My school vacations were always spent at my native, the calm nostalgic village in the outskirts of Trivandrum, I spent the entire time in there in 2 parts, one with my dad’s kin and the other with my mom’s folks.. I enjoyed my time in both these places, partly because of the popularity and weight-age I gain because, I was the only kid in my family growing up in a big city! And partly because of the other kids of my age… they were bored with each other and my company was a treat to them.. I liked to bask myself the best in this lime light showered.. little did I know that “distance breeds familiarity and longing”, and these kinds would get bored of me also if I stayed more.
If Agony Aunt means the one who solve others problems then this is not true about mine… I may have to rephrase it. My Aunt, my father’s sister was a small, fragile and lean old lady in appearance, any one seeing her for the first time, may ask me “This small lady is the agony aunt..? I would say without beat of a second that she is indeed and is capable of many things…
|Courtesy: Google-Draper painting|
The only place that was boring was my aunt’s, her children were grown up and well settled in Dubai. So, it was me, her, my uncle and the 2 dogs in the big house. After few boring days, I found a new entertainment for myself, accompanying my aunty throughout her errands. Where ever she went I went with her. She was more than happy to show-off her brothers daughter, the pretty little girl, Oh I am not swaggering here that was how she called me.
I watched and mimicked her proud walking style across the lane where she would stand leaning on her neighbour’s fence and chit chat. She had a special talent of absorbing others moods, she was like a mirror. If they brag, she brags more, if they are gloomy about their bad luck, then she paints them a picture of herself, the most unlucky women of the world. At times she get very much involved and carried away, that a few tears lingered. These little plays made me smile, I keep wondering if her talent is getting better and better, for every time she wins, either her opponents feel pathetic for her or green-eyed over her prosperity.
On one such day in my 8th standard vacation, I was accompanying her when she said that we were going for a sad event, a condolence to a virgin widow. For my enquiry of what virgin meant, she said, that this girls husband left her on the wedding day to military and was killed in the war. So she never got to live with him and that was virgin, though I deny the meaning now, back then I was a kid and swallowed it without water.
As we reached there, only few people were standing outside the house, judging by the mood, I guessed that the incident was at least a week old. It was not all sad, people stood and sat in group merrily gossiping, my aunt joined a group and they spoke in hushed tone for some time until the girl’s mother showed up at the door. The mood of the group changed like the unpredicted weather alteration, they were sighing and letting out all sorts of sympathetic clatters and words. My aunt spoke with the mother and went into the bed room with her; I followed her, and held on to her hands. In the room I saw a beautiful young woman, the despair and melancholy was misplaced in her face which was supposed to be merry. After some customary exchanges, my aunt gave away her traditional consoling, and then started talking about her own pains, and burst into tears, thereby creating a big scene and few people came to pacify her.
I wondered, my aunt, the decision maker of her house and at times our house, who is filthy rich, who lived a happy married life and whose kids are well settled is comparing herself with a virgin widow of 25! a sudden shout from my aunt, stopped my train of thoughts..
She yelled “Oh.. my.. you little witch what are you doing!” and pushed me away, In my unconscious musing, I had pressed deep into her hands with my nails and in-between her rubbings I can see vivid marks of my 5 finger nails. I felt happy to have hurt her, and yet ashamed of her, that I moved away from her, the hatred might have been too visible in my eyes, the lady (widow) took my hands in hers and said,
“I wish I was like you.. Young, innocent and happy”
Being engrossed in pampering the wound, my aunty seem to have only heard the first half of her words, and said,
“Oh dear.. Don’t say so.. at least your life is not as bad and sad as mine..”
The lady said with a smirk,
“You are right Aunt, it is not as as yours..” and looked at me..
No one heard it fully, and none other than me heard what she said in the middle..
Was it “Silly? Or “filthy?”