Once there lived a fine couple who were very affectionate to each other. The wife Rupa was extremely beautiful, talented and smart. She was always good-spirited and wore a gracious smile on her face all the time, that would cheer up even the most dispirited of souls. The husband Ram was gentle, good natured, kind-hearted and caring. In all, they were a perfect match, as if made for each other. However they had a small gloom in their life. The couple was not gifted with children.
They had not left any stone unturned to beget a child, be it medical consultation, pilgrimages, dips in holy rivers, and what not.
One day, God decided to grace the couple by fulfilling their prayers. A beautiful baby girl was born. They named her Priya. The infant was so cute that one could pass hours together just staring at the baby, admiring her beauty. Priya inherited the beauty and agility of her mother multifold.
Time rolled by and Priya grew up to become a cute little girl. When everyone adored Rupa, what to say of the little one, who loved her mother more than anything else in the world! The mother was in no way less reciprocative of Priya’s love. Neighbours would envy the mother and daughter for their intimate love and affection. It seemed as if one had to perform penances for years together to beget such a fine daughter, and a child had to have accumulated merits across innumerable births to have been gifted with such a loveable mother. Such was their affection.
One day, as fate would have it, Rupa had a severe heart attack and passed away due to the condition. This was a severe blow to the peaceful family, more so to the little Priya for whom her mother was the be-all and end-all. The little girl could not bear the loss of her beloved mother. She wept uncontrollably. The sudden tragedy left a deep impact in her mind. She refused to take food for days together. She sat in a corner ever in memory of her beloved mother. Slowly her condition weakened.
Ram tried to convince Priya but in vain. She was adamant and wouldn’t budge. Her body grew weaker and so did her mind.
Elders advised Ram to opt for a remarriage as that seemed to be the only way to fill in for the lost motherly affection for Priya. How could Ram ever think of another woman in the place of his most beloved wife? After long persuasion, he gave in for the sake of his gorgeous little daughter who was in an emaciated state owing to lack of motherly love.
A suitable bride was found. The girl had a new mother. Priya was slowly getting back to normalcy. In the mean time, Ram had to travel abroad on a long term assignment which he could not afford to miss. Priya along with her new mother bade farewell to him.
Six months passed. It was time for Ram to return. The mother and daughter were eagerly waiting at the door to meet him. When Ram arrived at the gate, the small girl ran to him and hugged him tight and started weeping. Ram was more than happy to see Priya and kissed and embraced his daughter. What initially seemed to be tears of joy turned into a prolonged wail. He immediately asked her why she was weeping.
Priya did not speak, however the crying continued.
Ram was annoyed. He sensed that something was wrong. He thought that his new wife might have, after all, not treated Priya with love and affection. ‘The whole intent of my getting married again has gone in vain’, he thought. In a fit of rage, he began castigating his wife in harsh terms. He blamed her for showing a step-motherly attitude towards his lovely daughter.
Witnessing this, Priya came running towards Ram and closed his mouth, asking him not to scold her anymore. Ram was taken aback. He instantly cooled down and asked her why she was crying in the first place.
Priya responded, ‘My first mother was so kind and caring. But she left me very soon. This mother is more caring and loving than her. I am afraid she will also leave me very soon.’
Tears rolled down Ram’s cheeks as he heard this response from Priya. He understood the value of motherly affection.