It was the 23rd of April, summer. It was like any other day, but, for me, it was special. The scorching heat of the sun felt as feather’s touch that day. The local howling wind ‘loo’ which used to scare me felt like a lullaby, the rustling of leaves like music. The birds seemed to be conversing with me.
Why? Today my grandchildren were coming to meet me. A big day of rejoicing for an oldie of 63 years like me who had lost all her loved ones except her darling grandchildren. They were a world for me. A reason for me to live.
“Oh! How can I forget the house?” I said, looking at the messy house. I took my duster and began dusting and pondering about all the things that will follow when they would come home. Bedtime stories were an obligation for them, they wouldn’t spend a day without eating my cookies and how can we exclude skating and painting? Hahaha! Petite things but of high worth.
After a couple of hours, when the cookies were baked, the house was dusted I revived something..... “The attic!!!” How can I forget? It’s their favourite place and it has been shut since the time they have gone. It has been two years. “Oh! No time to spare. I must dust it before they arrive. Everything ought to be ideal.” I vocalised my notion. I took my duster and bustled upstairs. “Ekhm! Ekhm!” I rasped as I directed the key into the lock to unfasten it. There was dust in every nook of the attic! “Ok ...let me see from where to begin,” I mumbled browsing the place. I conclusively chose to whisk the floor after dusting the room a little. It only had dust but otherwise was impeccable. I instantly proceeded with my task.
After a while when I was in the midst of my cleansing I knocked into something......
I just glanced at it. It was a carton. A cardboard carton coated with a concrete layer of dirt. I never saw it, so I was fuelled with curiosity right at that moment to grasp what was inside it, the child in me was awakened by this article. I crouped as I brushed off the dust on that box. I slid my fingers in between the gap that was centrally located between the two flaps of the carton to open it.
What I saw was humorous. It was jammed with glass balls! Hahaahaaha...Hahaha...... I nearly died laughing. My hilarity couldn’t be restrained. “Oh, only this was there in this carton?”I started giggling. Such an antique carton with so dense layer of dust not opened for ages and this is what I discovered here. I imagined there must be elements which would unveil histories. Like those books or letters which have hidden signs to get to an unknown treasure or reveal the answers to most confusing mysteries!
As I was thinking all this, a crumpled paper landed on my lap. 'Never underestimate' was scrawled on it. As I read it and glanced at those glass balls they appeared to be gleaming in a unique florescent shine. It was astonishing. Following my instinct, I picked up one of those glass balls and as soon as I kept it on my hand it shattered and all other balls followed it..... and up came the reminiscences of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and those unforgettable mishaps which had produced scars in my heart. Tears trickled down my eyes as these glass balls shattered one by one.
I couldn’t command my sentiments now as I viewed those accidents picture rising and going on as a film which couldn’t be stopped and enveloped me in darkness with no light to guide me through it except my own courage to remember those and to face them. I have always been the most bubbly child, most lovely wife and a take- it- easy boss. But inside I am the most unfortunate person...
I still distinctly remember those unfortunate accidents....................
It was the 13th of March, 1967. Life was a song and so was my golden childhood. Then I heard the news.......a chill ran down my spine, I was dumbstruck. The plane in which my parents were travelling had crashed and so did my soul. Relatives were supportive and encouraging but they could not understand the needs of my siblings and me. One by one they left after two-three months. I was left alone and with this, I had matured beyond my age. With my increasing responsibilities, spending time on grief was a luxury. I had to be strong for my siblings and somewhere as I thought the souls of my parents would attain peace.
Two years later I was bid off as a bride. My black and white life now had some spots of colours to it, with my siblings, husband and in-laws. These spots were more than enough to give me hope that life could be better. These spots began to grow bigger with time and my life became colourful again seeing my siblings becoming independent and leading a successful life.
On 19th April 1976, my daughter Maya was born. It felt like she was a reflection of my parents and my parents had come back to me.
Several monsoons with the croaking of frogs, winters with hand knitted sweaters and summers with ice-creams passed away.
Maya now was a mother of identical twins. My husband, Maya and my son-in-law were going for a crucial business meet and had left the babies in my care.
After a couple of hours, the landline rang. I received the call. It was from SMS hospital. They reported that my relatives had undergone an accident and were in critical condition and disconnected the phone. I grabbed the children and darted to the hospital immediately. I saw my family struggling for life. I couldn’t but had to control my tears. I had to be strong to support them and encourage them to be positive about their recovery. The treatment went on for a prolonged time but they couldn’t be saved. I was left alone with the kids. This pain had brought new responsibilities and spending time on grief was still a luxury.........
As I was reliving all this, new glass balls came out of my head and heart and kept on shattering. I was crying bitterly and uncontrollably. I cried all my emotions out.
After a while, the glass balls which had bitter memories withered away and soon vanished taking those memories along . The glass balls having enamoured memories joined as mysteriously as they had shattered and went into my head and heart.
One last ball shattered and up came from it the people I had lost; my parents, husband, daughter and son-in-law. They all hugged me and said “We are proud of you. Our soul could rest because you were strong.” Before disappearing my mother said one more thing to me “Expressing your feelings should not be considered luxury in spite of all the odds you might have. If they are not expressed they’ll prick you and your heart always.” I completely understood what she said. I was feeling much better now. I felt that something which was pierced in my heart was finally expelled today.
My last tear shrivelled, I heard a knock on the door and hastened to unlock it to meet my grandchildren.