"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan




The old woman lived alone, in the home she built with so many aspirations. Her husband had died long back and son was settled abroad with his young family. On many days, she would yearn for activity around the house; for grandchildren to run up and down the hall, for her daughter-in-law to try new dishes in the kitchen. Yet she never tried to pull her son back. He seemed happy with his life; and she still had her solitude to reconcile with.

But when solitude becomes imposed, it turns to loneliness.
 
One fine day, a ray of hope entered through her door. A blind boy, Santosh, from the boys’ hostel came knocking. She found him a charming boy, full of dreams. He had approached her to be a scribe for his exams. She eagerly accepted. He would dictate and she would write. He would speak and she would smile. He found a dedicated and excited helper in her, and she found a reason to smile again. They made a great team. She cooked for him and read his books aloud. They would sit in the garden for hours at stretch. In the midst of all this, she had totally forgotten to call on her son and it looked like he didn't care either. When she learnt Santosh was an orphan, she was heartbroken and started drawing up plans to adopt him.
 
But fate, its seems, is not without a sense of irony.

She received a frantic call from her son one day. He seemed greatly worried; his maid had quit and they weren’t finding a replacement. His wife was throwing tantrums and his family was falling apart. He was desperate to have his mother join him abroad. This put her in a dilemma. On another day she wouldn't have second thoughts. It was her own son after all, and she would have eagerly travelled, but now thoughts of Santosh held her back. If she would pack up, it would be like abandoning Santosh mid-stream. She had brought the blind boy out of his darkness, and couldn't see him slump back to his wretched life of misfortune. For her son, she was nothing more than a handmaiden in mother's skin, but for Santosh, she was a fairy god-mother. Her son would probably find another pair of hands, but Santosh may not find another pair of loving eyes.
 
On one side was a relationship built of blood, and on another, was a relationship watered by love.
 
A strange sense of despair crept over her. She couldn't sleep the whole night. She kept shivering and sulking. She repeatedly got up and walked around the house like a besotted ghost. Early in the morning, she buried her head in the pillow, and cried! In the evening, when she finally managed to open her swollen eyes, she called a cab to drop her to the airport.
 
And flying she went... leaving her heart behind; half of it for a borrowed son, deprived of the love that he lovingly claimed but probably never deserved, and the other half for the house, whose halls were built to resound with laughter but were now, probably, locked forever.
 
Whoever said blood is thicker than water, was probably a vampire that drank a lot of mothers' blood.
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