The Metamorphosis

The sweet chirruping of the early birds awoke Sumathi from her sleep. It was dawn once more. Ignoring the ache she slowly stretched her painful arthritis woven limbs to the floor, and limbed like a broken winged bird towards the window to glance across the horizon as she usually does. "The Dawn" - first phase of a day, it covered the whole earth with radiance, the leaves of the trees stood still, waiting for the rise of the golden sun, the natural nourisher of Earth. The birds sang as though they played the welcome notes of a flute, the matured flower buds bloomed as though spreading the floral carpet for their honorable guest. Sumathi never missed a change, she knew which new bird had perched across the fence, and how many shrubs or mushrooms have sprouted on the lawn. A mild blush spread across her wrinkled cheeks when she saw the beautiful flowers wafting fragrance and nodding at her as though thanking her for bringing them up. Yes, it was Sumathi who took initiative to carve such a beautiful flower garden at the front and a kitchen garden at the rear side of the huge old-age building. At first she was having a weird feeling of getting settled here. Now it was her Eden. She gave a deep sigh and slowly moved forward towards her husband Ravindran's bed, she could see the irregular breathing owing to the palpitation of his heart. "Common Ravi, get up, its already 6 am, go for your morning walk", Ravi got up with a jolt as though her voice was the waking alarm clock and followed her who was keeping on cautioning him. "Slowly.... please, don't over exert yourself".

While taking his morning walk, Ravindran's whole mind was occupied with Sumathi's thoughts. How could she balance in such a composed way, it must be the natural strength, the gift from the creator, who moulds the womb to hold the offspring and breasts to feed until fledged enough to eat by themselves. That same force activated in a woman to overcome miseries and turmoil's more than a man could. How is she bearing the pain of separation of their only son, she was so possessive, and over considerate in the case of Rahul. Not once had she allowed him to scold Rahul. Rahul was bit impertinent right from the beginning but Sumathi always stated, "See Ravi, our Rahul is brilliant in his studies, have you ever seen him getting a second place in class? All his teachers are just ignoring his arrogance, because he is the topper of the school. Then why can't you?" Well it was true to a great extent. Rahul bagged the highest and with a scholarship, flew to States for higher studies and built a career. Though Sumathi couldn't bear his absence she bid farewell, as she wanted to see her only son reach his zenith.

For years Sumathi used to wonder. "How could he do this to us? What was he lacking?" She thought for the umpteenth time, "Oh! I shouldn't have ignored Ravi's warning". Initially it was the decrease in phone calls and mails, then his affinity towards the liberated life at States, and it was in a very casual manner he expressed ten years back, "Mamma dear, I have decided to settle down here, I have chosen a Blonde of my choice as my life partner, I am comfortable here and happy too". Happiness! What is this emotion which drives a man crazy to an extent so as to make him blind to others feelings? The constant out pour of tears has even drained out the marrow of her very bones. She turned an arthritic. She had lain for many years in their home silently listening to the tick-tock of the clock doing nothing, thinking that the world has come to an end. Poor Ravi had a tough time trying to convert Sumathi to this present stage. He made her realize that rest of the life should be utilised. "There are so many who might need us. Being born as humans we should think sensibly," he remarked. He sold the house to erase the memories of Rahul and shifted to this Old-age home. The proceeds were donated here. Sumathi admired Ravi's tact in dealing crisis. It was really a wise decision. Seeing the plight and sorrow of the inmates here, she could forget her own. There were persons who were deserted deliberately by their children, as they didn't have time while trying to compete with other business magnets. There were the sick and dishearten ones and others lonely and desperate for love, all were treated alike, ate from the same table and prayed in the common hall without any discrimination. Sumathi felt as though this transformation has made her human. She moved around counseling and caring the inmates who craved for love. She erased the feeling of uselessness in them and soothingly cajoled them to engross themselves in gardening and other activities. By doing so she forgot the pain inflicted by Rahul.

The long chime of a bell put an end to Sumathi's gushing thoughts. She turned around and found Ravindran with a smile ready to move towards the common prayer hall for their morning prayers. Both of them walked with slow strides yet with high spirit to receive the warmth of their creator forgetting everything. Both felt the larvae stage inside the pupa is over and the full-fledged butterflies flew around rejoicing and spreading cheer for all.

Jacintha Morris,
Welfare Assistant
AG's Office

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