Selfless Love

Dehati, an emotional story of mother and daughter.

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Dehati- Story of Mother-Daughter Love

Selfless Love
Meera in USA

Bye friends”  Meera was chirping like a bird.

“Maybe my return would take time. So hoping to see you soon” there was an uncertainty in Meera’s tone.

All four Joe, Sayna, Hetal, and Jena gave her a gloomy gesture of goodbye. Looking at their faces Meera too got a bit uneasy.

“Have a good time guys, I love you all bye” 

With the usual pleasantries,  Meera moved outside towards the cab which she had booked a few minutes back.

While the driver was busy stacking the luggage in the trunk of the cab, Meera gave a swift glance toward her P.G apartment. Sometimes human emotions are so ephemeral. On one hand, she bid her roommates goodbye with a heavy heart and on the other hand, there was an intense yearning to meet her family in India. Exactly after 3 hours, she will be flying to her country. Thinking that she settled herself in the back seat and to distract her nonstop thoughts she resorted to listening to music.

At The Airport

There was a lot of hustle-bustle at the airport. The waiting lounge was more crowded than usual. Most of the people were busy at their last moment check-in rituals. Meera hurried to the counter and very quickly finished all the customary mundane check-in chores. Now she had a full two hours to pass. At that moment she realised that on account of her packing the baggage, she had not eaten since morning. She rummaged through her bag but she couldn’t find anything other than a dry half-eaten biscuit pack. Available cafes were the only alternative, so she started walking to grab something. 

Beneath the counter glass, there was a display of various continental eateries. Looking at Salads, burgers, sandwiches etc killed her urge to eat. Merely the thought of visiting India had hailed a wave of nation’s love in her senses and now the cravings for Indian cuisine were on her tongue.. This was something she had been missing in the USA for so long. Her thoughts took her to the day when Mummy Papa had accompanied her to the airport to see off her. Very lovingly her Maa passed a packet in her hand. 

“Meera I have prepared ajwain walli pooris made in desi ghee for you. Keep it somewhere safe. You might face difficulty in finding something to eat at times. These would stay fresh for as long as 5 to 6 days”. There was so much tenderness in her voice.

Irritated at this, Papa brushing maa’s concern aside said, ”Suhasini you will remain a ‘dehati’ as ever. She is a grown-up girl, capable enough to manage things on her own”. Suhasini seemed awestruck for the briefest of moments. She had a bleak look in her eyes. Looking at this, Meera extended her hand, not contradicting Maa’s advice, took that packet from mom and tried to cool the air.  Although it was a tedious task, she had to put in a lot of effort in carrying it to the land of the USA. And with no regrets, she had devoured them in unpredictable situations. But somehow she failed to see that maybe her Maa was terribly hurt by the sharp words of papa, maybe she needed some cajoling at that time.

 “Yes ma’am! How may I help you?” the boy on the other side of the counter asked her.

She shuddered her thoughts, with complete dislike but not thinking too much anymore, she ordered a sandwich and a coffee. The journey was long and eating something would be pragmatic.  


Holding the tray in her hand she spotted a place to sit and eat comfortably. She hastened to reach India.  There was a vague restlessness. The travelling time seemed year long to her. She has been in the USA for the past 8 months.  Fortunately, she got an opportunity to work in one of the coveted scientist’s labs as a research scholar.  one fine day, her brother called her up and proposed to her a plan. Maa papa’s 25th wedding anniversary was approaching and he wanted all three of us to give them a surprise visit. She decided then and there and talked to her friends regarding her visit to India.

“How fortunate are your parents, Meera? You love them so much” said Sayna, enviously. These words triggered Meera’s past memories and she was forced to think about this statement. “Is that true?” “Do I love my Maa the way they are thinking”? “Have I ever told Maa that I love her”? Every answer to her question was making her fall from her own eyes. They gave her a big hand in all the preparations and eventually, within 22 hours she was at the airport.

