human.
Shweta Prakash Kukreja