Braving it alone

We could see her almost speaking to the vast variety of flowers.

She was 81 and loved her life to the hilt. Nature seemed to have bestowed on her a rare gift of finding an inexplicable charm in practically every person who came into her life and in everything around her notwithstanding the adversities she was destined to experience following the premature accidental death of her husband. Her only daughter had settled down in Boston with her family and she lived alone in a spacious house next to ours. Not one to be put off by the depressing situation to which life had exposed her, she was determined to brave it alone and had found solace in pursuing her favourite hobby.

Widely travelled that she was and being an effusive collector of curios and artifacts of every conceivable description, her house was a miniature museum of artifacts representing the cultural soul of the places she had visited. Starting from the cute statue of the meditating Chinese Buddha to the glass-encased piece of the dismantled Berlin wall—not to mention the countless pieces that spoke of the artistic excellence of the respective places of their origin—the myriad beauties she had painstakingly collected adorned her drawing hall.  Every fortnight she would religiously wipe each of those pieces clean with utmost care and never allowed her maid to break this ritual even when she was not well.

The scenario would be incomplete without mentioning her collection of more than half a century old copies of her favourite magazines, neatly bound and chronologically displayed on exquisitely fabricated shelves in her study room. This is apart from the full volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica and albums containing autographs of celebrities in several fields of her taste which she had personally collected since her school days.

 The picture is not complete yet. It would be blasphemous if adequate coverage is not made of the garden which she had devotedly nurtured within her spacious compound spending entire evenings in the soothing company of her carefully chosen plants and of her feeling immersed in the glorious riot of colours pouring from their floral exuberance. We could see her almost speaking to the vast variety of flowers, gently touching their petals as she would the tender cheeks of the smiling infants. With these companions she had managed to keep loneliness at bay. 

As if this enchanting scenario of a simple and peaceful existence was too good to last, she took ill and despite her determined efforts she could not withstand the onslaught of the dreaded cancer and the end came sooner than expected. It was now left to her daughter, who had arrived in time and shared the painful hours at the bed side of her ailing mother, to take charge of the little sentimental empire left behind. Expressing no desire to visit this country again in the absence of the only link she adored and left with no other alternative, she decided to sell the house with all its physical belongings before returning. 

That dreadful day saw a huge truck getting loaded with the household items and as the last box containing the sentimental wealth of the departed soul was being loaded for disposal the daughter could not contain her tears. Waving us goodbye her cab moved, followed by the truck, and at the end of the road both the vehicles vanished in opposite directions—one towards the airport and the other to junk market, ending a tiny unsung saga of intense worldly attachment.

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