“Hello?” She spoke
“Hey.. you need something?”
“Ahh yes, sorry to bother you mister, but can you get me a glass of water?”
She forgot my name, again. Amnesia is a part of her life now; our life.
It’s been an year since I heard her songs, the stories of her childhood. I am tired of making her remember me. I am tired of her forgetting me. I don’t think she remembers her children either.
I spotted them once crying because their mom doesn’t know who they are.
Last week we all took turns and made her remember she was a part of family.
“Hello mum, do you remember me?”
“I’m sorry dear.”
“I’m your daughter, Vani.”
“Come here.” She hugged Vani and kissed her hands.
“This is my brother, your son Aakash.”
“He resembles the old man sitting there.” She pointed to me and we all chuckled together.
“Maa, here.” she opened the album and showed her the little memories we made. “Here’s me, Aakash, paa and you. You were very beautiful then.”
“I’m beautiful now too.” I was amazed she retained her sense of humor.
“Do you remember who I am?” I asked her.
“The young one here says you are my husband.”
“Yes I am.” I showed her the ring. “I’m Vinay.”
“Nice to meet you.” She smiled and I laughed.
“We haven’t talked in a while. I miss talking to you.”
“I miss everything. I am upset I cannot remember my family, my kids, their childhood, our wedding and you. I don’t even know how sad I am, I don’t remember what I’m sad about.”
“Don’t worry, I’m here, I will help you remember us.”
After that it has been a series of sad attempts. Videos, pictures, movies and old friends all failed to connect with my wife. I remember her birthday when she forgot it was her birthday or how old she was.
“Happy birthday beautiful.”
“Thank you.. uh.. um..-”
“Ahh yes.. Vani, my dear child. I love this cake.”
“Dad brought this maa, it has a picture of all of us.”
“Yes, I love it. Here’s me, you, Aakash and uh. . . your dad.” She looked at me trying to guess my name and I wondered if the effort is futile.
“How old am I now?”
“A century maybe.” I said
“Ofcourse not, he’s kidding.” Aakash said.
“But I still look younger than you old guy.” She said and smiled.
“Mum it’s time for presents!”
“Really? Do they sell gifts for 100 year old women?”
“Apparently they do. Open mine first!” Vani said.
“Okay.” She opened the little box and found a brooch made of petals and little smilies.
“You gave me a similar one when I was a little girl. You said, it would bring smiles and happiness to everyone around me. Now I wish the same for you.” Vani hugged her and she hugged back. We knew she didn’t remember anything yet she was glad.
“Thank you baby. This is very sweet.” I could spot tears building up.
“Hey don’t go crying, I’m next now.” Aakash said.
“All right, what did you bring?”
“Here.” He handed her a painting.
“What is it?” She asked.
“It’s one of my masterpieces, you helped me paint it.”
“Yeah, you did. The value of this painting is in Lakhs now.”
“Really? That’s amazing. Then why don’t you sell it?”
“In your hands, this painting is priceless.”
“Ohh dear” she hugged him tightly and started kissing him.
“Maa, Papa got you a gift too.”
She looked at me and smiled.
At the age of 65, she could still enchant me.
“Hey I was struggling to find the right gift, so I brought this.” I handed her a bouquet.
“This is sweet too, thank you.”
“It has white roses, your favourite.”
“I guess they are now.” She winked.
Today, I look at the same flowers, bundled up in a vase next to her thinking if she remembers the fragrance, if she recalls her birthday, if she knows who I am.
As I was struggling to sleep, I heard the familiar hymn. Her hand on my forehead with rhythmic pats.
She said, “I remember our song, Vinay. I remember all of it.”
The pats stopped.