It was a small tenement with just one room, a small hall and a smaller kitchen. Bhagyam usually lay in the bed opposite a TV in the hall. She was living alone here after her husband died. She was getting a small government pension. She had no children but had siblings who rarely visited her.
She had been having fever for the last two days and was feeling weak and exhausted. She was past 75 and saw no purpose in her aimless life. She was not able to read with her poor vision.TV was the only diversion for her but volume had to be kept high these days. Luckily her neighbour did not complain. There was nothing to look forward to and each day was no different from the other.Except for her young lady neighbour who was kind to her and made daily visits asking her whether she needed any grocery, she had no friends. Nevertheless she often prayed for deliverance from this miserable life.
It was past 10 pm and the TV was blaring. Bhagyam suddenly felt a shadow flitting across the room.To her shock she saw a tall, big, dark man standing near the door with protruding big eyes and with long mustache that policemen generally flaunt. He was bare bodied with a dhoti tied through the legs. He had a rope on one hand and a big mace on the other. The door was locked and she wondered how he could have entered.
"Who are you? How did you enter? What is this strange outfit like Yama (god of death)? Are you an actor come straight from shooting studio? What brought you here? "she asked with no fear in her voice.
"You are right. I am indeed Yama come to take your life. Your time is up. I can enter through any barrier and travel anywhere on my mount" he replied in a loud and baritone voice
"Hahaha, I was actually praying for your visit and God had at last answered my prayers. Where is your mount anyway?" she said with a big toothless smile. She then heard a grunt from outside.
"People in death bed shudder at my sight and even die before I use my rope. You seem a strange and fearless woman. What is your full name by the way? asked Yama
"What a blunderbuss you are coming all the way to take my life without even knowing my name? I am Bhagyam anyway"
"What is your husband's name?"
“Have you come to take my life or my husband's? For your information someone of your clan took him away ten years back. His name is Kannabiran"
"Oh my God, is there anyone by name Kannayiram in this building?"
"Yes, he lives next door and his wife's name is also Bhagyam. Why do you want to know about them, tell me now?
"Sorry, grandma. There has been a mistake. I actually came looking for Bhagyam Kannayiram but had wrongly entered your house"
"What a clumsy fellow you are? The municipal clerk who collected Aadhar details is much smarter than you. Mind you, you cannot touch her after you have blundered and scared me needlessly. She is my only bulwark. Take me instead or leave her alone. This is the minimum I beg of you. People say you are very just”
The dark figure seemed to smile at her as it vanished.
The next moment Bhagyam heard a loud wail from the adjacent flat. She got up hit by panic and ambled her way hurriedly to the flat to learn that the younger Bhagyam had fallen in the bath room and possibly broken her leg.
"Is she otherwise ok"asked the old woman to Kannayiram.
"I think so and she is sitting on the sofa and talking normally" he said
"Grandma, I am fine. Nothing is wrong with me. It could be just a sprain and not even a fracture" the younger Bhagyam said