My mother's playlist (Fiction)

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My father hated music.

Well honestly, hate isn't the appropriate word to describe his feeling towards it. Our house was a silent zone 24 * 7. There wasn't pin drop silence, however. All that resonated within those four walls were voices that had no right to exist. Screams, abuses, sounds of things being thrown and broken and the dull noise created by slaps or beatings.

The windows were never opened and the sun never shone brightly on the yellowed walls. Nothing seemed pleasant here. The wind was either too hot or too cold but never comfortable. The cold was harsh and the heat was always unbearable. It was as if the walls of the house refused to comfort the occupants or shield them from any external harm. Amidst all this chaos, I knew we all had secrets. I danced, while my mom had a playlist. We hid it all from my father as we knew it would upset him. And we didn't want to do anything that could make him angry. 

On evenings when he was away at work I could hear my mother hum. Slowly I would try going closer to hear it clearly but every time she would see me and stop singing. No amount of practice for years could teach me how to tip-toe silently. That is why when he was at home, I would prefer staying in my room. But when I danced, I was quiet as a turtle. Silent moves with not even a squeak. Over the years I had trained myself to dance without music. It was as if I had trapped all the music of the world in my heart. All it took to bring it out was one deep breath and I was gliding like a swan. Within no time I could manage anywhere, anytime. When you don't have any time on your hand to call your own this is what you do - Live on borrowed time!

There were nights when I would try to guess my mother's playlist. Had she ever been in love? Was it love songs she hummed in solitude? Perhaps it was one of those songs you sung our of despair, not knowing what life has in store for you. Or were those devotional songs, the temple priest says they give strength? I would never know. Neither would I know if Ma would dance with me. We seldom spoke of such desires.

Today, as I sit to write this, melodious voice of Noor Jahan fills the air. I smile and look around to notice every molecule that is responsible for the place I call home now. The walls resonate with laughter and tinkling wind chimes, with occasional melodies dancing across the house. The windows are never closed. Every one and everything is welcome with love and sent with hope.

And yet there are nights, when I still think of my mother's playlist and wish I could hear it now. Perhaps she carried those secrets to her grave and maybe, I will do so too. 


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