Bina was busy in doing puja,a regular thing in which she keeps hershelf busy for an hour or two everyday morning & evening.what else she will do ? widow like her ,whose only son is in USA, with family ,does not have much to do in the village.laxmi the maid was there to help her in household works & cooking. shambhu the male help for outside works . Neighbours & relatives of the village KUSUPUR are very helpful & cooperative.Today Bina had planned to make mango pickles.
Laxmi had already made all the ness arrangements, like peeling the mangoes,cutting into diff sizes,arrangement of masala,jaggery,chillies,oil, earthen pots etc.Bina has to give the final touch only. PAPU ,her son is very fond of her hand made pickles,so does her daughter -in- law RITA. Children like muri,muan,fish curry,country cakes,dry mango chutney, & diff varieties of typical village items.From where they will get these kind of things in USA ?
Every year papu, along with his family comes for about one month to india ,out of that they go to his in-law & relative’s house for about 15 days.Hardly 10 days children stay with Bina in the village.some times she feels angry,but she knows her son & daughter in law are working as a doctors & they have some professional obligations too .she used to cursh her dead husband as to why he had allowed their only son to go abroad. That time SAMEER ( her husband) had told her that their son will come back after six years & will serve in the village.That became a distant dream till now.
Papu joined as a doctor in USA & got married to Rita ,his colleague doctor.Before marriage, Papu had urged BINA so many times to stay in USA with him, but she had told that ,she would come only after his marriage; bcoz what she will do once papu will go to hospital ?bahu & children can give her a company & she will enjoy the stay.But till now she has not visited USA even if papu had two children :elder daughter Shilpi ( 6 years),son Jitu (2 years).
Last year Rita has brought tickets for Bina, & forced her to go with them;even grandchildren also shouted that they will not leave India without grandmother, But,papu …….Just stood like a rock,did not ask mother a single time to come.Instead he told “maa may have some problem with the climate?.Bina cried that whole night & avoided the trip in some other pretext.why shall she will go when his own son is not interested ?A deep anguish has filled? her heart. On previous occasions also Papu has some excuses or the other ;- like terrorist attack,cold,loneliness etc etc.
Bina has made up her mind not to go to USA until her son pleads or forces her to come.that is why she is not using the shawl brought by Papu & has kept it in the box as a protest.yesterday her brother’s son SIBU has come & he was forcing her to go with him to states.Her own son is keeping mum .
A crow is shouting on the thatched roof since morning.laxmi has given some rice to the crow,as it is believed some guest or a letter is on the way if crow is cawing .anybody will come or whether any letter will come ?who will write letter to bina ?every alternate days grandchildren or papu,rita used to call her over phone.That’s all the communication.So many times she could not understand the accents of her grand children.
Somebody has knocked the front door. ?Ma,postman has come. Was i not? telling ?? Yelled laxmi.may be money order from papu might have come(which she hates,she does not require money;but likes to be with? her children).?A LETTER FROM PAPU?? bina was surprised.
Papu had written
“ pranam.i knew you are angry with me as I am not bringing you to USA or not forcing you to come here like rita.the reason you may feel strange, but true for me as I feel.rita & me are working in different hospital’s.nobody stays here to look after children.here the babysitters (ayas)? ,maids, cooks are very costly.that’s why even rita cannot force her parents to stay here.In USA thousands of old parents are living just like caretakers of their children? home,babysitters for their grandchildren.I have seen them suffering ,felt their despairs,their untold agony through their dry eyes.So many of them miss their homes at India,some miss their partners & friends & relatives.here they feel captive.I don’t want my mother to go through all those things.i want my mom should come here like my mother, not like an aya.Now you decide;whether to come now or not. I am sending air tickets for you.never misunderstand me.’
Lots of love
Bina sat down for a moment on the varanda.There was a trace of tear in her eyes.It was of course tear of happiness,joy.She went inside,opened the box & took out the shawl which was brought by papu.she put that shawl around her body.She was feeling a different warmth.warmth of love & affection.she looked at the wall ,where photo of Sameer( her? husband )was mounted.She felt as if Sameer was smiling.
(A FICTION ONLY)
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