 Memories have a very strange way of creeping into your mind, even when you don’t need them. Sitting there, nibbling the sandwich disinterestedly, her thoughts took her back to her childhood days. She was the youngest and pampered child in the family. Her father was a government official and was invariably affectionate towards her for which her brothers always envied. She always had an upper hand in everything. Papa, who was diligently looking for a private school for Meera revealed one fine morning.

“Meera will only go to English school,” he said firmly.

“Her brothers are in a government school and you want Meera to be admitted to English school and what about the expenses?” Suhasini looked anxious. 

“Suhasini, don’t be regressive. What’s done cannot be undone now. Don’t just see things from the narrow prism of your experiences. Meera is an intelligent girl and she possesses the potential to become a doctor” papa said dismissively

“You are being unreasonable,” Suhasini detested. 

“A day will come when you will be proud of the laurels she will bring to our family. she will not be a dehati like you. Mark my words” a completely different glow came to his face.

Although Maa was not against the latest trends of English schools, she could not think much beyond the periphery of her kitchen and other expenses.

“I assume that Meera can also study, the way other two children are studying. Speaking in English is not the only criteria of success.”  Suhasini again tried.

“You will always be the same Dehati, Suhasini. And if it’s in your hand, you will never let them thrive” papa never misses to assault mom with insincere kindness. But she never returned the insult.

 “Okay,” Suhasini said, surprised and a bit perturbed at the way he lashed at her. Apparently, she was in no mood of stretching the argument. She, being so naive and oblivious of papa’s narrative, walked away. No doubt, she was a doting mother but her education was always questioned. But today, Papa’s words somehow passively revelled in Meera’s naive heart. “Is this true”? She would ask herself “ Maa is only 5th pass”? Gradually Meera started believing that her maa is a dehati and is a big shame and disgrace for her.

 Eventually, Meera got admission to a coveted school in Kanpur. Obviously, she was delighted beyond measure but her papa’s joy knew no bounds because he boasted in front of everyone about this achievement. He went as far as to serve his boss the ladoos from a famous halwai. An academically inclined person like Meera took this opportunity gracefully and performed well with full vigour. Everything was going on track barring her love for her mother which was falling apart day by day.

One fine day in school Meera was informed that there is a parent-teacher meeting, which parents are supposed to attend. The meeting was after two days. It was the first meeting in this class, so everyone was talking about it on the ground during sports class.

“Thank god it is on Saturday, otherwise it was difficult for my mom to attend” Esha chuckled with delight.

“Oh! But my father has his usual office on Saturday. I am unsure about him” this was Ronit.

“Both my mom and dad are doctors. They are always occupied with their patients. I have to plead with them to come” Rhea was a bit worried.

Meera listened, barely participating in the conversation. Sana suddenly turned towards Meera, slightly intrigued “what about you Meera. I am sure your mom and dad will show up”. Meera was startled by this sudden question. She found herself stiffening up. How can she elucidate her plight to them?. Her mind was flooded with a series of questions to which she had no answer. How will she be able to bring her maa in front of everyone.? Everyone will mock the way she drapes the saree. What if someone asks her about her education or work profile? Her mind was in a churn.

“You should definitely bring her Meera. They will be so proud of you. Teachers are going to sing songs of your praises. Our physics champ”  Rhea’s eyes were shining with delight.

 “Let’s see, but move now it’s time for the next class,”  Meera said, deflecting attention away from her. She was quick to retort. The euphoria was taken over by fright.

Now Meera was frantic with a series of worries. She started brewing some plans to restrain her maa from going to school. Eventually, she thought of the best way of occupying her mother. She asked her to fix lunch for neighbourhood aunties who were asking for a party. She convinced Suhasini that she will join her group on return from school. The plan worked, Suhasini buried herself in cooking and Meera returned back from school with a bag of praises from the teachers. She was happy that she was successful in not taking maa to the school

The seed of dislike and discomfort with her maa was gradually growing, rather decipher. The resentment on her face was pretty readable. Nothing could mask her silent arrogance. Mom too was not oblivious of it. The gap between both of them was growing day by day. Suhasini apprehended the non-verbal forms of expressions of Meera hence tried to rekindle the things and bridge those gaps, but nothing worked in spite of her persistent efforts.

