Tag Archive | old age

Lakshmi

It has been five days since Lakshmi came to stay with her son and his family in the city and already she feels lost. The whole of her life she had spent in her village. No, no now it had become a town. But she was used to it. Of the slow pace, of clear winds and an open sky. Here even for a look of sun she had to dangle out of the window. The lights in the flat had to be kept on the whole day.

She would have continued staying in her house if she hadn’t fallen down from the stairs. She had only strained her ankle but then Vishal, her son had insisted that she came with him. ‘who will look after you amma?’, he had said. She had said that her friends would but then seeing that Vishal will not be at peace, she had complied.

But then she felt lost….. Both Vishal and his wife would leave for their respective offices. The children to school. The maid would do her work and leave. The whole day Lakshmi would be at a loss. It was no better in the evenings as the rest would be busy with their work. Vishal would come and speak to her a bit. His wife Aruna would speak leisurely only on weekends. And she didn’t blame her. Managing a home with a job was difficult.

Meena her grand-daughter taught her to start the computer and how to browse. Initially she started reading the news but then yesterday Meena showed her facebook.  And so today was happily spent looking at pictures. ‘Who are they, paati’, Meena asked.

‘I don’t know, I was seeing some pictures and then I read the comments. Then I clicked some name and saw their pictures. ‘, she smiled her toothless grin. ‘But I spent my morning happily’, she added.

Used to having everything fresh, Lakshmi could not eat food properly. The vegetables were bought once a week. And though they were bought fresh it somehow lost its taste once kept in the fridge.

Also Aruna would cook once in three days or so. Or whenever she had time. Now Lakshmi had problems with that. ‘Ayurveda says that food loses its properties after three hours of cooking’, she mumbled one day.

‘If that is so, then I will have to resign and stay at home’, Aruna said. Lakshmi just nodded a yes.

Days passed. Lakshmi was getting better and more bored. Slowly she gathered enough courage to go out in the evening. She found out that there were some like her. Like her meaning aged and bored.

But then there was a difference between them and her. They were either busy and bored  looking after their grand-kids or were busy and bored with their TV channels.

I am neither busy nor boredwith anything, Lakshmi thought.

Aruna had a habit of cooking in bulk. At the end of the week. the excess would be thrown away. ‘You are throwing away Lord’s energy’, she mumbled one day.

‘The kids sometimes eat nicely sometimes they don’t. How will I know how much they will eat’, Aruna replied. Lakshmi would have very much liked it if Aruna cooked a little less and if there were shortages, she would have gladly cooked. But then modern ways…less oil, not much masala…no Lakshmi could not cook that way.

‘No time for exercise but enough time to sit on the internet. If they just moved a little, that would have been good. There would have been no need to be so careful while cooking’, she thought to herself. ‘They say no oil, no heavy food etc and then go to the restaurant and eat all oily stuff , huh’.

The family usually ate out on weekends. Lakshmi didn’t understand much about eating out. Neither did she understand much about what they were eating. These Mexican and Chinese and Continental were beyond her understanding.

And she was really fed up of all that food sitting in the fridge and so she thought of a plan…..

Lakshmi’s mood improved considerably. Aruna’s mood improved too thinking that her children were eating well.

Until there were tiny paw marks outside their door and complaints from the watchman.

Lakshmi everyday would take some food and then go and feed two of the stray dogs which used to loiter outside the gates. Little did she know that those puppies would love home food. They started following her home. Neighbours started objecting too citing that the puppies might attack their kids. There was a meeting and then Vishal was told strictly that his mother could not feed the puppies.

Lakshmi was given the ultimatum. She felt lost. Somehow she found solace in the dogs. After all they too were lonely.

‘Vishal can you take leave for some days and drop me at our village, my leg is fine now’, she said here.

‘Come on, mother just because we asked you not to feed the dogs, you don’t have to rebel like this’, he said.

‘Rebel? Why should I rebel. Don’t You understand I don’t belong here. You are busy with your work and internet. Your life style, I can’t follow. I have nothing to do here. I am better off at my house, where I have freedom to live as I want’.

As she smelled the fresh air from the windows of the train, Lakshmi felt happy. She was going back to her place. Her home and her garden, which she could tend as she pleased. Her friends with whom she could go on long walks. But best of all she would be with the cows, the hens, the dogs and the cats who lived nearby and whom she could feed as much as she wanted.

 

Vasudha

Vasudha came from the school in a foul mood to see a locked house and her mood turned even worse, but then nobody was at home, so whom she could remove her fury on. She changed went into the kitchen, banged the saucepan here and there and felt better.

For fifteen years she had directed the school play for the annual day of the school and now the New Principal had informed her that the youngsters meaning the new Arts teacher should get a chance. And what was she directing, some new age drama which she had written herself, Bullshit.

From a couple of days she was feeling sidelined, no not only in the school but also at home. In this freezing cold her son and daughter in law had gone to Shimla to see the snow. Huh!!

And they had not even bothered to invite her, not that she could have gone to that place, her joints would have pained more. But they could have gone to a warmer place and included her too.

Todays generation were really selfish.

SHe picked up the phone, called her brother and poured out her woes. He listened patiently and then said,’ Didi I know you have taken a lot of pains to raise Nikhil after Jijaji’s demise but now he has a life of his own.’

‘Did he say anything to you’, she cut in.

‘Yes, he said you were interfering in everything and that because of you his relations with his wife were strained’.

Vasudha banged the phone in fury.

At that time the doorbell, she peeped through the peep hole to see Mrs. Joshi and Vasudha cringed.

Mrs.Joshi was a very devout person always involved in satsangs, bhajans, she always invited her for all these but Vasudha never complied.

Today too she must have come with some invite thought Vasudha and opened the door to give her a chastening, she would never forget.

‘Hello, you are alone so I bought some snacks for you’, said she and her anger melted.

Both sat down to have snacks while Mrs. Joshi rambled on about her satsangs and how it had helped her understand the intricacies of life, Vasudha listened but could not digest it and burst out,’ You talk about soul, rebirth, karma, God but tell me if I held on to all these facts which you say, could I have raised my son single handedly?’

‘Yes you worked hard but there are many who do so but are unsuccessful, why? You succeeded why? We all start as equals in life some succeed some do not why? Do you know why?, she asked

On not getting any answer, ‘ she continued, these and many questions go through my mind and which I try to find the answers too. And in life we may have husband wife friends relatives, a lot many people around us, but is there anyone really our own? No body really. We are always alone. If there is anyone to call our own, absolutely our own; its the one who is the master of everyone’, and she got up to leave.

At the door she called out,’ there is a regular satsang in my place every tuesday, the doors of my house are always open, if you wish to come.’

Nikhil and his wife had returned but nowadays they were in a world of their own, they gave her time but not like before and Vasudha felt lonely. Mrs. Joshi’s words kept on ringing in her ears; there is nobody whom we can call our own…. And she had said that she, Vasudha, was lucky, whereas she had thought of herself as unfortunate because she had lost her husband at a young age, was she indeed lucky?

She was having dinner both her son and his wife had gone out, when she heard the strains of a harmonium, it was a Tuesday. She finished her dinner, dressed up and went, it was time to discover something new, it was time to give a new dimension to life.