Strange. She exists only in my imagination. She was born there, bred there, suffered there, evolved there. Now she has outgrown me, as children outgrow their parents. That’s how it has to be. But that doesn’t change the truth that this weaning is painful.
I’ll miss Shikha when my e novel The Holy Nazrane Family concludes this week. Once the final chapter is uploaded, the umbilical cord is severed. But then that severing took place long time back – the minute she, who was conceived in my brain, took a local habitation and a name in a Nazrane family in Chennai. She has been on her own since. I had no control over. Rather, i had only as much contol over her as a mother, in the final analysis, has over a child. True she conceives it, nurtures and protects it for nine months. But once the infant is out of the protective womb of the mother and breathes in the air of the world, it is an individual.
So was my Shikha. She grew out of me the minute she took her place in the fictional world of my novel. I saw her behaving and dong things that pained me sometimes and made me happy at other times. Many a time she did me proud too. But i must confess that there was little i could do to change her, her life, her travails. Shika is the child of my imagination, but she carried on like any human child. She developed a life of her own, views of her own. She made her mistakes and learnt from them. She suffered, battled with her own conflicts and evolved. I could only stand by and watch – unlike a reatime mother who tries to shape her child and prepare it for life, and extends a supportive hand when the child trips and falls.
A virtual mother doesn’t have that privilege. She can only watch her offspring move about in her world and suffer the trauma of developing an individuality. I could not give Shikha those warning signals. I could just watch her unfold herself and learn the lessons of life the hard way.
Wont a realtime mother make an effort to deflect the course of her child’s life when she sees the child enter the road to peril? Why then does a virtual mother refrain from this intervention?
The reason is simple and that is, the rules are different in the two worlds. The mothers of this world take upon themselves the onus of preparing the offspring for the world which lies before them like a land of dreams, but in truth is also a land of nightmares. They also take upon themselves the equally serious task of ensuring that the offspring does not travel down the road to perdition. But the virtual mother knows better. The minute her child enters the fictional world, she loses control over her. It’s her life after that, which the mother can only record.
And when she finally steps out from the final page into aery nothing, Shikha will sink into oblivion like the millions of others like her. She is not of the material that’ll go down in history.
And I’d have seen the last of her.
But, I’ll miss her.And there’s no way of letting her know that!