“He loves me and I love him. This is all that matters. Everything else is inconsequential in my scheme of things.” Anjali was clear. She was calm and did not show any sign of raging anger that she was feeling the previous day. Over the long night that she spent with herself, she had cleared her mind and taken some firm decisions. She was educated, independent and capable of taking care of herself and Arjun. She also knew that Ma would understand and support. She had done in the past when Anjali had first thought of adopting. And even then when despite her dad’s protests, she had brought Arjun home. It’s been 3 months now and Arjun has become oxygen for everyone.”I know beta but you should also understand that people do talk. The best thing to do is to ignore them. Why get angry? You can’t fight with everyone.” Ma tried to reason.

“But Ma I can’t let people insult my son and our relationship. I’ve legally adopted him. Who are these people to question? It is my life and I’ve taken a decision. I’ll live with it. They should mind their own business.” Anjali presented her point.

“I know beta. You don’t have to tell me all this. Your dad and I are with you. And you know that. Forget all this and just move on with your life. Go see if Arjun has got up. I’ll make something for him to eat.” Ma wanted to divert Anjali’s mind.

“I just checked. He’s still sleeping. Ma, come and sit here with me. I’ve to talk about something important.” Anjali said that got Ma curious.

“Ma I don’t know how to put it since I know you & Pa won’t like it.” It was difficult to say it but she had to somehow. “I was thinking that I should move out of this home with Arjun to live at a rented place somewhere near my office.”

Ma was horrified “But why? Has anyone said anything to you? Manya? Harsh? Papa?”

“No no.. Why would they say anything? They all love Arjun a lot.” Anjali now had a big lump in her throat. “Just that I’ve realized this is making life difficult for everyone at home. Everyday someone or the other comes and talks negative. I know how it affects tranquility and equilibrium of the house. It’s taking away our peace of mind. And then soon it’ll start affecting little Arjun too. Ma it was my decision and I’m proud of it but I can’t let you all suffer because of it. You both deserve a peaceful life and so do bhaiya & bhabhi. Pls understand and support me. I know Pa won’t let us go easily.” Finally she had said it all.

Ma was silent for what seemed like a very long time. She was a wise and strong woman. And she had stood by her children through thick and thin. This was a beautiful yet difficult time for her daughter. She had seen her so happy after a long time. And now people around them were taking away her happiness again. Anjali was briefly married to Ankit two years back but soon they had found out they were not compatible. They parted ways amicably but it was tough on Anjali. She was a bright, hard working girl and soon she engrossed herself completely in her work. But off late she had started feeling lonely. Getting married again was not her cup of tea and she decided to adopt a baby to complete her life. At first, everyone at home was against it but she didn’t budge and soon Arjun became a family member. Adoption process was long but worth it.

“Ma please say something.” Anjali brought her out of her reverie. “You have to help me like always. It won’t be easy for me also but only you can make it happen. You’re my pillar of support.”

“Beta I’m always with you but what you are saying is not the solution. Running away won’t help. Fighting it out will. What if you face the same thing at the new place? You’ll run away from there also?” Ma questioned. Anjali realized Ma was right. “But then what do we do? Keep listening to people trying to make us feel guilty?”

“No. I won’t let that happen to my family. I know what needs to be done. It should have been done long ago but then it’s better late than never” Ma finally had a solution and a smile of relief on her lips.

“Namaskar! We would like to welcome you all to this get together. You must be wondering why this sudden celebration. Well, we’ve a beautiful reason. It is my pure joy to formally announce the arrival of my grandson Arjun to the family. Thank you for taking time out to become part of our happiness. Arjun is 3 months old now and we thought it was about time that we introduce him to our relatives, neighbors and friends.” Ma took a pause here and kissed Arjun, whom she held in her arms, lightly on his forehead and then continued. “Arjun is our little bundle of joy. We all love him a lot and our lives revolve around him. But we’ve realized that since the day he has come home, some people around us are having a problem adjusting with the fact that Arjun is my daughter Anjali’s adopted son. They feel we’ve spoilt Anjali’s life by letting her adopt a child from an orphanage. The reasons being one nobody knows anything about his background, his parents, his religion etc. and two now no good boy will ever marry our daughter.” Ma smiled and continued. “We’re blessed that we’re surrounded with such concerned well wishers, relatives, neighbors and friends. They appear in our life as soon as they sense a problem. But I want to clarify that this time they’ve misunderstood a solution as a problem. Arjun is key to my daughter’s happiness. This is what she wants and we support her unconditionally. She’s a rational grown up girl and knows what she is doing. We’ll see what tomorrow holds for her but one thing is certain that Arjun will be part of that tomorrow. I would request you all to accept Arjun as our family member and extend him same love and respect that you have been extending to us over the years. Thank you so much once again for coming over. Please feel free to come and meet Arjun on stage. Enjoy the party.” Ma folded her hands again to greet. She had said it all.