Learning From The Dream

10 year old Karisma lived with her mother in a 2bhk flat in Bombay. Shruti, her mother was a single parent and earned her living working as an Interior Designer. Karisma lived a normal life, that is, if you call living without a father as normal. Her mother took care that she did not miss her father. Karisma really appreciated her mother’s efforts though there were times when she missed a fatherly figure in her life.
Seeing her friends being pampered by their fathers often affected her but she cheered up immediately for her mother’s sake because she knew how much efforts her mother took to play the role of both, father and mother to her.

Karisma did her best not to increase her mother’s worries by demanding a lot of things. Her demands were restricted to requesting her mother to spend more time with her.
Though Shruti did her best balancing her professional and personal life, there were times when she could not spend desired amount of time with Karisma. Her ability of being on her toes working as Interior Designer had earned her a good reputation but that was not it. Good reputation came as bonus with what Shruti was striving for; secure future for Karisma. Karisma understood all this, but she could not help being a ten year old, especially today because it was her mother’s birthday and she wanted to make it special

Yesterday, she had spent a lot time under the torch, in her room, making a card for her mother. Her mother had insisted that she should go to bed but she had managed to stay awake past 12 doing little things here and there, including spending some time doing her homework, which was not meant for the next day. Oh yes, it was difficult to control not wishing her mother but she wanted her mother to have a false idea that she had forgotten the birthday. She wanted her mother to get a wonderful surprise in the morning.

After her mother had nicely tucked her in bed, Karisma had kissed her mother and had wished her sweet dreams and pretended to sleep. The moment Shruti had switched off the lights and walked out, Karisma had got out of the bed, pulled out the torch from under her pillow and walked to her study table. The moonlight brightened her room but at the same time it cast shadows of trees on the pink walls of her room. Though she was afraid of the shadows, she had ignored them because making a card for her mother had occupied her little head. She had opened the drawer and taken out all the material she had urgently stuffed inside the drawer earlier in the day when her mother had knocked on the door of her room.
With torch in one hand, she had managed to cut, paste and decorate the card. It was simple but it was made by her and that is what mattered for her mother, Karisma knew it. She also attempted writing a few lines for her mother and hoped that her mother would love it.

Today morning, she sneaked into her mother’s room and silently slid into the bed next to her mother and kissed her on the cheek. Her mother woke up startled because she did not expect Karisma to be out of bed so early. Usually it was Shruti who had to wake up Karisma many a times before finally Karisma bothered to get out of the bed.
“Happy birthday Mom!” Karisma shouted at the top of her voice and hugged her mother. After a lot of kisses from both the ends, Karisma handed over the card to her mother.
Initially her mother complained as to why she had stayed awake at night but later on as Karisma requester her mother to see the card, Shruti had opened the hand made envelope. Shruti’s eyes were filled with tears as she saw how wonderfully Karisma had decorated the card. She smiled when she read the few lines Karisma had written for her. Shruti kissed her daughter once again and looked in her eyes; they resembled the eyes of her father.
“Mom” Karisma said placing her hand on her mother’s cheeks. Shruti came out of her thoughts.
“Get ready, there is more surprise waiting for you outside.” Karisma said and her lips curved into a smile.

“Excuse me; someone has to go to school today.” Her mother said.
“Actually mom, I was wondering if I could skip school today…” Karisma said looking at the floor because she knew how her mother would react
“NO WAY!” was the answer as Karisma had expected. Her eyes became watery all of a sudden, looking up towards her mother she said, “I did not get enough sleep yesterday and I am sort of sick.”
“So? Did I ask you to stay awake at night?”
“No” Karisma replied looking back at the floor.
Both were silent for a moment. Karisma looked at her mother, giving her best performance of making the worst looking face.
“Pleaseeeeeee” she pleaded.
Shruti gave in. “Ok.”
“Thank you mom, you are the most wonderful mom in the world” saying so Karisma turned to go out. She danced on her way out and nearly stumbled into the sofa in the living room.
Shruti smiled and walked to the restroom.

When Shruti walked out of her room she was ready to go to work. Karisma was waiting for her at the dining table. To Shruti’s surprise, breakfast was served on the table. She looked at Karisma and smiled.
“What is this?” Karisma asked looking at her mother
“Are you working even today?”
“Yes of course honey, they are not going to let me take a leave just because it is my birthday.”
“But this is not fair. I had plans for the day.” Karisma bit her tongue the moment she said this.
“You had planned all this before? Including skipping the school?”
“No. I mean, after you allowed me to stay back, I thought of something we might do together.”
“No. I go to work and you go to bed and catch up on your sleep. I will arrange for your lunch, I am sure Mrs. Reddy would not mind helping us today” Shruti said as she sat on the chair.
“That is not fair!” Karisma complained.
“Fine! Get ready; I will drop you to school on my way to work.”
“How can you be so mean?”
“Don’t talk to me like that.” Shruti reacted.
“You are so rude…” Karisma was on the verge of crying
“You don’t care about my feelings” Karisma said banging her foot on the ground.
Shruti was staring at her daughter.
“Karisma … don’t say that.”
“Oh yes I will, you are mean and all that you can think of is work, work and work. You want to earn money and you do not have time for me and do not care how I feel.”
Shruti was silent.
“I planned all this for you and yes, even skipping school. If that makes you happy! I wanted to make this day special because you are special for me and I love you but you do not love me, you love your work. It has always been work for you, you like the importance you get. You think you are doing me a great favor by working but you do not understand what I really want. I have missed a father all my life and I miss my mother too because she is busy working! I am sure if dad was around he would have cared about how I feel about this. I hate you mom,” saying so Karisma ran towards her room. Before Shruti could react she heard the door being banged shut.
Shruti closed her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as Karisma’s words echoed in her ears. She walked back to her room to get her briefcase. On her way out she waited for a moment and looked towards Karisma’s room. She was not sure whether she should go to her room. Finally, Shruti walked out of the house.
Karisma was crying in her room but she could hear her mother getting inside her car and closing the door. She heard the ignition coming to life and slowly moving out of the hearing range.

Learning From The Dream - II

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