10 Jun 2016

#126 An old lady

An Old lady
Pic Courtesy: dreamstime.com
I got transferred to another city because of my job. The flat where I lived was surrounded by many buildings and the region appeared quite congested. So, in order to enjoy fresh air, I would prefer to go to terrace every morning and practice some Yoga exercises.  Then I would head towards my room, read news headlines from a national Newspaper along with a hot cup of coffee. This is how my morning would go usually. 

One weekend I decided to go for a morning walk so that I could have a glimpse of the nearby areas. As I am a great fan of music, I did not forget to keep an ear chord with me. There was a small temple situated behind my apartment. It caught my attention. At the top of the temple, a statue of Lord Shiva could be seen quite distinctly. My footsteps carried me to reach there. As soon as I approach the temple, I could smell the divine fragrance of the flowers emanating from the garden situated inside the premise of the temple. The smell of the incense stick reminded me of glorious days of my past. I climbed the stairs which were about 20 in numbers by chanting hymns of Lord Shiva in my mind. Suddenly I stopped when I heard someone addressing me as 'Beti'. The voice was loud enough to pierce through my ear .I turned around to find a lady draped in a white and weathered Saree and she was calling me out repeatedly. I approached her without much delay. She was selling a bunch of flowers by arranging systematically in a basket. She must be in her 80s, I guessed her age. With her shivering hands, she showed me those flowers and requested me to buy one bunch for offering Lord Shiva. I grabbed a bunch and paid her some penny. 

“Amma, where do you stay?? I asked her.
“I live back-side of this temple.” Answered she in a frail voice.
“What do you mean by back side??” I inquired.
“I have been allotted a room by the authority of this temple. So, I live there.” She replied to my question gently.
“Don’t you stay with your family?” I fired another question.
“ I don’t have any family. I mean my family doesn’t care for me.” She looked gloomy now.
“What?? Why, Amma??” 

“My son got married to a girl of his choice. Everything was fine except the day when he found me useless, so he left me. He was gifted with a son. I was the happiest lady on that day. I always wanted to spend the remaining days of my life by making this child play on my lap. But my health did not support me. I started depending on my daughter-in-law for everything starting from searching my daily needs to performing my daily routine. My vision also degraded. This made my daughter-in-law devote some time for my need. She also hesitated to perform my duties.  She would always complain my son of my presence. Things got worse day by day. There used to be clashes among them because of me.” Her voice trembled and she paused suddenly. 

“One day, I visited this temple in the morning. While returning back to my home, I found entrance gate of my house locked. I waited for few minutes, then hours. This wait made me impatient. But I had no options left except to hang on there. Time passed like hell and arrival of dawn confirmed no sign of theirs. I felt a terrible loss. I thought of returning back to my second home i.e temple. From that day onward, I am here.” She sipped her tears falling from her eyes unconsciously.  

“Authorities of this temple are sympathetic enough to understand my plight and provided me a shelter. I arranged my daily wage by selling flowers here.” She added a line to her speech.

“OMG, how can someone do like this? Where have they gone?? Did they ever visit this place??” I asked curiously to calm my mind.

“No. Later I got a news that my son had sold this house to another family and gone abroad.” She said with a weird expression on her face.

I became furious by hearing this and started cursing her son for doing such a crappy thing. To this, the lady said calmly, “I keep no grudge over my son. He is the only son of mine for whom I always pray to the almighty to bless him with a good fortune. May he get all the success in his life”. She folded her hands before the idol of Shiva.

I was so touched by her words that made me weep for the time being. I entered the temple and prayed to God to lessen her load and bestow her with strength to live her life.

From that day onward, it became one of my habits to follow a route to the temple and interact with that old lady to know her well being. I found solace in this conversation. I would secretly put some money and eatables things in her bag, otherwise, she would object me. Gradually I developed a bond with this lady – a budding relationship with a grandchild to her grandmother.  

I had to report to another city for attending my conference. So, I got busy there for few days. A return back to my apartment reminded me of the old lady. The next day I went to the temple. I did not find the lady. I searched for her in her room which was located just back-side of a temple. I contacted one of the priests to get information about the health of lady. 

He informed me about her death.  Few people had witnessed her death. I was astonished to know that she uttered my name in the end. 

I experienced a sleepless night. My eyes were numb so was my mind. To preserve memories of the lady, I scribbled continuously over the pages of my diary, starting from the day I encountered her to the day I left for my conference.  I bowed down to her spirit for leading a life free from any grudges and repentance in spite of witnessing ordeals.  

“May her soul rest in peace,” I muttered this under my breath and kept her memories enclosed in my heart forever. And I never saw her again..........

This post is written for Indispire Edition  121: Write a story ending with And I never saw him/her again.



Sweta Sarangi

10-6-2016


14 comments:

  1. You have written such a nice story for the Prompt, Sweta.. Truly touchy!

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    1. I am glad that you like it. Thanks a lot Sir!!

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  2. Wonder if the old lady is for real, but there is no dearth of such cases in our society. This is domestic terrorism. Sad that this is so common in poor and rich equally.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks for going through this post of mine. This is just a work of fiction.

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  3. I really enjoy reading your blog so I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award!
    Check out the award here: https://wordstoworldblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/the-liebster-award/

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