An old man who called me Mummy

Life is in high spirits. I easily get what I desire. These words always linger on my orifice like an affirmation.  I was surrounded by my loved ones. Never saw distress or such unhappiness which would break my heart forever. Indeed, I had many crushes which were soon crushed, but they did not bring any effect to my life and touchwood for that!!

Fear of losing a loved one was curtained as I was born fearless, brave and of course a happy soul. For me, my life was a vacation on earth which I was enjoying, until a fateful day when I chose to experience hell subconsciously on this earth and I was promptly introduced to one.

In my school books, I had learned that man is a social animal and when I was introduced to melancholy trust me I forgot the meaning of social and all I could see were animals around me in the form of homo sapiens.


Suddenly, life became vindictive. Fear all of sudden embraced me and for the first time it dared to enter my life in the form of malady and death of my loved ones, but as an old saying goes if demons are around to bring you misery so are angels to get you out of it.

One day when I was sitting all alone in the dark counter near my house with tears flowing down as if a dam had broken, I saw a figure watching me. I stood up and started walking not because I was scared but because I personally do not like people watching me cry. The moment I stood up he called me by my name. I turned my back and saw an old man smiling asking me to sit.

Remember, when my son died, I was sitting here only and crying when you had passed by and said that it is part of life and asked me to write my thoughts in a diary saying that he would read it and I would feel better…

Oh, I realized!! He was an old man who had lost his wife in an accident and simultaneously his young son in a year or two.  I remember I had felt sorry for him when once like me he too was sitting in the dark and crying.  What I could not understand at that time was how it felt when you lose the one you love to death. How you desperately want to hug them asking them to stop for you, how you just want to tell them that you love them so much that life would have no meaning without them. You want to hold them tight so tight that they would not run away even if they wanted to. How you desperately want to convince them to stay because you love them.

Sorry, I said. I am sorry. I could not understand at that time how you had felt inside. I just used words to calm your inner turmoil and this is the way how it is done isn’t it.

Old man smiled and said how wise you are!!

I said no, I have grown up in a day I guess

Old man: I too am grown up but I cried like a baby when I lost my people and twice you came to me and your words helped me. It’s good to use words.

While wiping my tears with a smirk I tried to avoid further conversation and got up to leave.

Old man:  No wait where are you going?

Me: It’s just too late uncle, I think my mom would be worried

Old man: Okay if you want to go I cannot stop you

Me:  Thank you. I think you should also make a move. Your family must be worried

His head was down and he murmured something which I could not hear, and maybe I was not in a mood to hear too and I left.


Next morning, I saw him waving me and asking me to stop

I was slightly better by now. I stood there waiting for him to come.  While standing there I recalled the times when I used to watch him going to the office. The attitude he had, the look on his face was majestic and his skin was like he had directly landed from Iran. I often used to call my grandfather to look at him as he looked like his younger brother. Same eyes, similar hairstyle, self-same skin but different attitudes. My granddad was very affable and he was quite disdainful but now this old man was a beggar of words, he wanted someone to talk to. He stopped people and try to be cute with them but no one was interested because when they tried to be friends with him he showed his stance.

He came running to me and in between heavy breath said can you please give me a diary.

Me: A Diary! Who me!!  In my mind, I was thinking he is a rich man why can´t he purchase a diary on his own but since he had asked for one I gave him one instantly because I had one handy in the home.

I saw his eyes twinkling and he said thank you and ran back to his house like a child.

It was bit annoying but anyways let it be. I chose not to think of it anymore.

In the evening I was passing by his house and he shouted thank you, mummy, for the diary.  Stunned I asked him if he was alright. He immediately came down and sat on the stairs, held my hand and told me the day my mother died I was not so broken because I had my wife to be with. One fateful morning I and my wife were getting ready to go to the office and on one foolish thing we fought like kids. She left for office in a huff without any breakfast. After she had left I felt bad but thought of making it up with flowers in the evening. Alas, that never happened. In another fifteen minutes, I got a call from the hospital that my wife was brought dead to them. Later we came to know from some passerbys that while climbing the bus she was pushed by a guy and her foot had slipped making her fall in between the wheels of the bus.

I tried finding solace in my kids but my kids were married by that time and I was left alone.  I never went back to the office and took voluntary retirement and with the money I opened a general store for my son. Later in life, my son too left this world by taking an overdose of drugs.

I again tried finding solace in my grandkids and daughter but for how long! They too avoided me after a while though they give proper attention to my medication and one day when I was thinking of killing myself while sitting in the dark you stopped and said words which brought back hope. I recalled my mother, you look like her. She too would have said what you did and I decided to live my life. I never dreamt that I would soon find you sitting there and crying and I had asked you for a diary because you gave me hope to live and I tried to do the same when you looked baffled. I can understand what you are going through but this is just the beginning of your struggle don’t give up and thank you for listening to me. Nobody listens to this old man mummy.

I grinned and patted his back and moved ahead.

Two weeks later I went to his shop to buy some goods and he introduced me to his daughters saying she is my mummy. The ladies laughed of course and one of them apologize saying he was in deep depression.

She said my father worked for Defence Ministry and he wanted our brother to join Army but my brother had his own path. All of his life, my father kept three of us in the discipline. He was strict but gave us the best of everything but now we are married and you know it is difficult for us also to keep him with our present families but we visit him daily. Sometimes he does not talk to us and sometimes he acts like a child who has his own small world.

I held her hand and said I understood and I didn’t mind him calling me mummy. Let him be a good son now we laughed and then life moved on. Time passed by and I kept on giving diaries to him year after year. Sometimes I would stop to listen to him and sometimes I would change my way maybe because I was happy and content in my life.

It was the beginning of 2016 when he again asked for a diary and I broke down into tears telling him that my father had left me forever. He was quiet for a while and said he felt sorry that he could not come to bid him goodbye as he was not in Delhi at that time. I accepted his apologies but I forgot to buy him a diary and did not even see him for months. One day while I was passing by his shop he yelled for me in the same tone calling me mummy in front of so many people. I looked back asking him what happened now. He said nobody cares for me now and I feel uneasy. I looked up to his caretaker who laughed it off saying he is saying this to everyone.

ME: No worries son, tonight mummy will pray for your good health and happiness till then be a good boy and stay positive

Old Man: I will try mummy

I could see some uneasiness on his face but thought it was just a bout of depression he was having again. As I turned to go he again called me mummy and as I turned he waved and said Goodbye. I took it lightly until the next day I learned that he was no more …

Such is life. Now you see it now you don’t!! Isn’t it. I felt bad but then what can I do except feeling sad. He had to go to his real mother where she would have actually embraced him saying son I am here with you in this another world where death is not allowed to enter only love and love. I would miss someone stopping me and calling me mummy until I have my own….

God bless your soul son

Love Mummy



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