Sharmaji sat with the TV remote in hand, while his wife sat mending something. All these ‘fine’ work took a lot of time for her. At 60 +years it was no wonder. Putting the thread in the needle itself was an enormous task, one which her husband dutifully did. He had recently had his cataract removed and lens fitted in the eyes. As such his eyesight was much better than his wife’s.
Only when you get old; that you realise the meaning of the word-better half. With their children busy in their own worlds, Sharmaji and his wife lived a life of peaceful co existence.
MTV had ‘Zoobi-zoobi’ from 3 Idiots running , Sharmaji had a look and said’ None can match the romance of ‘Pyaar hua ikraar hua’.’
‘Which just proves that you have become too old’, quipped His wife.
‘No, seriously, where has the romance gone, whether its real or reel life; everything is so open nowadays.’
Mrs Sharma or ammaji as she was universally known knew where this conversation would head, it would lead to his favorite topic-loose morals in today’s world and so she changed it to-‘Remember we came out watching Barsaat ki ek raat and found that it was raining heavily’.
‘Yes and you perched on the bar of my bicycle with an umbrella, but by the time we reached home only our heads were dry,’ chuckled Mr. Sharma.
‘Yes’, those days were fun.’ she said, ‘How we used to leave the kids back home for our movie trips with the promise of popcorn and Amar Chitra Katha. And they would wait anxiously for our return.’
‘And now they make us wait for their return with toblerones and multi vitamins,’ Mr Sharma remarked with bitterness.
‘Why are you so bitter, they have to live their lives.’
‘Yes we raise kids so that they abandon us in our old age.’
‘Thats not fair, they have not abandoned us. Radhika has to be where her husband is and Ashok, what job will he get in this small town. You should be proud that you have two independent children who live life in their own terms.’
‘Did I say that I am not proud of their achievements. But I would have liked if they were somewhere near.’
Ashok keeps asking us to join him in Mumbai, its you who doesn’t like the pollution and the busy life there.’
‘HUH’, remarked Sharmaji, it was not that he didn’t understand but he missed his grandchildren terribly.’ Once you cross 60 your role in life is just as a Salaahkaar (advisor), nobody really needs you,’ he remarked.
‘Be happy that atleast your kids take your Salaah (advise), there are many who don’t even speak properly to their parents.’ reminded Ammaji gently.
At that moment the bell rang, Ammaji kept her stitching down but Mrs Sharmaji signalled for her to continue with her work. With her arthritic knee it would take her a long time to get up and move, by that time the visitor would be tired of waiting.
Sharmaji opened the door to find Radhika with her two kids and four suitcases standing at the door.
Radhikas sombre expression and mothers instinct both hinted Ammaji that something was terribly wrong but she didn’t ask, just made some Boost for the kids and some ginger tea which Radhika loved.
Radhika had a sip and burst into tears,’Ammaji, I have left Rohan and that house forever.’
Ammaji and Sharmaji both gaped at her in shocked silence.
(to be continued)