Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wife's Absence

Emili is away from this morning on a weeklong retreat in Ernakulam. Anne seemed to enjoy the freedom of my wife’s absence. When I came home she was navigating the front door with her big toe balanced on the bottom bolt. The hinges whimpered mildly and bent slightly towards her. As I yelled from the gate, she jumped confidently on to the sofa and landed safely. She seemed to have perfected the art in our absence.

By the time I parked my sedan and got into the house she was sitting disciplined in front of her homework. I stretched my hand to give her the customary sweet bun. I sugared my words with surplus concern as I did not want her to feel my wife’s absence. She did ask me about her but I turned her mind away to the sweet bun and moved up.

The day was beginning to darken without my wife in the house and Anne was playing with her story books downstairs. The bun was over and she was fed up with pictures. Here she comes to the library. “Chachei, I want to see Amma”, her voice whimpered. I knew I have a problem in hand. She has not been without her mother for a long time now. Emily always stood by her when she woke up, ate, studied or slept and today was different and she did not want it that way.

I took her in my arms and held her closer and whispered to her ears and made her understand. She wouldn’t budge. “I want to call Amma” she demanded. Mobiles were banned in the retreat centre. I took her around, read stories from books and in the next one hour she was asleep.
I did struggle for an hour. As she slept lying in my lap I admired my wife’s patience. When she raised her voice in dealing with my daughter I had protested. It was wrong. You know the worth of a mother only in her absence.


  1. A wonderful blog.
    You miss her too eh?
    Since you focussed on Emiley as a mother; I would quote Pearl.s.Buck
    "Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers;but it is love just the same;and most mothers kiss and scold together".
    There is no substitute for mother's love..

    Trust Ann and her Dad cope Emily's absence well.
    god bless you and your family.

  2. lovely wirte up....!!

  3. Sheela Mam, your comments are very well thought out and thought provoking...keep commenting...thank you for your time..

  4. I actually feel sorry for the father who finds an unused ore of patience within him to pacify his daughter, because it is obvious that he is equally needful of consolement at his wife's absence. Who is there for a father/husband to satisfy that quench of loneliness? ...
    Surely a friend like me will be there George Sir, as long as there is enough fuel:-)

  5. George,

    Simple recounting of everyday events, I think is a treasure we leave behind for generations to come, when 100 years down, men look back and wonder what we did, am sure our generation has left a lot more than just formal books, and abstract theories.

    Keep it running!


  6. It is really wonderful narration of the deep experience of once own incapacity and a deep awareness of the partners ability. I hope you make a perfect couple.
    The style of narration is too good. I think you must start writing stories for family and children. You can a lot.