Saturday, December 03, 2005

Paati

They used to fight over her. They would fight about who got to lie on her lap. Who got the first and last vaai (mouthful) of food when she fed them. About whom she would bathe that day. They even fought over who she loved the most. And which one of them loved her the most.

“My house is too small” says the eldest daughter-in-law

“My son needs the extra room to prepare for his board exams” says the youngest son.

Silence from her daughter.

“How was I to know that she slipped and fell in the bathroom?” says her other son.

They still fight over her. Who will keep her. Who will pay for her hospital bills. Who will clean up after she wets herself.

Her granddaughter looks at her. The wrinkled skin. The worn, gold bangles. The frilled nightgown from Pondy Bazaar that has replaced the regal, nine yard sarees she once wore.

“Amma, we will keep paati” she says.

They take her home. She sees her two grand daughters fight for their mother’s affection and attention. They fight over which one of them she loves more. Who gets the last vaai of food. Who gives her the last kiss goodnight.

And she hopes that history does not repeat itself.

15 comments:

LAK said...

Hopefully, history will not repeat itself, because it was the granddaughter who said lets take her home. Shudder---it should not happen to any parent.

Ash said...

Hmmmm. Depressing thought.

IdeaSmith said...

That's very well-written. The story isn't new but its expression is fresh and makes it well worth a read. Keep it up!

shyam said...

nice.

WA said...

So sad and nicely written

San said...

beautiful post.

Parii said...

A few days ago, two of my aunts, who have only sons and no daughters, confided to my mom that they wished they had a daughter too. The same women who held their heads up so high because they had no 'liability', because they would never have to 'sar jhukao' in front of anyone, now wish they had the companionship and love of a daughter instead. They feel so old and lonely, they say. Their daughters-in-law are just waiting for them to die, while my mom is still in bloom, with me, her daughter by her side.

At the end of the day, it's not the people you live with but the love you die with that counts.

√úbermaniam said...

Sigh. We miss the writer.

Sakshi said...

Sad..but harsh reality.

shub said...

some things will never change...in fact, they'll just get worse. sadly, its about us...

Sujatha said...

Very sad, but there are so many examples of this stuff in real life. I've read stories of children taking their aged parents to the Kumbhmela and just leaving them there in the mad rush of people without telling them anything. On the bright side, a story of parents sticking up for themselves and sticking it to callous children - a couple in Andhra sued their son because he usurped the land that they were sustaining themselves on.

thennavan said...

I can relate to this and that is why this is a really good post :-)

Minal said...

So true this post and I pray no one has to endure this pain!
Very well written...

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Well at least there are 13 sets of parents here who having nothing to worry about :)

Usha said...

Very touching.
People seem to forget
1. that old age is an inevitable state we will all go through and
2.that what goes around comes around.