The boy is around ten, it is evening time and his mother is taking him over his Gujarati homework – Gujarati is not his mother tongue, merely his second language at school. She is reading something from the textbook when she pauses and remarks in Hindi, “Kan kan mein Bhagwan.” (In every atom, there is God).
The scene changes. It is night time and the child is sitting on the floor next to his mother. She has finished her kitchen chores and is wearing a pale lilac sari. The sari has a special reassuring fragrance, a wonderful subtle blend of her sweet body sweat, her talc and the almost imperceptible traces of kitchen spices. She is yet again helping him with his homework. At some point he hears her say, “Uski marzi ke bagair ek patta bhi nahi hil sakta.” He vividly remembers her saying this, though he cannot remember the context in which she said it. “A leaf cannot flutter unless it is His will.”
As he grew up, went to college, began working, ran headlong into heady pleasures and lacerating pain, the child forgot all about this.
But then, may be he didn’t.
For, when the pieces of the puzzle intellectually fell into place, it all came back to him…sharp in every sensual detail.