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Boring doesn’t even begin to describe what Ruchi was feeling that evening. The weather was good so she decided to go for an early evening walk. The colony she lived in had a lovely park in the center of the apartment blocks. This area is generally buzzing with activity when she goes for late evening walks with her husband and kids. The kids enjoy the play area, and the friends that they have made in that play area, over the past two years since they shifted here. Atul and Ruchi get their alone time away from the curious and always questioning two identical kindergarten attending dolls.
But today it was almost isolated. Just a few cleaners doing their daily tasks of keeping the park area clean and tidy. Ruchi enjoyed walking to the tune of the music from her mobile. She was on her third round of the park when she noticed an elderly lady sitting on one of the benches along the walking track. She looked sad and lonely. Knowing well what that felt like, she approached the bench and sat next to her.
She introduced herself , “Hi, I am Ruchi. I live in B block.”
There was no response from the lady, so she continued. “Are you okay aunty?”
Hearing the kind words, the woman looked at Ruchi and smiled. “I am alright dear. I was just taking a break from walking. I get tired too soon these days.”
Ruchi and her new found friend sat quietly for a while before they decided to start walking together. She introduced herself as Kanakamani. She lived in block C with her daughter in law. Her granddaughter was away at college and her daughter in law was out all day working to make ends meet. Her son had passed away a couple of years ago. They had been living in these apartments for a while now.
These walks and these talks became a daily routine. Ruchi began to look forward to her early evening walks with aunty. She would go back into her apartment only when the kids arrived from school. A bond stronger than friendship began to form between the two families.
The kids would be starting Grade 1 soon and Ruchi thought it was time she went back to work. She had left her job to take care of the twins when they had become a handful and she found it too taxing to handle between daycare , home and work. Atul was just starting his new business and he wasn’t in a position to contribute much time at home. So she made a choice. She thoroughly enjoyed taking care of the twins this far. But now they were in school and she was left with a lot of free time. She had already caught up on the movies and the books she had missed thus far. Now she was beginning to get bored.
Her constant worry during her job hunting was whether she will be able to handle a full time job and run a home completely on her own. She was on the look out for some household help. Someone to cook and clean and be there at home to receive the kids when they get back from school. She wanted someone who would come and go, so that in the early mornings and in the evenings the family would get their privacy.
During a conversation with aunty , Ruchi mentions about her plans. Aunty was quiet for the rest of the walk that day. She was deep in thought. The next day , the conversation was restarted and Aunty told her that she knew just the person to hire for the job. She wondered how much would the pay be, the timings and the list of chores that the help would require to do. She told Ruchi that someone would come to meet her the next day, if she agrees to all these terms and conditions.
To say that Ruchi was anxious the whole of next morning would be an understatement. Deciding who to leave the care of your children to is a tough decision to make. She was apprehensive and excited all morning.
At around 10 am, Ruchi opens the door to let Aunty in. She waited for a few seconds for someone to accompany Aunty. Disappointed, she closed the door and went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea for her guest.
Aunty comes into the kitchen to help. “Ruchi dear, I have been thinking of a way to make some pocket money for myself. It doesn’t feel good troubling my family for everything. After my son’s death, life has been hard for all of us. Do you think it would be alright if I took this job? It would keep me occupied and I love Maya and Meera. It will be a fun job for me. What do you think?”
That is how Maniamma ,the Miracle, had entered Ruchi’s household.
To be continued…
‘I’m Writing Bravely for the Write Tribe Festival of Words – March 2019’