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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The irony of fate - innervoice@hindustantimes.com

Veena Gabriel
 
EVERY TIME THE LITTLE ONE FALTERED, TWO PAIR OF HANDS SHOT OUT TO SAFEGUARD HIM

I have known this couple since childhood. They were our neighbours. Newly married, their love and closeness was a topic of discussion in our society. Time passed.
From a couple, they graduated to become proud parents of a bonny boy. Every evening the trio used to come to the society park. Their son had started taking baby steps.
Every time the little one faltered, the two pairs of hands shot out to safeguard him.
They also removed every tiny pebble to protect the delicate feet of their son.
When school time came, the father carried the heavy school bag and mother caught hold of the tiny hand, guiding him and protecting him. At noon it was the turn of the mother to carry the school bag. She also carried cold water for her son. It was like the three lived in a magical world of their own.
Time passed, the parents grew older and the son matured into an eligible bachelor. And then came his marriage and the birth of the old couple's first grandson. Every event was celebrated with great fanfare. One could see the grandparents trying to cope with the exuberance of their grandson. Their whole life was concentrated on him.
The wheel of time does not stop for anyone. I was not able to visit my maternal home for a long time, but when I paid that long overdue visit, I saw a very shocking sight. The old lady, nearly bent, could walk, albeit haltingly; but her sole companion was her walking stick, without which she was unable to take even a single step. The old man's condition was more pathetic. He could not walk at all on his own. His companion was a bored teenaged servant whose job was to take him for his evening walk from home to the bench in the nearby park and back home.
The loving pair of hands has got a lifeless stick and an indifferent stranger in exchange for a whole lifetime of selfless service. They didn't deserve this. What a tragic irony!


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
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