I’m not proud of it, but I cannot deny it: I’m angry at God!
I wrote these words 4 days ago when I heard that Utpal's mom had reappeared. But then for some strange almost eerie reason, my fingers froze and I just could not add a single word. And though the anger still simmered in my had, I could hear a soft almost ethereal voice whispering what is best called my father's mantra: the big picture, the big picture. I just switched off my computer and walked away. I needed to take a pause and take another look at the situation which had made me utter blasphemous words. I am glad I did. But I must confess not before I had sent out some seething mails!
Need to put all this in context for those reading this blog. On Friday last, as Dharmendra and I were coming back from the hospital after leaving Ranjan with his best friend in the chemo day care, Dharmendra got a call. I could see from his face that it was unexpected news, and not a pleasant one. And I was right. The Damocles sword that had been hanging on our heads for almost 4 years now, and indirectly on Popple's head though he did not quite realise it had fallen. Utpal's mother was back from the boondocks she had vanished to. In that split moment I was assailed by zillion questions needing answers I did not have and felt my anger rising as I asked myself why and how much more would this child have to suffer. What kind of God in the heavens scripted such unfair and hurtful lives where children were hurt time and agin and in every way possible.
Utpal is going through a very difficult time. When he needed his mother most she vanished. I cannot begin to make you understand the pain of a 7 year old who wonders why his mom has gone AWOL, and the total helplessness of the one who had to find the right words to answer questions without lying or fabricating a story that would make it easier for the child. I can never forget the innumerable times when the little lad floored me with one liners that broke my heart. You know why I eat so many biscuits
he would say when I checked him on his gargantuan ability of gobbling down biscuits, it is because my mother always bought me biscuits!
When he did not get the answers he wanted, Utpal had a meltdown. It took us a long time to I would not say heal, but I guess the word would be mend or soothe his pain with the help of a child psychiatrist, regular counselling and medication, laced with as much love as one could give, to make him better. Then when we thought that things were finally getting back on course, he revealed to his counsellor how much he was being bullied by his peers in school because of his scars. In spite of several interventions with the school authorities, we decided that he needed a change of school as the enabling environment he needed to bloom was not possible in these conditions.
Miraculously we found a new school and were in the process of getting admission when this news blew us all of our shaky feet. Utpal will not be able to deal with the reappearance of his mom at this moment of his life, and more so because we knew that with her alcoholic ways and bipolar disorder she may just vanish again. Just imagine what would happened to the child.
Utpal's mom is a very unstable person. True she has had an abusive life. But in many ways she is a very selfish person, almost childlike. She is what we call spaced out, batty! I could have bet my bottom dollar that her turning up out of the blue had nothing to do with maternal love, though knowing her, she is a great actress and would/will put up a great show when he meets he son next.
I am never one to separate a child from his mother. I did not want it for Utpal. For about five years we tried every trick in the book to stabilise her and give her a second chance in life. She was admitted in psychiatric care, went through many rehab programmes, spent almost a year in residential care. We set up our residential women centre primarily so that she could have a job and a place to stay where she would be safe and cared for. That would also be the place her son could spend his holidays with her. But she blew it all. Her Nemesis was/is? the man she ran away from leaving her daughter from her first husband behind. She had two children who died of neglect and then came Utpal. He too would have succumbed to his burns had we not been there to take care of him.
When her psychiatric suggested we help her set up home with her 'husband' we did, sparing no cost. They drank all the money and tools! They felt that because of Utpal they could extort anything they wanted. It was pure hell. That is when we approached the Child Welfare Committee and I got his guardianship. Realising that the hen that laid golden eggs was dead, they vanished.
I am willing to bet not only by proverbial bottom dollar but even my last shirt, that she had come back with a plan and not because of her child. Let us not forget that she did not make a single call since March 2010 to enquire about the well being of her son. So I did not fall of my chair when she announced quite merrily to one and wall that she was getting married and she wanted help to open a small cigarette shop! She would be willing to perform all the melodramas needed to get what she wants!
For some time I was mad, and hence the first lines of this blog, but then the big picture theory took over and I began counting my blessings. This time we are not alone, we have the law on our side. This is the time to get rid of the Damocles sword once for all. I wrote a letter to the CWC explaining the situation. As luck would have it most of the bench was present and free so I could discuss the case with them. It was time we found a permanent solution. I presented the case to the best of my ability and told them that Utpal is in no emotional state to meet his mom at this time as he as his emotional immunity was very low and he had to settle in a new school.
The Chairperson, a wonderful lady, gave me a patient hearing. I told her about Utpal of course but also about the possibility of further blackmail by the mother. She has asked to meet Utpal's counsellor before she decides whether or not he should meet his mom at this time or later. She also added that any meeting will the at the CWC under the supervision of a social worker. She has also summoned the mother and will tell her that asking any monetary or other help from the people/organisation who look after her son is akin to child trafficking!
The convocation is tomorrow. In Scarlett O' Hara's words: Tomorrow is another day!