“Mamma, how much do you love me?”
“As much as there is water in the ocean, as much as there are stars in the sky, as much as there is air around us.”
“I love you mamma!”
Mishti loves her mamma very much. And she keeps on asking her mamma how much she loves her back. And everytime her mamma gives a unique reply.
But Mishti would not settle for anything she considers countable or measurable. Like day before yesterday, when Mishti asked the same question, mamma answered, “As much as there are letters in your encyclopaedia.”
“Oh no, Mamma. That is too less. You don’t love me as much as you used to”
And she made a face as if she was about to cry.
It was raining heavily and rain was pounding on the window pane. Mamma quickly changed her answer.
“I love you as much as there are drops in the rain.”
Mishti thought for a second and broke into a smile.
One day, mamma was suddenly taken to the hospital in the middle of the night and Mishti had to spend the night with granny. She cried and cried until she slept.
Mamma didn’t come back even the next day. Everybody kept saying, “Your mamma will come soon with an adorable gift for you. You just wait.”
The day after that, Mishti woke up to the sound of the doorbell and she instantly knew it was her mamma.
When the door was opened, it was certainly her mamma smiling at her. But what’s that in her hands.
My adorable gift. Mishti thought.
When Mamma sat down on the couch, Mishti saw what exactly was brought for her as the gift.
It was a small, really sweet, really adorable, baby boy!
“Mamma you brought him for me?”
“Yes my love. You like him?”
“Hmm. I might like him if he plays with me.”
But the little boy kept sleeping all day. The only other thing it did was, cuddle into mamma’s lap.
Mishti didn’t like that!
Why does mamma love him so much?
Mishti became sad. She sat in the corner and watched mamma play with him.
“Come to me Mishti darling. See how your brother blinks. Isn’t he cute?” said mamma.
“No. He’s not cute. And I can also blink like him. Why do you kiss him, hug him and make him sleep in your lap? Put him down. I’ll sleep on your lap.”
“Mishti, you are a big girl, sweety. Your brother is a small baby. Be my good little princess and come to me. We’ll all sleep together.”
“No. You put him down. Now.”
When mamma didn’t, Mishti’s eyes welled up and she ran out of the room, crying.
Mamma kept calling her. Daddy also called her into his lap. But Mishti lay on her belly on the couch and kept sobbing until she fell asleep.
When she woke up, she found herself in the comfortable, cushion-like lap of her dear mamma.
She asked in her sleepy voice. “Mamma how much do you love me?”
Mamma said, “As much as there are tears in your eyes.”
Mishti wanted to say something but fell asleep again.
She woke up to a very unfamiliar sound. She looked around and saw her brother crying from his cradle.
Mamma was nowhere to be seen. She went to the cradle and looked inside.
Seeing her, the baby stopped crying and started kicking and waving his hands.
Mishti rattled his toy for him. And he burst into a beautiful laughter.
Oh, he is cute, really. Granny says he looks like Daddy. I don’t think so. He looks so like me. He is my adorable gift.
Thereafter Mishti started loving her brother as much as she loved her mamma.
As much as chocolates are yummy
Or the fun in tickling the tummy,
As much as the sand on the beach
Or the stars you wish to reach
Love is not a glass of milk
That you can just gulp down
Love is not your pocket-money
You can spend and frown
I know you hate to share
Your ice-creams and French fries,
But remember, love is something
That if shared, multiplies.