My Umbrella…

Everyone remembers their first… the first time you flew in an airplane, the first time you saw the sea, the first time you kissed a girl, the first time you fell in love, the first time you cried (strictly in case of guys), the first time you sang a song, the first time you won a prize… the list is endless… I too, like others, had a ‘first time’… I remember my first umbrella… No, it’s not a metaphor… Stop laughing… It was a Saturday, I remember because I had an off at school and mommy did not… She only had an off on Sunday unlike me and that really made me feel like a King… We were well-off at that time but not enough to afford a house-sitter every week and hence here I was with mommy at hospital. No, I was not a bad boy… hospital was where Mommy worked and she took me along… every Saturday…

It was 5pm and it was already as dark at night… I saw the bright flashes of light coursing thru the sky accompanied with thunderous clap-like sound… I receded to the shadows cowering, closer to mommy where I felt safe… She looked at the watch and announced it was time to leave; I did not want to… I did not want to venture out in the rain lest the bright flash of light strike me or mom… the distance between the hospital and the bus-stand was a good 100 meters… the rain was coming down hard… Just before leaving the expansive courtyard of the hospital mommy stopped to open her brown bag… I was thinking to myself, “This is an odd time to hand out a chocolate…I was trying very hard to recollect what I had done that deserved a chocolate… but nothing notable came to my mind”

That was the first time I saw that thing or rather the first time it made an impression on me which I think was because this one was different than the others that I saw around… they were always dark, listless and conceited… This one, the one that Mom took out of her handbag, had a floral design complete with little blue and pink flowers almost like a silk kimono and a gleaming steel handle with a golden ring and button… She pressed the button and it sprang to life, right before my eyes… I had seen it in my book the colored one… It had a name an unusual one at that but I could not remember… I squeezed my eyes real tight and concentrated hard trying to recollect what its name was… alas, I could not…

red_umbrella_2Now the simple thing would have been to ask her what it was called… but then if daddy ever got to know I would be in for a hard-time… what with him being my tutor at home for the colored book… I thought twice about asking but refrained since I was scared of the punishment… The inverted-bowl thing did good enough job of keeping us dry…

I could smell that sweet earthly smell that always made me feel good…Probably, it was something in the smell, that sweet, homely scent, that made me brave enough to pose a question.

“Mommy, what is this thing called?”

She replied saying, “I thought your father explained that last week…”

I replied “Yes, he did and I remember that it has a weird name, but don’t seem to be able to recall it…”

“That’s too bad; well do you know what it does?”

I attempted to impress her with… “It shields us from getting all wet…”

“Yes sweetie that also but there is something else too…”

Puzzled, I asked “What?”

“It creates a sort of safe haven for you, somewhere you will be safe no matter how hard it rains…”

Even more puzzled I asked “… a safe haven… what is that?”

“Ok. You know how you sometimes feel scared in the dark…”

“Yes and you taught me to shut my eyes and pray to God to keep me safe, and you said he will always be there to safeguard me…”

“Yes. Exactly. This thing (pointing at the inverted-bowl), is like God but it is called an Umbrella… umb… U-M-B… rella… R-E-L-L-A… (She always found a way to explain things to me, just the way I understood) it keeps us safe from all the problems… when it rains too hard or the sun is scorching the earth, this keeps us from harm’s way”

“U-M-B-E… U-M-B-R-E-L-A… U-M-B-R-E-L-L-A…”

“Good. Now you deserve a chocolate…

I started thinking…

After about a minute of silence, she queried “What are you thinking about?”

“You know mommy… You ARE my Umbrella, I always feel safe with you…Thank you for being my mother”

“And you know what… you are the sweetest son any mother could have…”

She was and still is ‘My Umbrella’… All the spellings I have misspelled over the years Umbrella has never been. Probably it is so because it means so much to me…

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