Suhasini was oiling her hair one Sunday morning, when she asked Meera for the plans of her upcoming birthday, sensing her lack of enthusiasm.

“What happened Meera? you are showing no eagerness this year. It’s completely unlike you.” mom said combing her hair.

“Should we plan a party?” She prodded gently.

 “You can call your friends over. Let’s celebrate that way.”

 Meera was aware of her upcoming birthday as though, but apprehensive of calling her friends over. She did not like her mom’s line of questioning and thought of answering something less offending. 

She braced herself,  pretended to be very casual and said “why bother you mom?. It will be a toiling task for you. I’ll give treats to my classmates in the school canteen”. Meera did not falter for a moment, there was rather a ring of finality in her tone.

At that very moment, papa entered the room and said in approval with raised eyebrows. “Yes Suhasini doesn’t stress yourself, let her enjoy the way she likes and we will cut the cake together” His booming voice dominated the room, completely dismissing mom’s proposal. This way Meera once again spared herself from the embarrassment of exhibiting her mom in front of her friends. As usual, she bypassed her moral scruples with a blink of an eye but again missed seeing the wave of agony on her mom’s face because she left the room sluggishly, maybe broken-hearted.

In the approaching years, Meera’s brothers got jobs in different cities and they shifted to their respective places. Meera was entering her youth and had started going to college. she barely talked to her mother, papa was busy socialising and working in the office. Now she needs a companion of her own age with whom she can talk her heart out. This urge made her come closer to a collegemate Rohan. She felt delighted in his company and started spending more time with him. But unlike Meera, Rohan was a vagabond, who had no vision about the future. He even went to the extent of pestering her to spend more time with him but not studies. Eventually, Meera too languished and became a mobile addict. Somehow mom sensed it and found a moment to talk to her in a very soft tone.

“Meera, you are completely welcome to confide in me anything you want.” there was a broad smile on mom’s face. 

She further added “this mobile can only listen, it cannot give you any advice,” she said in her usual demeanour.

This thing was entirely unexpected for Meera. She got offended and blurted out furiously “Maa you please stay out of my way. You always have to be nosy. I know what is good or bad for me. I am an educated girl. How can a 5th pass dehati give me such a piece of advice” 

Suhasini was aghast at this sudden outburst. She could not utter a word. A sudden wave of agony appeared on her face and she left the room sluggishly broken-hearted. Probably now she has developed the habit of enduring all this. The sting of Meera’s tease kept her awake the entire night tossing and turning. She felt absurdly petty and cursed her destiny for keeping her illiterate.  

Meera kept her mother’s apprehensions at bay. Eventually, her life took a toll and her castles in the air were rudely demolished. Rohan left Meera for some other girl in town. This was bound to happen because Meera was hopelessly smitten with him. Her initial surge of euphoria was quickly followed by dismay. She was scattered, her innocent heartfelt pinned. She kept languishing in bed all the time, showing no interest in studies either. The incident left her increasingly despondent about her life.

 Even Suhasini was badly affected looking at her daughter’s predicament. She decided that she won’t let Meera bask in melancholy like this. To retain her self confidence, her love for studies and happiness was now the biggest and most consequential work for Suhasini. Keeping her irritation and ignorance at bay she did everything she could. 


Aircraft touched the ground and her heart was pounding with joy. Meera hired a cab to her home. It was a sunny morning. She dreaded jet lag would positively hit her.

Namit, her older sibling, opened the door. 

“Heyyyy!!  look who’s there. Meera the great”. Namit hugged her warmly.

“Hii bhaiya!! How’s everything? I really missed you all” she said with water in her eyes.

Meera entered the room with luggage in her hand. 

