Her Bhairavas

(this was a flash fiction on the prompt ‘Break the bias, mothers’ day special on the platform, www.penmancy.com )

The audience roared while the shutterbugs clicked to glory, the flashes providing collective illuminance to brighten the dark auditorium confines.

“The influencer award goes to Dr. Rekha KB an eminent obstetrician and gynaecologist who has made a world of difference in reducing foetal mortality in the tribal belts of Daman and Diu. And what better than International Mothers’ Day to bestow the award…” The emcee drawled even as gigantic applause engulfed the rest of the words.

Dr. Rekha, clad in crisp off-white cotton saree, walked gracefully up the dais adorned by marigold garlands alongside the political dignitaries.

The Minister of State for Women and Child Development presented the wooden plaque and the cheque and the formalities of the photo ops juxtaposed the slide show of Dr. Rekha’s achievements in her decade-long career.

Finally, the emcee, and Dr. Rekha, were set for a live interview streamed globally across ten countries.

“So, Dr. Rekha, it’s been a commendable journey….”

“I am honored. Saving a failing-to-thrive new-born or an expectant mother brings gratification that one can’t verbally express.”

“Dr. Rekha, the sparkle in your eyes says it all…” the emcee smiled. “…I have followed you and read almost all your articles, but I am curious, what is the full form of KB in your initials?”

There was pin-drop silence as Dr. Rekha fingered a stray thread emerging out of her perfect saree-pleat.

“It stands for Kaal Bhairav,” Dr. Rekha smiled, sending a string of murmurs across the audience.

The emcee seemed lost for words but recovered soon as she continued. “This is an off-beat surname, rarely heard.”

“Well… I chose it for myself.”

The emcee cleared her throat, knowing it was time to move ahead.

“So, who has been your greatest inspiration?”

“If allowed, I would like to have them up here. They are here to cheer me. I am what I am because of them…” Dr. Rekha animatedly gestured toward the dark audience.

“Of course, they are welcome…” The clueless emcee smiled, hinting to the organizers to stand on alert.

Dr. Rekha stood up and walked toward the centre of the dais.

“I call upon my mothers, Amba, Ila, Mohini, and Aravani….” Dr. Rekha continued to walk further as the emcee stood speechless, rooted to the dais.

The audience applauded as the four women, well built, with broad shoulders almost in their 60s and draped in bright Kanjeevaram sarees, strutted hesitantly towards Dr. Rekha. Their effusive makeup and awkward gait gave them away…

“I am proud to introduce my mothers to the world. They took in an unwanted dying infant thrown in a garbage bin. They are my true creators, helped me sustain myself by providing me with a family and strong values, and finally, they destroyed everything that posed a threat to my existence. They are my true mothers till time eternity; they are my Bhairava.

Amidst the erupting audience, the emcee blinked back tears. “Indeed, they have broken the bias… they are mothers in the true sense of the word.”

***

©Priya Nayak-Gole

Author note:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539026/
  • Bhairava originates from the word bhīru, which means “fearsome”. Bhairava means “terribly fearsome form”. It is also known as one who destroys fear or one who is beyond fear. One interpretation is that he protects his devotees from dreadful enemies, greedlust and anger. These enemies are dangerous as they never allow humans to seek God within. There is also another interpretation: Bha means creation, ra means sustenance and va means destruction. Therefore, Bhairava is the one who creates, sustains and dissolves the three stages of life. Therefore, he becomes the ultimate or the supreme.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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