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Aaradhana Agarwal



Aaradhana Agarwal




9 mins 301 9 mins 301

While cleaning utensils, Sheela, a maidservant, informs the lady of the house, Bhavana, about her friend’s grandmother who is above eighty years old.  

‘She is on hunger strike for the last five days.’

‘What are you saying? Why doesn’t the family visit her to a doctor?’ Bhavana screams.

‘They have tried, but she is adamant. She has announced that she has no desire to live any longer. So, she won’t take either medicine or food.’ Sheela defends her friend. 

What a difficult lady! Does it suit her to create tension in the family at this age? None can die at their own desire. Being the eldest member she must show maturity.’ Bhavana’s husband responds.

“Yes, definitely! At this ripened age one should devote time to reading religious books, enhancing spirituality, doing meditation, and of course some devotional activities. But she is making everyone’s life difficult.” Bhavana supports her husband’s point of view.

The topic of discussion changes and the focus shifts to the family history of Sheela’s friend. The grandmother has been very tough on her younger son Sunny. After the demise of her husband, she commands Sunny to find a job to run the expenses of the family. He begins working in a grocery shop in their neighbourhood at the age of twelve. 

Sunny is denied to attend the school. But his elder brother Abhay continues his schooling as he is about to complete his matriculation. Their mother can afford only one child’s school fee. Sunny doesn’t revolt and accepts his illiteracy as his destiny. In the grocery shop, he has to load heavy bags of different articles. There, he works as a labourer. Early in the morning at 6 a.m., he has to open the shop, and at night by 9 p.m. he is released after cleaning the shop. 

At home, Sunny doesn’t get love and care as it is reserved for Abhay. After having dinner, he goes out to the nearby park with a book and does the self-study. He is keen to learn Maths and English language. Abhay’s previous years’ books are meant to be sold to the trash dealer, but Sunny manages to hide Maths and English books. Reading, writing practice, as well as problem-solving are his favourite pass time activities. 

The grocery shop owner Radheshyamji loves Sunny as his son because he has been knowing his family since the time of Sunny’s father. He is well aware that Sunny’s struggles are due to his mother who has been torturing him without any reason. But, being an outsider, he has no right to interfere in that family matters. However, he tries his best to help Sunny. He has instructed his workers to give the little boy some lighter loads to carry. 

Radheshyam daily brings sweets from his home. After offering them to God, he gives them to Sunny as prasad. In the afternoon, he offers his meal to him because Sunny’s mother doesn’t pack a lunchbox. One day, he overhears Sunny reading some English lines from an old newspaper. He at once understands that Sunny is a bright learner and if trained properly can be used in handling books and papers of the business. 

Radheshyam's son studies in the city school. He commands Sunny to complete his work fast and every evening join his son for an hour. He has requested the tuition teacher to teach the poor boy also. Sunny has no words to show gratitude. He touches his feet and with moist eyes utters, ‘I shall never forget this favour, Sir.’ On that auspicious day, Sunny gets a new life. 

Sunny is instructed not to disclose his educational journey to anyone in his family. He agrees. Privately, he appears for exams and without any hindrance gets his twelfth pass certificate. He is no more a labourer, but an accountant in the grocery shop that has turned into a supermarket in these years. Radheshyamji’s little favours haven’t ended. He encourages Sunny to complete his graduation from an open university. He nods his head accepting it. 

At home, Abhay and his mother have no realization that Sunny is a college student as they happily see him working hard in the supermarket from morning till evening. Abhay is engaged in an office as an office boy after being failed in his matric exam for continuously three years. Still, he throws his attitude on Sunny and one day with his mother declares that Sunny can’t stay with them any longer. Sunny is badly heartbroken because he has always considered them as his family. He leaves the house and spends the entire night in the park. 

The next day, when Radheshyamji hears the tragedy, he immediately shifts Sunny to his home. There, Sunny is offered a servant quarter to stay with free meals and clothing. The whole day he does his accounting work and at night prepares for his exams. Since he has been thrown out of his house, none of his family members have bothered about him. For them, he doesn’t exist as if he is dead. 

Time takes a leap of three years. Sunny is a graduate now. Radheshyamji suggests that he should appear for the government exams and allows him to devote himself on study without bothering about the shop. Within a year, Sunny becomes an I.A.S officer. Whereas, Abhay is caught red-handed stealing cash from the office locker. He is sentenced to two-year rigorous imprisonment. His mother runs pillar to the posts for his bail but is failed. She has no source of income and whatever is saved, she spends on hiring a lawyer and for the court case. 

