The Woman in the Mundu!
The bus jerks along on the road as I get back home from Office. It’s only 6:30pm and I’ve still got about 20kms to traverse. That effectively translated to an hour’s time given the traffic situation at M’patnam. A colleague seated beside me is hooked to the Fountainhead in her hands and is already drooping. Damn and I’m here still awake. My gray cells surprisingly show no signs of tiredness and at the same time my mp3 player gets discharged totally.How better can things get !
All I get to do is gape out of the window thinking nothing worthwhile. All of a sudden, there falls a drop on my semi protruding head and even before I realize, it starts drizzling. The first summer rain! People on the road start flurrying on the roads and kids start jumping all around. Amidst all this my sight chances on a frail old woman in the typical white malayali mundu( Dhothi) trying to stop an autorickshaw. For a second there was a sudden thought impulse passed on to my brain- Was this Paruammai?
I spring from my seat , literally jerk the female beside me and jump out of the bus. Fortunately, the bus was round a corner and there wasn’t much traffic. But even before I get close, the Auto driver pulls the rod and pushes off.All I get to see is a part of the mundu flirting with the wind.
Paruammai was more of a family member till a few years ago. She’d come in as a servant maid and soon became a part of the family . She’d helped taking care of me and ideally most of the kids in the family at Hyd right from when we were born! She’s been a part and parcel of every family function that I remember and would easily be notching 90 now. About four years ago, she left for her own native – Andhra, a place in Kerala. Old age was taking its toll and she wanted to spend time with people from her bloodline.
I jump into another rickshaw and ask him to follow the other one. He skeptically gives me a look but nevertheless accedes. Traffic makes things worse and we happen to trail for sometime. The other auto takes a left a bit ahead and even before my guy follows the trail and turns around we’ve lost track. Lanes and diversions!
I hop out and start walking across almost giving up. Just when i decide to get back, I notice a rustic building a few yards away. Something urges me to check it out. I walk towards it and there sight a board fading to cry out – Dasmar Old age home. The woman I saw on the roads is now walking towards the door with a pole in her hand. I knock uneasily on the gate to get her attention.
She turns around and I realise this wasn’t Paruammai. The woman limps towards the gate slowly and even before I open my mouth in a hoarse voice she blurts out – Maakevaru oddhu! Avalsinantha ayipoyindhi! ( We dont need anyone. All that had to be done is done!) .
I’m at loss of words. All I do is shamelessly walk back trying to find my way out of the maze. Back on the roads I hurl myself into an auto and am back home…Hope Paruammai is hale and hearty wherever she is!
Forgoing one’s own relations for petty benefits? How insane people can get!!!
CARE FOR YOUR PEOPLE!