Mother and son

In the bus, in between all the tired and bored faces of random strangers, I find Gogol, a little Indian boy, the main character of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. He sits with his mother who, unlike Gogol’s mother, is not wearing a sari. She too is pregnant. The little boy swings his legs, unaware that he is hitting his mother’s as well. I watch the two of them; they resemble a perfect picture, a perfect bond of nature, the quintessential mother and son. The mother sits with her bag of groceries between her laps, holding onto Gogol’s shoulder with one hand. This relationship that they have formed together as mother and son, a relationship so strong and secure, so intrinsic, will eventually fade once Gogol grows up. He will forget how close he was to her, how much he needed her by his side, how lost he felt without her. He will grow up, move to the city, he will find love, will learn to give things up. His mother will learn to give up the idea that Gogol and the rest of her children will be by her side forever. She will drive her own car, buy her own groceries, find her own pleasures. But that one perfect picture, the one with Gogol in her arms, will stay in a little picture frame, giving her the sense of motherhood she felt when he was still her unborn child. The sense she felt when he was hers and no one else’s.

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