I have no money. I can’t even afford to pay for a rickshaw to go see him. So I collect money from relatives and friends and go see him every two weeks.
Every time I go I do not know what state I will find him in. He is no longer aware or present. When I visit him he speaks about strange things – at times he hits his head against the wall, and says that the walls are mocking him. Sometimes he appears in torn clothes, other times with no clothes at all. I often have to force him to eat, for otherwise he will not eat anything. I don’t think he even knows that I am his mother. He often denies that I am his mother, sometimes abusing me in front of everyone, saying that I am some mad woman who has come to visit him. His condition now is an extreme form of what I could see happening to him when he was under the influence of a mystic at a local shrine. Everything about him changed during those years – his habits, his appearance, his language. He drifted away from his home and from his own family – he stopped coming home, stopped speaking to his wife and children. He became an addict, spent most of his time asleep on pavements outside the shrine, or wandering the streets of the city.
I spent five years trying to save him, begging people to help me get him away from those people, but to no avail. And prison has been cruel to him. He has been beaten many times. He was once beaten so badly that he had to be hospitalised. That week when I visited him I was shocked; his nose bad been broken, he had stitches all over his face and I later learned he had suffered severe internal bleeding that may have possibly damaged his brain. He has been beaten many times since.
I don’t have the strength to go through this any more. Its been an 18 year long ordeal, and it has become unbearable. But no mother can walk away from her son. So I go back to see him, and I pray for a miracle each time I go.
Iqbal Bano. Mother.