Thursday, 5 January 2012

Old, grey and full of life




KALAYANI KALAMBI



Why must I refrain from having chocolates? I do not have diabetes. I am ninety running and every minute of life is a bonus from God, so I celebrate it. Just like my son says, ‘Kuch accha darne se phele khuch meetha ho jaye’. At the stage where I stand, every breath is something great.
No, no. Not the boy in the advertisement. My son says it. You don’t understand. He’s not copying the advertisement, he himself says it. He is a film maker. The Amul chocolate advertisement is his.
This place is nice. At my age what can I expect?
Why do you think I must live with him? The young have a life of their own and they must live it their way. It would  be nice to live with him but my bones are old and his are young. Actually we all lived together earlier, but then that was many many years ago. I still remember the day he was born. So far away those days have gone and yet they are so near to my heart. Children don’t really grow.  Not at least for their parents. I still feel I have just washed his dirty nappy and hung it to dry. In those days there were no diaper biapers. These modern things ! Shee Shee! Keeping the child dirty! Old is gold my child.
My husband was very proud of him. A son in those days was very important. In Hindus the son lights the pyre and gives mokshe to the parents. But then when he passed away my son was in New Zealand making some advertisement film there. It seemed that the set he was working on at that time was very expensive and it was impossible for him to leave it and come to Bombay. Ah! Sorry Mumbai. You wouldn’t know Bombay, would you? After all Bombay was on my tongue for more than half a century. It keeps slipping in even today after the change. Every thing has changed today. My son got married to my friend, the daughter of the Air-Chief of Maharashtra. Today it’s all so common but in those days many eye brows got raised. She was twenty years older to him. There is a twenty one year difference between him and me. These times are so difficult to understand. My children are senior citizens now. My great grand children come to meet me on my birthday. It’s so nice of them. How do I feel when they come? Okay. It helps me to keep track of my age. I miss my daughter a lot though. After all only a woman can truly understand a woman but she is settled in Dubai. She got widowed very early in life. I cried a lot for her that day. But tears get washed away with the sands of time. Now she is sixty five herself and lives with her son and daughter –in- law. How will those children bear the burden of two old women?  And now to top it all I am too old to be alive. I am better here I think. Not giving trouble to anybody at least. My bones give me trouble. Why talk about things changing outside. My own body has changed so much. In Mangalore, I was a badminton champion. I had won thirty five cups. I had also played in Mumbai where I worked under Private Service Commission. But this was all before India got independence. After marriage my husband didn’t allow me to work.  Though educated in England, he had the heart and mind of an Indian man. In 1944 I became a married woman and lost all my independence. Ha! Ha! And in 1945 India became independent. Irony? What do you call this ? Irony. Isn’t that right?
My son had lived in New Zealand I told you didn’t I? So he couldn’t then bear the heat over here. He told me to come and stay with him but he needed an A.C. all the time and my bones ache. He has a central A.C. in his house. After five to ten minutes I can’t bear the chill. So I found out this place in Harigram. Don’t you like this Ashram? Come I’ll show you the garden behind. Would you like to have a chocolate? Take this one. My daughter sent it for me. Oh my God! What’s the time? It’s time to call her. I like speaking to her everyday. She must have got up from her afternoon nap. I’d better rush to the lobby. The phone is over there. Mobile? Oh I lost the one my son had given me. It was quite an expensive one. After losing it I didn’t have the heart to ask him for another one. Don’t know where it fell off.  But he pays all my bills here. See that’s the garden there. I sit over there on that bench under that Banyan tree. It’s roots look so beautiful hanging down. It’s older than me you know. Ha! Ha! I feel good and protected in it’s shade. If you happen to come for a visit again may be next time for another assignment for your college work, come in the morning hours. We’ll sit there. The sunlight filters in through the branches and it’s good for my bones. We’ll chat there. Good Bye. Ah! One more thing. My name on the register is Padma Mundkar but that’s my name after I lost my independence, my marriage – I told you all about it. But you can call me Kalayani Kalambi. That’s my maiden name. I like it. It makes me feel young

1 comment:

  1. i am not habitual of reading long posts but i read whole of this.
    every emotion is very pure ,speaking loud of unconditional love of a mother for her children..

    somewhere in my heart i want to meet this mother and want to talk to her..

    awesome post...

    ReplyDelete