Fourth instalment of my attempt at translation into English of poignant Hindi short story by Munshi Prem Chand, titled , ‘Maa’.
Aditya moved aside a bit and said, “Darling, No need for all that.. I feel no pain. It is certain now that my day is creeping to an end, I am drowning. My role here has come to a close. I find that the lamp is about to flicker out. Can’t say , when my voice too will wane. Before that,I wish to unburden myself of what all I have to tell you. Why take that along to my grave unfulfilled ? I have something to ask of you, I hope you will not say no.”
All the weakness, all her grief, all that pain appeared to have vanished, yielding place to a new strength of will that scorned death and cavorted with catastrophe. A sharp sword sheathed in a diamond-studded, velvety sheath ; the tremendous power that lay hidden in a placidly flowing stream about to tumble, such is the resolve , such is the courage that a woman hides within her soft lap. Just as anger draws the deadly sword out of its sheath, just as technology draws out energy from out of the tumbling water, likewise love lights up the dormant courage and valour of a lady.
Laying her hand on his head , Karuna asked him, ” Why do you hesitate, my dear ?”
Delighted by her gentle caress,Adtya bared his heart to her, ” How do you view my life ? Is it praiseworthy ? Look, you have never hidden behind a veil before me. Now too, tell me plainly. Do you think I can be content and happy over how I led my life, or is it just worthy of lament and remorse.”
Karuna replied cheerfully, ” Do you need to entertain any doubt over this? Did
I ever look down upon you for whatever you did? You have led an immaculate life, unselfish, stoic, and exemplary. Vexed with my difficulties, I tried again and again to drag you into the morass of work-a-day living , but I was conscious and guilty all the while that I was only seeking to knock you down from your towering perch. Had you heeded to me, perhaps it would have gladdened me. Bu the pride and happiness that I would have so derived would not have gladdened my soul the way It exults when I think of the way you led your life. If I were to bless somebody, the sublimest benediction that I can think of is to wish that his life would be so blemish-free as yours.
Her face glowed with pride as she said this , her conscience brimmed with rapture.
His eyes filled with pride and satisfaction , Aditya looked at her and said,” Enough, I am glad now, Karuna. I am not worried much about the kid, I can never hope to entrust him into better hands than yours. I have no doubt that this lofty and blessed ideal would stay with you all your life. I am ready to leave you now without any worry.
Seven years have elapsed.