She has always been blamed by Abhay for doing nothing for granting bail to him. She is devastated. Leaving with no other option, she sits at the corner of a busy road and begs for money. Her withered condition, untimely ripened age, and pitiful plea for money melt several hearts. She collects five hundred rupees that day. She immediately buys a loaf of bread and a cup of tea. She has to be content with that food as the remaining money is needed to save for the lawyer. 

One morning, while sitting on a footpath she notices a known face printed on the front page of the day’s newspaper. She goes near to the bookstall and is almost half fainted watching Sunny’s picture. She asks the newspaper vendor who the person is. He replies, that he is Mr. Sunny- the deputy commissioner. She can’t believe it as she has never allowed the youngest son to study. She further asks, “Where does he reside?’ The man answers, ‘In the government-sanctioned bungalow.” The area he mentioned is one among the posh areas of the city.’

She rushes to Radheshyamji to verify if Sunny is her son. At the supermarket she finds him inspecting the workers. Her sudden arrival is shocking to Radheshyamji also. He at first wishes to throw her out of the venue, but his good manners don’t allow him to do so. He asks his servant to offer the lady some money. 

She says, ‘I am here to know if my Sunny is the deputy commissioner of the city. If it is true, then please explain how he has become so successful. “

Radheshyamji looks at her in a disgusting way. He says, ‘You are the worst mother. God has given you two children. But you can’t love them equally. The mental and physical tortures that you have inflicted on the little boy, who has been dependent on you after the death of his father, are absolutely condemnable. How can a mother be so stony-hearted? You rejected him, abandoned him, refused to shower on him your blessings at his tender age. Why do you enquire about him now, when he has become the honour of the country?’

She realizes her grave mistake. She has proved herself a sinful mother. She has lost the precious treasure of her life. She has no right to ask for favour from the son who has been forgotten by her a long ago as a curse. She returns home crying. She has no strength to stand in front of the home temple because it is clearly evident that God has also abandoned the place with the innocent Sunny. 

She decides she won’t pay money to the lawyer for Abhay’s bail as he deserves the punishment. She stops visiting him in the jail. Abhay curses his mother and decides to teach her a lesson after his release. 

Within two years, Sunny gets married to the daughter of Radheshyamji’s best friend. His wedding is covered by the big media house. She blesses her son and daughter-in-law in the temple where they visit to distribute food and clothing to the beggars. She is highly unrecognizable in her torn dirty saree and untidy appearance. While accepting the alms, she touches Sunny’s feet as if she is asking for an apology for her ill-treatment. Sunny moves further and doesn’t look back to notice who has touched his feet. 

Abhay gets released from prison. The jail environment has turned him into a destructive-minded person. He is not a refined gentleman, but a dangerous rogue whose aim is to take revenge upon his mother. He reaches home, hurls abuse on his mother, beats her badly, and announces she is unworthy of being a mother. She swallows the pills of insult because she is receiving what she deserves. 

A month later, Abhay brings a young lady into the home after marrying her in a temple. She blesses the couple. Her daughter-in-law mirrors her. She is denied love, care, and respect in her old age. Abhay hates her because in the jail he has also taken a glimpse of Sunny’s picture printed on the front page of the leading newspaper. He blames his mother for his present condition. He accepts that God has punished both of them for the injustice they have done to the innocent boy. 

A year later, Abhay becomes the father of a girl. To maintain the household expenses his wife works as a maidservant in others’ houses. Soon, his daughter also joins her. Because of his ill reputation, he has to work as a wall painter. His contractor never trusts him and always keeps surveillance on him. He earns much less than what he has earned as an office boy. His daughter doesn’t go to school because he can’t afford her school fee. Every morning while leaving the house for work, and in the late evening when he returns, he curses his mother.

Abhay’s daughter feels pity for her grandmother. She shares her pain with Sheela. Sheela knows her family history because her grandfather has narrated to her the story of Abhay’s childhood and the ugly nature of his mother. Her grandfather has seen the growth of Sunny while working in the grocery shop of Radheshyamji. He has clearly warned Sheela not to disclose the history to her friend as it will be considered disobedience to God because Abhay and his mother are facing the wrath of God. 

Sheela says to Bhavana, ‘Ma’am, I feel sorry for the grandmother but she has to do the penance in this life for her misdeeds. ‘

A week later, she dies out of hunger. Abhay and his wife show no interest in her last rituals. The neighbours do her cremation. Sunny is informed about the loss of his mother. He sheds tears and meets Abhay. Abhay asks for forgiveness as he has always obeyed his mother in ignorance. Sunny forgives him and takes responsibility for his niece’s education. 

Time is no more the same. It is changed forever. Abhay decides to mend his ways of living and earn respect. Sunny shifts them to a decent locality and provides them necessary aid to live a respectful life. He is treading on the glittered path of humanity shown by Radheshyamji.

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