Utpal was home for his Dusserah break. Home to Utpal is the women centre. Normally his mom is there for him but this time she was not. She has again been admitted to a rehab centre and will be there for a few months. Utpal came home to his favourite TV programmes, his toys , his old battered scooter and his favourite goodies that one had filled the fridge with.
Utpal came home to his extended family: the staff of the women centre who were all them for him and tried to make up for the missing mom. Though nothing was unsaid and everyone played the game to perfection - Utpal regaling one and all with his new antics and the staff walking the extra needed mile - one could feel that somehow something was amiss. Mom was not there. Many would wonder how a barely present mom, one lost in the hubris of her bipolar disorder, one that often shouts and sometimes hit could be so dearly missed, particularly when one had tried to ensure that all cracks and holes possible but then a mother is a mother.
Utpal, the true survivor did put up a brave front and did not let anyone feel that there was something missing. The only one who knew was me. He did not say anything, but during the time we were together he let his guard down. The big boy that he now wants to be perceived as became a small child veering between moments of extreme affection and tantrums. He snuggled against me and hugged me tight and then insisted I take him out ad spoil him silly. It was not toys or cakes he sought, but some way to fill the huge void left by a missing mom.