Now, Biren's is a happy family. He couldn't have asked from Life anything more, thinks Biren.

It was not always so. Biren got married in his late thirties. Like it happens in many families, despite those 'painful scene's between his mom, Shobha Debi and wife, Sunita, Biren's steadfast love for his mother didn't waver a wee bit.

When Shobha Devi started complaining of her watering eyes, Biren as the only son, took her to the eye specialist. After the initial tests at Disha, the doctor informed him that his mother had cataract in both the eyes and both had matured to the point of an immediate surgery. Consequently, Shobha Devi, otherwise a healthy lady in her mid thirties, got admitted in Disha. The cataract was removed by Fico, in the right eye first and then in the left in a span of three weeks, and Biren was delighted when the doctor told him, after three hours of waiting outside the OT that the operation was a success.

Biren took it upon himself to look after his mother in those days, despite there being a maid to do the job. Before leaving for office and after getting back, he would go up to his mother's room, clean her eyes with small pieces of cotton soaked in hot water. He would use the eye-drops, there being precisely three to be put in her eyes one after the other. Not only did Biren wash, clean Shobha Devi's eyes, he loved to offer her the medicine with his own hands.

"I don't know how to bless you, Baba, but if when you become old and infirm like I am now, I pray to God to be by your side. "

Shobha Devi lived for a year more. She breathed her last peacefully in her sleep. When Radha, the maid, came down to his room wailing pitiably that morning and informed about his mother lying perfectly still in her bed, Biren ran like hell up the stairs. The lonely lady had her eyes closed as if she was still asleep.

The family physician told him later that she had suffered a massive stroke in her sleep. Life that came to a standstill on that fatal day for Biren, got back to normal again! Engrossed in discharging his earthly duties, Biren had little time to think of Shobha Devi with the passage of time.

Now, lying in bed, Biren could see how quickly time seemed to have fled since his mother's death. The day his colleagues had hosted a grand farewell in his honor; the day Anu (Anurita, his daughter) graduated from the IT college (what was its name?); her joining a topnotch company (God! Again?) and subsequent marriage - how time must have fled by. He could also recall the day he found out about his short sightedness, having got into a wrong bus on his way back home from Anu's house.

He could also call up how on the same day, after his return home, he got into a heated argument with Sunita. She huffed and puffed, cried and raised hell before leaving for her parents'. Her mother called him the next day and asked him to take Sunita back from their home. But Biren could be very stubborn when he wanted to be. Instead of going to Sunita's, Biren went to Disha on the following day.

Dr. Sen asked him to go for the cataract in a week's time. Biren didn't even inform Sunita, so angry was he with her attitude and stubbornness. The night after the operation when he picked up the tiny bottle from the side table, for a brief moment he thought about his mother.

Sunita came back after three weeks. She was surprised to see Biren lying in bed. The eye pad by then had been taken off but the eye-drops were there lying on the table.

"Let me do it for you. I love doing it." Sunita volunteered to put the eye-drop into his eyes.

"It's all right. I can do it by myself. Thank you anyway." He replied, a bit curtly.

Whenever he thought about those days after his cataract surgery, Biren felt extremely surprised. Even his only sister, Tanushree, who visited him from time to time during and post-operation, hesitated to help him with the eye-drops. She was apprehensive that she might hurt her brother or do something terribly wrong to harm his eye.

How did he use those drops on his own then? Three times a day? Never letting a single droplet miss the mark and fall outside? How did he keep himself from hurting his eye with the tip of the plastic bottle, the consequences of which could have been terrible?

"Both our parents were extremely proud of you. Ma couldn't stop telling me how you would look after her after the surgery. There is something called parental blessing, you know. You'll get through this difficult phase without any help from anybody… "

On hindsight, Biren knew that Tanu wasn't far from the truth. Something from the long forgotten past, flashed through his mind. Shobha Devi lying on bed with tears welling up in her eyes.

"Ma, you know what the doctor said? It's not the time to be teary-eyed. It will be bad for your eyes.. " Biren admonished his mother.

"I'm lucky to have you as my son… . I don't know how to bless you, Baba, but when you become old and infirm like I am now, I pray to God to be by your side. "

The differences between Biren and Sunita were patched up by their daughter, Anurita in due course. Biren and Sunita are a happy couple now. Whenever Biren thinks of his life post operation, in the time of the pandemic, and how blissful life has turned out to be for him, his family - he simply recalls those words of his mother.

Life gets easier to live by when one has parental blessings. Thinking so, Biren breaks into a smile.

The end.

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