Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
A fictional short story
Nandita had been visiting an old age home regularly for quite a while now. It was established by her great grandmother she was very fond of that place. Every weekend she would enquire about their requirements and take it along with her. She would spend a few hours with the elderly and had befriended a few residents also.
They were also very fond of her. It was a great bond that they had developed over a period of time. The elderly people living there never complained about any member of their family or children for leaving them there. They were very satisfied and at peace with themselves.
In every visit, Nandita would get a lot of love and was showered by their blessings which was very overwhelming for her. She often wondered if there was anything she could do for them.
A resident called Asha aunty was especially fond of her. She would often make her sit near her and talk to her. She treated her like her daughter. She would always give her biscuits, fruits or whatever snacks she had with her. Nandita always asked her if there was anything that she needed or anything that she could do for her. But the kind old lady would always politely refuse. She was very much content with whatever she had.
One weekend, Nandita went as usual to meet her. Asha aunty was sitting with her friends Veena and Savita aunty. She was very happy. She greeted her in her usual loving manner.
“What’s the matter aunty? You look very happy today?” asked Nandita.
“I received a phone call from my sister yesterday. Her grandson is getting married. She has invited me for the wedding.” Replied Asha aunty.
“All my family members will be there to attend the wedding. It has been quite a while that I have met all of them.” She continued.
“Wow! That’s great! So, what are your plans?” asked Nandita.
“I will be leaving on Thursday by train. The wedding is on Sunday in Amritsar. But there is a problem. I don’t have a bag to carry my belongings. My old bag is torn. Veena and Savita also don’t have one either.” Said Asha aunty.
“Oh! Don’t worry aunty. My husband deals in travel bags. I have a few lying in my car. I will get one for you.” Nandita said excitedly.
“Oh, no! I can’t take anything from you. You are like my daughter.” She replied.
“If I am like your daughter then you will have to take it from me.” Nandita insisted.
She immediately went out to bring the bag. Asha aunty was very reluctant but took it after a lot of persuasions from her.
Nandita left feeling very happy that day. She was very excited that at last she could do something for her. She was also very happy that Asha aunty would be going to meet her family and friends. The entire week she spent thinking about her.
She went to the old age home the next weekend earlier than usual. She was very eager to know whether Asha aunty had gone to Amritsar or not. The old age home looked unusually quiet. Everybody looked sad and spoke in low tone. It made her feel very uncomfortable.
She went straight to Asha auntie’s room. It was locked from outside. She knocked at Veena auntie’s door. She was called in by her.
“Aunty, has Asha aunty left for Amritsar? When will she be back?” inquired Nandita.
“Asha has left all of us for good. She will never be back. She expired early Thursday morning.” Veena aunty replied wiping her tears.
Nandita was shocked. She stood speechless. Her thoughts ran back to their last meeting. She was to leave for Amritsar on Thursday morning. She was so happy that she would be able to meet all her family members. She did leave on Thursday morning but for where? She went to Asha auntie’s room and opened it.
She saw the bag in a corner. It was filled with her clothes. She must have packed it well in advance. The bag was all that she had needed. It was the first and the last thing that she had asked from her. Her last wish was to meet her family members. If only her last wish could be fulfilled!
pic courtesy: kashmirlife.net, prowez.com