“Where is maa, bhaiya? Saying this she moved and followed the banter coming from the kitchen. Meera found her maa surrounded by around five women. They were buried discussing something. There was a drastic transformation in Maa’s demeanour. Meera stood in a state of bewilderment when Namit addressed Suhasini sheepishly, ”Maa look who’s there” she suddenly moved towards Meera, completely surprised.  For a moment she was completely stuck and could not speak for a moment. Meera came near her and hugged her tightly “how are you maa?” and planted a kiss on her cheek. she stared at her with awe and couldn’t believe her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she kissed Meera like anything. 

“Meera, it’s such a pleasant surprise. Oh! Meera I am overwhelmed with joy. Suhasini’s happiness knew no bounds.

“Sudden plan? And how was your journey? must be tiring? Did you eat something?” Suhasini had a hierarchy of concerns. 

“Yes Maa, travelling time was really exhausting but it was worth it” Smiled Meera.

“And how could I miss your silver jubilee anniversary.?” she chuckled.

“Oh!! So that’s the surprise element” Suhasini 

I looked astonishing towards the women who were enjoying mother-daughter reconciliation. Suhasini instantly braced herself and started with an introduction.

“Meet my students Meera, she is Naina and Shubhi”, Suhasini pointed towards the two young girls who were standing exactly close to the gas stove shoving a spatula in the vessel. And she is Madhu aunty, Kumud aunty and Rumi aunty.

“Welcome beta,”  said Kumud aunty. “ You are much perceived by us as an adorable daughter now because your mom talks highly about you.”

Then started a brief exchange of pleasantries. But Meera was so clueless about the gathering and a part of her was in a state of perplexity.

“Okay Suhasini ji, let’s stop this class here. Kumud aunty elicited the situation. Now You need time with your daughter. We will talk on the phone and fix the next class. Please have a good time”. They left the house together to give us our much-needed privacy. 

“Okay! Now I got it. It’s a collective plan. Nice!! Hmm”  Suhasini looked delighted.

“But Maa what is this all about, you said these women were your students,” Meera asked inquiringly. She could not conceal her curiosity.

“Yes!!! That’s a surprise for you Meera. Maa has started taking cooking classes, you know. In our absence she has groomed herself so gracefully, you won’t believe it. She is also learning reading and writing and she can also speak a little bit in English. I learnt this on my arrival only and now I am so proud of maa. She proved that age is never a barrier and no one can stop you from growing provided you are determined.” There was no stopping for Namit. Saying all this his eyes were shining brightly. 

For Meera, each word he said was like the sight of a rainbow in the sky. Everything seemed so beautiful and crystal clear. She could hardly control her tears. The feeling of pettiness and inadequateness engulfed her. 

“I love you maa. You were always deprived of these words, but now something needs to be added..maybe it will sound cliche, but  I AM PROUD OF YOU MAA” Meera was unabashedly sobbing. Maa embraced her and caressed her head with affection. “I love you beta” maa’s eyes were also damp. 

“Tell me where is papa? Where is Gaurav bhaiya? Dying to meet them.” Meera wiping her tears, was in the form now.

“Gaurav had some preoccupation, he will be here by tomorrow. And papa has just left for the market.” Namit said, tapping on her sister’s head.

Suhasini had a considerably incredible repertoire which was quite explicit now. She was smiling benignly. Her determination had changed her in a profound way.

The confidence a dehati was carrying was quite evident. Her eyes conveyed volumes that her words failed to. It was a new era of mom daughter love.

Hindi version

12 thoughts on “Dehati, an emotional story of mother and daughter.”

  1. knowingly or unknowingly, we all end up at some point treating ourselves superior to our parents only because we got admitted to good schools And we start think we know everything about the world. But we forget that the only reason we got those opportunities of studying in good schools and meeting good people is because of the hard work of our parents. The story beautifully carves out two point:
    1. You come know how deeply you love a person if you distance yourself from that person for some time.
    2. Never underestimate the power of a Mother.
    Also, towards the end of the story, I could also relate you to the story. I am so impressed with the fact that how you have found your passion of life, reading, writing and goes without saying, kudos to the amount of efforts you have put in your vocabulary building.
    Proud of you

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