Mr. Shamnath was an employee in ail office. Once he invited his boss to dinner. Therefore, on the day of dinner, he and his wife started arranging things and decorating their house. When they were busy keeping things in order they thought over their old mother.
Shamnath considered his mother to be an odd thing. He did not want his mother to be seen in the presence of the guests. His wife suggested sending their mother to the neighborhood where she would pass the night. Shamnath said if the mother went to the old woman in the neighborhood the woman would come frequently to their house. He did not like the wife’s proposal. He asked his mother to stay in the verandah when he would receive the guests in the drawing room. He asked his mother, when the guests would come to the drawing room she should, go to her own room through the bathroom.
However, he could not decide the place where the mother should stay. Finally, he asked her to sit in the verandah on a chair. He asked her not to sleep and snore. The mother put on white kameez and salwar on his orders and sat on the verandah.
The boss arrived at Shamnath’s house along with his wife. They were accompanied by some Indian colleagues of Shamnath and their wives. The dinner was very successful. At first they took drinks and started gossiping. The Sahib was as joyful at Shamnath’s home as he was strict in the office. He was an American. His wife was in a black gown and a necklace of pearl. She was the chief attraction in the occasion. She was so free with Mrs. Shamnath that it seemed as if they were old “friends.
They came out of the drawing room. Shamnath was leading them. When they reached verandah Shamnath saw his mother sleeping and swaying on the chair. She also snored. She woke up and got confused seeing so many people around her.
The boss was in a jovial mood and he said “namaste” to the mother of Shamnath. The mother tried to greet the boss with folded hands. Since her right hand was inside the dupatta holding beads she extended her left hand. The boss held her left hand. Shamnath told the boss that his mother was living in the village. She was from a rural background. The officer said he liked rural folks. He guessed Shamnath’s mother must know folk dances and folk-songs.
Shamnath asked her mother to sing. The mother refused. She had no idea of singing. Shamnath repeated her request to his. She rejected his request. Finally, he told her to sing a couplet or two of the pomegrante song. There was bit harshness in the voice of Shamnath. The mother sang an old wedding song. The verandah resounded with applause. The Sahib also clapped. The mother introduced a new note in the party.
The clapping stopped. The subject of discussion changed to village industry products of Punjab. Shamnath told the boss that he would present many products of village industry in the office. Then he said that he would present the boss a phulkari. He explained that a phulkari is an embroidered piece of cloth. The mother showed the Sahib an old phulkari. It was torn and threadbare. Shamnath told the boss that he would ask her to knit a phulkari for him. The Sahib nodded and proceeded towards the dining table with other guests.
The mothers retire to her room. She sat against the wall and wept. There was a flood of tears in her eyes. She tried to control herself. She folded her hands and prayed God for a long life of her son. All the guests departed at midnight. Silence prevailed. Shamnath knocked the door of her mother and asked her to open it. The mother was afraid with a thought that she had committed a mistake. She opened the door. Shamnath embraced her praising that she had done wonders in the party.
The old mother asked the son to leave her at Hardware. Shamnath got angry and asked her if she wanted to discredit him by going to Hardware. The mother said that she should not be misunderstood. She wanted to pass the rest of her life in meditation leaving the son and the daughter-in-law in peace. Shamnath asked her if she would not; make a phulkari for the boss that he had promised in her presence. The mother refused telling that her eyes could not stand any strain. He pleaded that if the officer was pleased with him he would be promoted to the next higher post, and then the mother agreed to knit a phulkari for the boss. Then Shamnath left her mother telling her to sleep.