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Prapti fondly remembered the lovely relation that Amma and thatha shared. The mutual respect and understanding was amazing.
Droplets of water were dripping off the leaf on the tree outside the window. Prapti was watching her mom Hema from the bedroom. She was not sure how long her mom had been watching the droplets drop.
It had been a pretty stormy night. Morning seemed to be a new beginning carrying faint memories of last night. The sound of the alarm clock snapped Hema out of her thoughts. She had a long day today and thought better to gear up to face what the day has in store for her.
Hema went to her kids bedroom to make sure that they didn’t sleep off after snoozing the alarm. Prapti woke up, hugged her mom tight and rushed to get ready for her busy day at school. Anand was still snuggling in the cozy bed not ready to face the day yet.
Hema always gave him some extra time to sleep. Prapti adored her brother. She was always game with the extra love and care her brother got. And she idolised her brother and was ready to fight with the world to make sure that he was happy.
The past four months were a rough patch for the family. It was difficult to judge who was most affected and the most in pain. Life can be cruel when you least expect it to be.
It has been four months since Hema lost her husband. The most loving caring and trustworthy husband. A husband who was always smiling and enjoying life. Hema still could not believe that he was gone leaving behind loads of memories… memories of a lifetime.
“Can someone take the bags to the kitchen?” Prapti ran to the door as soon as she her heard her grandfather’s voice. She picked up the grocery bags and took them to the kitchen.
He looked at Hema and asked, “Are you ready for the big day today my lovely daughter?”
Hema smiled and said “Hope so, Appa.”
She always wondered how Appa had a smiling face, despite all the adversities he has seen in his life. The kids also appreciated the positive attitude their grandfather had towards life. There was a lot to learn from this great man.
Prapti knew thatha was as anxious about Hema’s first day as a teacher as she was. Hema has been a dutiful and loving housewife all her married life. Now life put her in a crossroad where she had to step out and do something to maintain her mental sanity.
It’s been only four months since Prapti and Anand lost their dad. The family has been struggling emotionally and financially. They were all fighting with their own sorrow but didn’t want the other family members to know the magnitude of their sorrow.
Hema was literally losing her mind but successfully hid her emotions from everyone. More than the children she wanted to be strong in front of her 81 year old Appa since she did not want him seeing how broken his daughter was.
Anand was getting ready for college, Prapti was getting ready for school, and Hema was cooking. However, her mind was preoccupied on how she was going to teach high school kids English.
Hema was well educated, in fact, she was a gold medalist in college. She never went to work as she prioritised taking care of her family above anything else. Today she has an opportunity knocking at the door to go out and work. But emotionally, she was stressed and worried about how she would do in her trial class.
Prapti was wearing her shoes when she heard thatha go into the kitchen and say, “You will be fine Hema, you will do well. If you want to study further, you have my full support my daughter.”
Prapti knew that those words would help Hema overcome her fears and do well today. She was very touched by thatha’s words.
Prapti left for school saying bye to everyone. While jumping down the stairwell of her apartment she thought of how her mom was a great emotional support to thatha in the past four months.
She was struggling with own her loss but constantly tried to lift up Appa’s spirits and was by his side. Prapti fondly remembered the lovely relation that Amma and thatha shared. The mutual respect and understanding was amazing. Prapti grew up thinking that Amma was thatha’s daughter. She never realised that her grandfather was actually her dad’s father.
Fast forward to 25 years later. Prapti was sitting on the swing in her backyard sipping a cup of coffee. She watched the droplets of water drip from the leaves. And didn’t remember how long she was watching the droplets fall. But she did remember the rainy morning from 25 years ago, four months after her appa’s death.
It was her mom’s first day as teacher and an important day for all of them – her brother and her thatha. She fondly remembered them and reflected upon the beautiful relationship that her mom shared with her father-in-law. Such was their bond that in his last days, thatha identified amma as his daughter and appa as his son-in-law.
This was one of the numerous beautiful bonds she’d witnessed growing up. They formed the basis of all the relations she formed in life. And taught her that her in-laws weren’t just her husband’s parents. She realised one is blessed when they have two sets of parents and siblings to share their lives with. A true blessing, she thought.
Memories are the best treasure you possess. They are priceless. As Prapti finished her coffee while enjoying the weather, she felt rich about the chest of treasure in her heart. Priceless treasure, indeed.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna…
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