Exams and sleep deprivation takes its toll on the youth, preparing for exams. In this imaginative daughter-mother dialogue, Santosh revisits her hassled daughter’s mind. Swamped with Dylan Thomas and Auden, her daughter dreamt of DH Lawrence’s snake slithering around, under her bed. An interesting account in Different Truths.
“This Dylan Thomas and Auden have made my life miserable. Oh, I am swamped, Mom!”
“D. H Lawrence’s snake kept slithering around last night, and I even dreamt of someone playing the piano, was it you, mom? Oh, I forgot, you are musically challenged, unlike Lawrence’s mom.” Saying this, she threw back her head and laughed uproariously.
With a rueful expression, I wondered at the unenviable knack of teenagers to hurt their mothers.
“When I look at the trees around, Lawrence’s trees flash in my mind. How am I going to disentangle myself from this quagmire? Like a totally insane person, I imagine a snake under my bed, flickering ‘his two forked tongue from his lips’- but come what may, I will never kill a snake.” She said, shaking her head emphatically.
The exams were playing havoc with her, sometimes sleeping, sometimes not, at other times suddenly getting up with a jerk, all dishevelled and disoriented.
“Snake? Ah that reminds me of the time when you were a four year old, and you participated in a fancy dress competition.”
“Was I ever a four year old?”
At my amused look, she blurted out:
“I thought I was born old – right from day one I seemed to be burdened with exams – exams to the left, exams to the right, exams everywhere. And now a snake under my bed …!”
“Well, you were so cute, with golden ringlets framing your face”
“Golden?” She shuddered in mock fright. “The snake that Lawrence killed was also golden. Hope you are not planning to kill me – your golden haired daughter?”
“You do not have golden hair now. When you were a four year old, you participated in a fancy dress competition, as a snake charmer. I designed a basket for you, a flute from a plastic ball and a tiny branch, and bought a plastic snake for you .And you know what you did? When they called your name, you quickly handed the basket, the snake, the flute to a six year old and stumbled on to the stage without the props. Imagine my disappointment – all the props designed and collected by me, were happily rejected by you- simply because you found them cumbersome.”
“That was real cute, was it not? And I believe in travelling light…h aha. By the way, I am still cute, am I not?”
“But you have a vile temper.”
“Even cute girls can have vile tempers “She said, picking up her class notes and glaring at me .But before she could complete going through the first page , her eyes closed , and her head hit the pillow. .
“Mom, wake me up after five minutes, p-l- e-a- s-e.”
“And I fling myself at the doors of sleep, for rest”, her voice tapered off and her head dropped on the pillow.
Five minutes fled away like a lifetime, I was next to her bed, shaking her out of sleep.
“What…a-r- e you doing…?”
“Trying to nip the evil in the bed.”
“Five in the morning is not the right time for punning. I appreciate it as a literary device, but addiction to anything is bad. Your addiction to punning is a-b- n-o- r-m- a-l”.
“Wake me up after four minutes.” She was again off into the land of dreams, where snakes, pianos and trees vied for her attention. I looked at her, sleeping like a four year old, and planted a kiss on her forehead. Her paper was still a day away, she could sleep some more, I thought, tucking her in.
No, there were no skulking snakes around, I made sure of that.
Pix from Net.
Widely published, Santosh Bakaya wrote three mystery novels, ‘The Mystery of the Relic’, ‘The Mystery of the Jhalana Fort’ and ‘The Mystery of the Pine Cottage’. ‘Ballad of Bapu’ is a poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi. She received the International Reuel Award for writing and literature 2014, for her long poem ‘Oh Hark!’ It’s part of the ‘Significant Anthology’. Santosh is an educationist, poet and writer. She celebrates the extraordinariness in the ordinary people. She has a doctorate in Political Theory. Hailing from Kashmir, she stays in Jaipur, India, with her husband and college going daughter.