Braving all of life's odds

Braving all of life's odds

She was 81 and loved her life to the hilt. Nature seemed to have blessed her with the rare virtue of relishing the present and cherishing the joy in the little things with a sense of gratitude. This, despite life being unfair to her, with slings of tears outnumbering the glows of smiles all through.

To cap it all, she had been destined to experience the premature accidental death of her husband at a young age. 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 give up in the face of the depressing situation to which life had exposed her, she was determined to brave it alone and had found solace in pursuing her favorite hobby.

Widely-travelled that she was and a zealous collector of curios and artefacts of every conceivable description, her house was a miniature museum 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 objects of art that spoke of the creative excellence of their respective places of origin — the myriad beauties she had painstakingly collected adorned her drawing room.

This scenario would be incomplete without mentioning her cherished collection of cassettes comprising the soulful devotional renditions of MS, the soothing gazals of Jagjit Singh and Sandhya Mukherji’s Rabindra Sangeet, to name only a few. The picture would still be incomplete if adequate coverage is not made of her garden where she spent entire evenings in the soothing company of her favourite plants and her absorption in the glorious riot of colours pouring in profusion 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 smiling infants. It was with these companions that she had managed to keep loneliness at bay.

As if this 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 last painful days by the bedside 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 had adored and left with no other alternative, she decided to sell the house with all its physical belongings before returning.

That tragic day saw a huge truck being loaded with household items. 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 the junk market, ending a short unsung saga of an indomitable endurance against all odds.