A full circle

A full circle

It was after my usual round of walks in the nearby park. I had settled down to rest on the stone bench, when I noticed something that made me sit up. An elderly lady, perhaps in her seventies, was behaving rather unusually; she was standing behind a small bush as if hiding from somebody, sometimes craning her neck to catch a glimpse of I didn’t know what, sometimes ducking, at others slouching, all the time her eyes darting hither and thither.

My curiosity grew, who was she watching? Perhaps if she were younger I would have thought she is keeping an eye on her boy friend or spouse, but at this age? As I watched her, her glance met mine and she smiled. I beckoned her to come and sit next to me, which she did quite readily. Unable to control myself, I asked, “What were you looking out for?” “My husband”, she said, “He has had an open heart surgery a few days back and insists he is fit to come out on his own. I am not so sure, so I come behind him without his knowledge to see that he is safe.”

I looked at her dazed. Was this Love? Was it fear? Was it the duty that bounded her to protect her husband? On his part was he fighting to hold onto his last streak of independence? As these thoughts ran in my mind, the lady got up, “There he goes, he is leaving”, she said and disappeared from my line of vision as she walked fast to catch up with him; without being seen by him; of course.

As I mused over what I had seen and heard, and mentally admired the lady for the witty way in which she was handling the situation, my eyes fell on a small child, playing contentedly near his devoted mother, the bond they shared was spell binding, the mother teased and cajoled the child to play, yet having an eagles’ eye on him so he was safe. The child looked so vulnerable and completely dependent on his doting mother. “In a few years time he would grow up”, I thought, “to enter the tantalizing teens, when his fervor for independence will perhaps forbid his mother from entering his room without a knock!” Childhood, adolescence,  adulthood, old age, each stage of our life is connected and entwined into the other, yet each phase appears to be so distinctly different!

As an adult we are bound by responsibilities and at both marriage and work, life teaches us the art and skill of cooperation and co- dependence. Just as one tries to master these skills, old age catches on and the fight to feather away any form of help from others does not last very long, the slipping into the child like state of dependence on others around engulfs sooner or later. As the saying goes, “Life takes us through a full circle”!

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