Their friendship started on the internet. Both were avid bloggers and followed the other commenting on the posts. They started exchanging mails rebutting the perceived unfair comments that gradually led to their Google chatting and eventually to Skype. They started talking on mobiles and luckily both worked in the same city, one in IT sector and the other in banking industry. They started meeting and spending time together in coffee shops or malls. Malini found Suresh handsome, decent with lots of common interests.. Suresh was no less attracted to her and found her very intelligent. After dating nearly for a year, they married and moved into a decent apartment. It was all hunky dory and they were very happy.
Suresh was asked to go to Australia on a project assignment that needed his presence for two months. He tried to avoid it in many ways but could not. Malini brought her old parents to be with her during his absence. One day as she was leaving for her office, a courier boy gave her a cover addressed to Suresh. It was from a departmental store that sold stationery, confectionary, flowers, books and gift items. She found a bill for delivery of flowers on different dates to one Anasuya.She wondered whether it was wrongly delivered here but found her husband’s name, address and mobile number correct. It seemed strange as he had not mentioned at any time about any Anasuya. Why should he send her flowers periodically, she thought? She felt suddenly a throbbing head ache. There was a faint doubt whether she was being deceived. She rang up the store and took the address of the place where the flowers were delivered. She wanted to probe further before asking her husband.
She drove directly to the house at Conan road. It was a bungalow in a quiet corner with one or two vehicles that included an ambulance outside in the lawn. When she rang the bell, the door opened and was met by a young charming lady. For a moment Malini felt jealous of her beauty but she soon composed herself and said that she had come to meet one Anasuya.
“Do you know her? I haven’t seen you coming earlier. Are you related to her? What is the purpose of your visit? ”the lady asked
“No, I haven’t met her earlier. Frankly I do not know whether she is young or old. My husband knows her. Is there any problem in my meeting her?” Malini replied
“No, not at all, Please follow me” the lady said and led her to a small room in the rear. There she saw an old lady in her late seventies lying in the bed. She looked so frail and shriveled. She did not seem to recognize the entry of the two in her room and there was a vacant look from her.Malini looked questioningly at the young lady. There was a flower vase by her side with some faded flowers.
“This is Anasuya and she has been here since five years. Is your husband Suresh? He is her guardian and visits her once a month. But I haven’t seen for the last two months. Where is he now? Hasn’t he told you about her?” she asked with a surprise
“No, Can you tell me a little more about this old lady? She does not seem to have noticed our presence. Is she related to Suresh in any way? She cannot be his mom as his parents had died when he was young” Malini replied
“I do not know much except that she was a headmistress of the local school. She is a spinster and had no one to look after her. She was living alone. When she fell sick after a stroke, she was brought here by Suresh. What I have learnt from him was that he was her old student and that he stood indebted much to her. He had told me once that it was she who helped him complete his education when he lost his parents in an accident.
“Yes, she is very sick and cannot recognize any one and even Suresh. I think her end is nearing. This is a hospice taking care of a few well to do old patients. Though her condition is not good there is no immediate danger” she said
“Malini took leave of her after informing her that Suresh was expected back in a fortnight and that she would convey the news about the old lady. She rang up the departmental store to send flowers to Anasuya immediately and thereafter weekly once.
She felt relieved and happy though she wished Suresh had taken her into confidence. She was proud of him particularly about his sense of gratitude. She also decided not to mention about her visit to the hospice when he calls her daily.