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It all worked out perfectly. Aunty would come in at noon and begin tidying up. Ruchi had a cleaning guy come in every weekend to clean the entire apartment. So all aunty needed to do was cook and keep the kitchen clean afterwards. She would pick up clothes that were all over the house and sort and put them in the machine. She would fold the already sundried clothes from the balcony and place them neatly on the bed.
Ruchi , most of the time, made it a point to keep the house clean. But somedays , the house would be messier than usual and Aunty would need to do an extra bit of work. But she didn’t mind. She was used to taking care of her own family and Ruchi was like a daughter to her. She took her time to make dinner and keep it ready for use as needed.
She would receive the kids when they came from school, make snacks for them and also fuss over them when they refused to eat or freshen up. She made sure they were clean and well fed before Ruchi and Atul came home from work. She sometimes joined the family in their evening walks too. She would watch the kids play in the play area and she would have chatty conversations with others sitting around and keeping an eye on their own kids.
Her home was mostly empty, and there wasn’t much work that needed to be done except for making breakfast and dinner for the two of them. The daughter in law, Swati , did her share of the housework before she left for work. They both cooked and ate dinner together most of the days. On the days that Swati was on tour, she would spend time in front of the TV and have a quick light meal all by herself.
She prayed every morning and evening for the well being of both her family and Ruchi’s. Aunty was a kind soul. Some say widows tend to get hardened over time due to the lack of support from the society. She had been widowed quite early in life too. She managed to educate her son with whatever her husband had saved up for them and the little she got from her parents as inheritance. The son shifted to Bangalore from Chennai when he got a job. He forced his mother to join him and she had been living with him and then his family since then.
Life had been good to her. She never forgot to be grateful for all the blessings in her life. She was proud of the man her son had grown up to be. Her granddaughter Neelima grew up listening to her stories and she was the life of her home. Neelima would make a fine doctor someday. She had the compassion and the intelligence for it. Even after the loss of her only son, Maniamma, remained calm and supported her son’s widow as much as she could. Her own experiences in the past had made her more understanding of Swati’s plight. They had come through successfully from that deep sorrow.
The Serenity that such a fully lived life had brought to her life was amazing. Now, having found Ruchi, Maya and Meera, her life was back to being eventful and happy. Her heart was now filled with more gratitude.
To be continued…
‘I’m Writing Bravely for the Write Tribe Festival of Words – March 2019’