Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after!
It’s the song my mother sings to me every morning. I don’t like it much; it gave me an eerie feeling. I used to joke that she needs to update her song list. She just smiled and replied “it’s a special song; it reminds me of my greatest victory.”
A few days later I was watching a movie based on the tragic separation of twins- a brother and sister, the beginning was quite happy but I saw my grandma’s eyes widen at the screen and leave quietly. I followed her out and asked her about what had happened. She looked at me and seemed to make up her mind about something, “I’m assuming your mother has never told you about your Uncle Sam?” I shook my head in surprise. “He is, or rather he was your mother’s twin, he passed away in an accident when they were just twelve years old” I wanted to know everything about him and she also must have wanted to talk about him because for the next one hour she spoke about her beloved lost son. He and my mother had been very close; she was very protective of him. He was at his happiest at the time, he was going to boarding school, his life was just beginning but then the accident happened. I couldn’t get Grandma to talk about his death; I guess it was too painful.
“Mama, what is this victory you always talk about?”
She has been talking more and more about him these days, maybe she is finally being able to think of him with some happiness.
“Was the victory you won…something over Uncle Sam?”
“Yes it was, and now he can never leave my side and this song has everything to do with it!”
I’m getting excited “What song will you sing for me when I go away?”
“Ring around the roses, pocketful of poses, ashes ashes we all fall down, Baby you loved playing to this rhyme when you were young. You will always be a baby for me. I will never let you leave me, my thoughts I mean”.
I beam at her; no one will love me like my mother does.
“Come Baby, put your head in my lap, and let me put you to sleep, one last time.”
I go gladly, and as she fusses over me and tucks me in, I can’t help but stare at her. I remember dad’s words- her heart is as big as her. He loved teasing her about her big frame. I’ve always thought she loves with all her heart. I can feel her love tonight!
She’s singing “Ring around the roses” to me, I’m drifting to sleep, I don’t even realise when her hands creep onto my neck and start pressing too hard. I struggle. My eyes are imploring her to stop. “Baby I can’t let you leave me. You will be at peace after this; just like your Uncle Sam was, after I pushed him down the hill. We would not have been able to bear being apart, this way he never had to go to that horrid boarding school, don’t you see? Even you needn't go to college. You can stay with mama forever”.
By Radha Agarwal