1.50 pm: Madam, can you send me a recent picture of your child to circulate? One question that every parent dreads hearing and one that is certain to shave 10 years, if not more, from one’s lifetime.
[Imagine a time lapse of events until 1.00 PM] Dawn like any other day, sunny and bright, Vidu and Vish enjoying their summer break by sleeping in 🙂 mom-me getting ready for work after cuddling with them………traffic snarling on the roads, reports to review, research to do, emails to respond, calls to take, tea time and lunch time conversations – your usual Monday back to work.
1.05 PM: Call from Vidyuth, my older one: Amma, Vishruth went out to play around 9.30-10.00 am w/o having breakfast or lunch and paati (i.e his grandma, G’s mom) wanted me to look for him. I have been looking for him in all the houses that he usually plays for the last couple of hours but he is not anywhere. And he didn’t play with me today as well so i haven’t seen him since 10.30 am or so.
Me: Ok, I will call the parents and will call you back (He was not there in the usual places and another kid’s mom was also looking for him and that Vidyuth had already asked her).
1.10 PM: Call to Vidyuth: Vidyuth, can you please check in Person X, Y and Z’s house and let me know?
1.25 PM: Call from Vidyuth: Amma, he is not here, even the other kid’s brother is searching for him.
1.30 – 1.50 PM: Frantic call to G, to other friends, and finally asked Vidyuth to go to the security office at the apartment and I called at the same time to explain the situation. In the meantime, G has already left for home as his workplace is relatively closer. He also asks me to stay put.
The dreaded question……
1.50 PM: Madam, can you send me a recent picture of your child to circulate? 1.55 PM – 2.50 PM: Fingers shaking, literally I WhatsApp the photo of Vishruth, send an email to the online group for the apartment about Vishruth and his friend and then realize that there is no way in hell I am staying put so I catch an auto and ask him to storm home while several scenarios are running in my head – Are these two boys hurt somewhere in the apartment and no one has noticed them? has someone managed to slip past the security and take these kids out of the apartment or hid them somewhere in the dark basement? Did I explain safety protocols clearly to Vishruth? Should I quit work, maybe that will make it better. And several other scenarios, a lot of them guilt-inducing….if I am a good mom/ parent….. I can’t even begin to explain 😦 I
n the meantime I called G and Rekha again and they, along with the apartment security are searching frantically for them, have not yet found them and are also looking at CCTV footage of the entry/exit points at the gate and at each block (there are 10 blocks and 387 apartments in total). Finally at 2.53 PM, the security staff spotted these boys entering a block and not exit.
2.53 PM: After playing a game of indoor lobby cricket, these 2 boys and one more, finally get bored and decide to come down.
2.55 PM: G calls me and says, “yes we found the boys.” The way I felt and am sure G and Vidyuth did too (along with all the others who searched for him) can’t be put in words. To give you a glimpse of how I felt when I saw Vishruth, I wanted to hug him tightly, throttle him in a gentle way, laugh, scream and cry at the same time. Vidyuth went through a lot too as he was the one holding the fort for his grandparents when hell was breaking loose and we are still en route to our home. This is the first time Vishruth has ever played for 5 and a half hours straight without checking in with us or even coming in for food/snacks/water. I am not sure what he thought, whether he lost track of time or if he thought he is fine as long as he is within the complex somewhere. All I know is this – I will gladly walk through any fire of hell several time over than go through this. Cos I just realized again
“Making the decision to have and raise a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone
While I am grateful that I didn’t have to go through the gut-wrenching suffering, my heart goes out to those parents when their child goes missing. My prayers are with you and I really hope that your heart comes back to you soon.
Its 9.00 PM now, my kids are playing, fighting and giggling and there is a lot of noise in the house but I would take the noise over the eerie silence any day and tonight I am going to lie down with both my boys, braving myself to handle their kicks 🙂 and hugging them tightly and talking something or the other until they finally fall asleep (or I do).
I love you both Vidu and Vish and I hope to God that you don’t shave off or add another 10 years off my (or ur dad’s) lifetime….I don’t think we are wo(man) enough to stomach it 🙂