S/he Said Pause whatever you’re doing, and ask the person nearest you what they’re thinking about (call someone if you have to.
The July sun is bright and keen on the bricks of the stone path in the garden and gently warms my calves as I kneel on the lawn to check the lavender plant. A bee zig zigzags up from the lavender plant and hovers around my elbow lightly touching my fingers. I hear the ring of the phone that lays on one side of the deck. I wipe my hands quickly and answer the phone.
I hear a familiar voice from the other end, ‘Good morning! Are you in bed?‘ Asks my mother.
I stand up, arch my back and say, ‘Good morning mom! It is almost ten and I am in the garden. Remember we are two hours ahead of California time. I want to finish my garden work before it gets too hot. So, how are you? Did you have fun yesterday?’
‘O’ Yes. It was a beautiful firework! There were so many people! And excitement was everywhere in the air; people were enjoying the concert, children were playing with the glow sticks, and even the dogs were sitting happily close to their families. Hold on let me pull the chair closer so that I can sit comfortably.’ Then I hear her sigh.
I move to the other side of the garden to check the pumpkin plant. I adjust the phone in one hand and pour more compost around the delicate sprout of pumpkin vine with the other hand. The vine has newly emerged from the ground just this morning. I try to readjust my hat on the head to avoid the bright sun on my face and I ask,’ Are you alright?’
‘ Yes.’ She replies and continues with her sentence,’ We walked around a lot yesterday and now my knee hurts too. I am planning to ice both the knees. I forgot to say that I met some young girls of your daughter’s age and are already married and working. You should think about that. She should not marry in a late age.’
I move towards the honey suckle vine and fastens it to a wood stick on the fence with the right hand and answer,’ Do not worry mom. She has just started working so I want her to concentrate on her job. Also she wants to travel different countries and participate in some non-profit organizations for women’s right and children’s education.’ I hear my mother is shifting her position on the chair and sipping on some type of liquid; either green tea or ice coffee or water.
She clears her throat and says,‘I know. I understand that the time has changed. In India the women have started working, taking independent decisions and bold steps on different fields; raising voices on the women’s education, protecting from slavery, domestic violence, poverty. I like how they are helping the poor families in education. You should participate more if you get time.’
I walk to the deck where my dog has stretched out peacefully between her legs, tail laying sideways. She lifts one eye to see me then wags her long brown tail and thumps against the floor. I sit close to her on the white rocker and say to my mom, ‘Yes. I read that in the news and it is good that our society is going towards the right direction. Women are the backbone of a society so it is really important to educate them properly. Our Indian government should take more appropriate measures to ensure the particular needs of women and meet health care service, training and employment opportunities.’
My mother pushes the chair. May be she tries to get up and walk around. If she sits in one place for too long then it bothers her knees. Although she is doing good at her age. She takes a sip from her cup and asks, ‘ Did you have a good time?’
I smile, nod my head and answer, ‘Yes we enjoyed the July forth concert and the firework. We drove to the out door theater in the museum district. We were surprised to see so many people this time. I think the population of our city has grown. But the weather was nice so we had a wonderful time.’ I wipe my face and try to shield my face from the sun. I take out the cotton garden glove from both of my hands and walk into the house. I say,’ Mom I will call you later after my shower and do not forget to ice your knees. And I will try to dedicate more time on human-rights issues. Bye.’