Puja in pink and Maya in red—are sisters. Puja joined us a few months back to look after Maa. Soon after, Maya—younger of the two—came to help my brother in household affairs.
From the bits and pieces that are thrown at me by Maa, I learnt—their father doesn’t earn anything, is a drunkard, and drowns in alcohol every last penny these sisters bring home. Puja and Maya are two among the six sisters—born in quick succession. The youngest is six, and the oldest—Puja—is 22. Their mother lives the nightmare created by her husband day and night.
I never ask them anything, lest i dent their dignity.
From what little I have observed, both are neat in their methods and manners. They are cheerful while working, at peace when resting, and carry themselves well. They don’t complain, but are straight forward.
Puja and Maya hug or have arms on each other’s shoulders whenever they meet. Naughty Maya has an attitude. Puja acts the elder sister.
When I returned from the office today, both had an earpiece each in their ears from the same mobile cord—talking to their mother. They accepted my request for their pic with grace, Maya managing to remain still for the shot.
These two sisters and the other four don’t know what the future holds for them. I don’t know about the other four, but Puja and Maya live each day as it comes.
Puja maintains a Diary…Perhaps writing what remains unsaid. Maya doesn’t…Perhaps she is weaving a fairy tale.
Last night i dreamed of him again…one of my most favourite persons…….a professor…with whom i have developed a special rapport over the years, a heart felt something difficult to put in words. He was as handsome in the dream as he is in real life. I met him last when i went to invite him for a function. As always he was with his spastic son whom i had often met as a child. After embracing me and giving me tea, he gave me a packet saying this was the money i had arranged to buy a wheelchair for his son decades ago. I choked and understood under what compulsions he must have accepted the money at great cost to his uprightness, righteousness, dignity…but his love for son had prevailed. We argued, we fought…he to return the money….i to make him keep it. I won, but i did not feel triumphant.
There are men and there are men….He stands tall- heads and shoulders above most others…humane in his humanity, dignified in his simplicity, graceful in his sensitivity. He warms the cockles of my heart and brings tears to my eyes each time i meet him in person or in dreams.
Tortured souls they were…my friend (who is many years older than me) n his wife whom I met recently after ages. They have one son, married…both husband n wife highly educated and in good jobs. Life should have been hunky dory for my friend couple, but they were miserable. As they opened their hearts, I was appalled by the attitude of their daughter in law and apathy of their son who remains mute spectator to the spectacles of disrespect n insults thrown at his parents.
Why is it that many educated and well versed in manners and etiquettes throw their civility to winds where parents are concerned ? Why even a harmless n well-meaning question concerning their or their children’s well being or whereabouts is thought of as an intrusion and interference in their lives ? Why the parents are shouted at in reply ? Why are they misunderstood…intentionally and by design ? Why are they made to feel low, bad, a burden….unwanted and unwelcome…by words spoken n unspoken, by sarcasm nuanced or pronounced, by gestures…in your face or subtle ?
Why is it that in the sunset years, the parents have to suffer the humiliation n disgrace, ignominy n indignity ? They create and provide everything for their progeny…..willingly n happily cede time, space, ground, authority, money, assets..…everything, except the responsibility…..which they continue to shoulder on n on n on. Yet, they suffer, and are hurt. Whereas the so called uneducated n fossilized have no ego and are the ones to apolozise first and always..…mistake or no mistake, many of the so called modern don’t even have the courtesy of being polite, forget the apology….their methods n manners crude n atrocious.
Wrote this in anguish, hurt by the injustice and unfairness, the shoddy n the shabby treatment meted out to my friend. Story could be the same in some other homes…more or less ! But I am not sitting in judgment, nor am I trying to point out to anyone in particular, or paint all with the same brush stroke. Am sure this is one of the isolated cases. There are good and bad exceptions every where and in every age group. And there are shining examples of love n care, grace n graciousness !
Can there be some soul search ? Can there be little generosity to allow them some dignity to sit atop their disability ? That will be reason enough for their happiness n contentment. They neither need nor want anything more !