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Sasmita Jena

Abstract


4.0  

Sasmita Jena

Abstract


The old lady next door

The old lady next door

5 mins 252 5 mins 252

There lived an old lady in front of my house in my neighborhood. She would be around 65 years old but looks like around 50. At such an old age also, she had a bright face, beautiful smile, and long white hair. She was a widow and her husband left her with two daughters, both had well-settled families. She was staying with her younger daughter, son in law, and two grandchildren. But sometimes she would visit her village for a month or two, to see her old bedridden mother.


The lady's day would start with a whistling sound. Yes, the sound would come from the trash collector. Every day he would blow the whistle three to four times, which is enough to alert the people to get ready with their trashes. Everyone would leave their dustbins at the doorstep. But this old lady had some extraordinary way of giving trash. She would keep her trash in a series of polythene bags. She would stand near her door before the trash collector comes till he leaves the place, only to ensure that all trash bags are collected from her house. Sometimes she would forget to give some of the bags and would call the trash collector from behind, "hey Ramu, can you please come back and take some more trash bags? I forgot to keep them". The trash collector's name was Ramu. He would get irritated by hearing this from the old lady. In spite of alerting several times, how could this silly lady forget to keep the trash? He would come back and shout, "Arey Amma, how many times you want me to alert you. I have to collect trashes from other houses as well. I can't spend my whole day at your house. Try to understand. Be careful from tomorrow, otherwise, I won't collect a single bag from your house." The old lady would reply, "hey don't get angry, I am not taking your whole day. Please do your work and leave. If you shout like this, I will talk to the manager of the society and make you jobless." After hearing this Ramu replied with a grin, "Amma, you took the matter seriously. My intension was to make you punctual like other house people. I am a poor guy, I don't have any courage to shout at you. Anyways, I am sorry and have a good day." With these pleasing words, Ramu took the bags and left the place. After half an hour, the lady would again come out for cleaning her veranda with the help of her maid. The maid was working for a long time in their house, but still, this old lady would guide her every day as if the maid is a new one. Most of the time, she would scold the maid for not doing her work properly, "Lakshmi, how many times I have to tell you to sweep like this. Don't waste much water. Do it fast." The maid would smile and reply, "Amma, you are a much-experienced person. I am nothing as compared to you. I am just helping you out." The old lady would reply, "stop buttering me too much. Finish your work on time and yes don't forget to take the lunch box containing the lemon rice. I have prepared a little bit more, so I kept some for you in the fridge." The maid would reply, "thank you Amma for your kind heart." I would love to watch all these things from my window as if some tv show is going on. She was a very spontaneous lady. For example, If you see her near her veranda, the very next moment, you will find her on the terrace doing some work. Though the lady's words sounded harsh for some people, still she was liked by them because of her kind heart.


Then the lady would go behind her door for hours and wouldn't come out unless having some work. She would take a bath and chant on bhajans. She would be always busy in some works after her grandchildren left for their school. Whether it's drying up of cloths in the terrace or cleaning the house or watering the plants. She would love to help her daughter in her daily house chores. She would also look after her grandchildren after their return from the school. But for only one work, she spends lots of hours. The work was to pluck flower buds from the plant in front of her house. The bud belongs to a white small flower with a nice fragrance. The bud would bloom during the night or before the sunrise. Her way of plucking the buds was unique. She would put a ladder on the floor and climb on it up to the maximum height possible. She would first balance herself, then would hold a vessel in one hand and pluck the buds using another hand. She would normally do this work during the early evening. One day I asked her, "Aunty! don't you think you are risking your life while plucking these buds? You might get a fall in case if you lose balance. You can pluck enough flowers in the morning as well." The old lady replied with a cute smile, "You are right dear. But I am very much acquainted with this daily activity. This is a kind of love and devotion towards my god. If something happens to me during such activity, no one should regret. My life is god gifted, let him/her decide my fate. Since, the flower blooms during the early morning, other people might steal away. I can stay without food for one day, but can't worship God without flower for a single day." With her satisfying words, I realised that she is truly devotional and can go to any extent for her devotion. Apart from these, the lady would often ask me about the wellbeing of my son and other family members whenever I come out of my house.


I had developed an attraction for her due to her motherly affection. Sometimes I miss her, whenever she travels to her mother's house for one or more months. She is not my family member but still, I could feel the emptiness when she is not around. Maybe I have developed a habit of seeing her every day wandering near her house and having satisfaction in my heart that she is doing well and good.


Some people really make space in our hearts without any special reason and their affection for us is unconditional.


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