Thursday, April 24, 2014

One person's relief is another's agony

Shalini was running noisily around the founder’s statue in the centre of the lounge. It was a decent and comfortable senior home.
“Shalu, come here. We must hurry to meet great grandpa. You must be a quiet and be good girl before him. No mischief remember” Vimala said to her five year old daughter.
“Is he your grandpa? Does he know me? Why is here? Is he sick? Where is grandma?” came the questions one after the other.
“He knows you but may not remember your name. He is forgetful these days and cannot hear well. If he calls you, go to him” Vimala said without answering about grandma.
He is her maternal grandfather around 87 living here for last ten years. Initially grandma was also with him till she was shifted four months back to a hospice after she well down in bath room and went into deep coma. She was a pillar of strength to him till then acting as his eyes and ears. Financially well off, they commanded all comforts. Till Vimala’s mother was alive, the two stayed with them and liked their daughter much. They moved to the senior home thereafter. .Vimala’s dad had also passed away. Vimala came once a month to visit her grandparents. The senior home was far away in the outskirts of the city.
Grandpa, an emaciated and shrunk figure, was sitting on the cot vacantly looking at the ceiling. He did not hear her coming but turned when saw the shadow cross him. There was no instant recognition. His vision had dimmed.”Thatha (grandpa), Vimmu here” she said loudly near his ear. His face brightened and there was a smile.
Shalini who was watching till then from the entrance came shyly towards him. He beckoned her and made her sit on his lap even as he ran his palm over her head with fondness.”What is her name?”he asked Vimala.
“Shalini, we call her Shalu, thatha”
When the old man turned to Shalini with pride, she asked him “Where is grandma?”
His face fell and a touch of sadness spread across it.”Vimmu, how is patti (grandma)? I have not seen her for ages. I feel lost without her. When did you see her?”
Vimala wiped the tears from her eyes and said “I know. I have come to take you there. I have taken leave today. Get ready in five minutes.”
“Why are you crying?”he asked
“Some dust particle fell, I think.. Shalu, get down from grandpas’ lap for him to get ready”
In a few minutes they were driving towards the hospice.”Vimmu, is everything fine? Why are you taking me there early in the morning. I haven’t bought any fruits too for her. She likes oranges. Can we get some on the way?”he asked
“Patti  is sick, isn’t it? You haven’t seen her for four months. So I thought I will take you there. I am certain she will not recognize you but you will have the satisfaction of seeing her who loved you most and served you all through her life”
He became silent and with the towel wiped his face.face. Vimala could not read what passed through his mind. Luckily Shalini had fallen asleep on her great grandpa’s lap.
When they reached the hospice Vinod, Vimala’s husband, was waiting there with a few friends. She held her thatha’s hand and along with Vinod proceeded towards patti’s room.”Thatha, be brave. This will be the last time you will be seeing her” Vimala said.
The old man dazed as he was did not grasp the full import of her remark and looked at her questioningly. As they entered the room patti lay on the cot covered by white sheet except her face that had large bindi.The hospice authorities had put a rose garland around her neck. Her face was calm and looked as if she was in deep slumber.Her end had been peaceful.
She feared that thatha would break down but he went near her and called her name Seetha twice as if she was alive. He did not touch her but stood gazing at her for long with tears flowing along his cheeks. He covered his mouth with his towel and let out a muffled sob.sob. Vinod put his arm around him and took him out.
"Thatha,patti was like a vegetable with no hope.The end is a relief for her.Do not grieve" said Vimala
The body was taken to a waiting ambulance and just as Vinod and his friends were entering the vehicle, Vinod turned back  and came rushing to Vimala and thatha.”Take thatha to our home. He will stay with us hereafter. I will have his room in the senior home vacated in two days. Shalu will be happy to have him”
Shalu though inappropriate to the occasion jumped in joy and snuggled close to the confused and sad thatha.



17 comments:

  1. Very touching story. Brought tears to my eyes. All those years of companionship cannot be forgotten that easily. The one solace is that his forgetfulness and confusion might make it easier. Also, having Vinod and Vimala and Shalini of course will be good for him. Good decision to take him along.

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  2. A heart rending and soul stirring story! Blessed to have such a family.

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  3. Ohh thank god they were taking him to their home. It must be heart breaking to live such a lonely life. Sad yet beautiful story yet again.

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  4. Moving. Loved the way Vimala took the grandpa for the final visit.Happy for the care he showed, oranges and all.... a real story, stirring the soul !

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  5. Touching story. Both of us have written about precious people of our life :)

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  6. The element of goodness in the end . That was good.

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  7. The story felt real, until the climax.

    Destination Infinity

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  8. Sad story. Wiping myvyears now.
    Lovely ending.

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  9. Sad story but with a lovely ending.
    Tears rolled down...

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  10. very touching story .. loved reading it

    Bikram

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  11. Somehow, I always have a touchy feeling about old age and deaths...you have tears filled in my eyes....my great grandpa passed away last year...he died a pathetic death :(

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  12. At least thatha could see pati's face, a few dont even get that opportunity. Karma and its after effects are some times so harsh that some relationships just end abruptly even before death. Nice ending,

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  13. Heart-touching.Since old age strengthens the bond,separation becomes unbearable. You have spun a good thread here.

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  14. this was very touching. glad he wasnt left alone there in that state! very good narration :)

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