It is the story of my life heralding to its dusk but perhaps I am now getting weary of the same old chronicle as my pent up body feels drained of supporting my equally tardy soul. It has been seventy seven years of a life less ordinary and hence I can’t really blame my bones for giving up on me. How do I admonish these wrinkles that line up my once flawless face? They tried to stay at bay for the longest of times on the human calendar but couldn’t really hold up against Mother Nature’s. And when one came even though peeping out a little hesitantly, the others lined up earnestly, as if to party! My smiles and frowns and ups and downs, perhaps made their resistance even tougher. They say fairer and softer skin is more prone to visibility of age’s vengeance. Now do I thank god for them or call Him in court on charges of un‘fair’ness? I laugh at the irony, which like everything else, is evident to me alone.
Sometimes I wonder, had I led a common life of drudgery, would this decline into oblivion been less painful? Or should I be indebted instead that at least I had my share of envious gaiety even on the run? Lady luck had been kind to me although many others of my own gender could barely bear me; but even she has rules about availing her allotted quota. Mine extinguished due to mindless gorging. I managed to eat my cake and have it and even lick the plate clean! And whatever if any remained on my lips, others made sure to do the honours...if you know what I mean.
I have loved and been loved umpteenth of times in ways that could create epics, seen the world, been there and done that, raised many an eyebrows and then many a good children!
However, today the world seems to have moved on beyond my grasp. Love is just another four letter word that is still not slang. At my age you don’t ‘fall’ in love, for the vision is anyways impaired and the ‘falling’ is anyways an everyday affair. My good children are now struggling to be good parents and hence priorities have shifted. Wherever I have been and whatever I have done is something that can’t be done again. No matter how much the optimists proclaim that history repeats itself, I know it won’t, or at least mine won’t.
I watch how the grandchildren enter my room and bow their head in obeisance before filtering away in the blink of an eye to merrier milieus. I am not the traditional granny telling on her beads and watching freshly hair spa-ed and face lifted ‘saints’ on the idiot box. But I am a granny still...who forgets things, seldom walks and that too with a limp and the only thing hard about her is her hearing. I have a television set for company although everything there is either too soapy for my taste or too loud even for my partially deaf ears.
How I wish they would sit with me so I could relate to them the stories of my past! That’s all I have got with me-a hard disk of memories embedded in my brain that the virus of monotony and vagaries of life could not erase.
I was not hip and happening like they are now, but I had managed to create ripples in many tranquil surfaces. Suddenly the stories that I struggled to hide through my youth are now getting restless to see the daylight, hammering upon my insides ravenously, fearing that their lively exuberance would be embedded with an old body in its sepulchre.
If only someone could lend me their ears! Would they believe me or would they be aghast to hear that old granny could be anything other than a dignified and antiquated epitome? I ache now to strip off the garbs of pretence, to breathe free in the element that is me-no longer so and so’s wife or so and so’s mother but such and such person, as I have always wanted non-judgemental people to know, admire and reckon which many did, who dared to knock repeatedly at my closely guarded portals.
I sit here and concentrate on the merry din that falls upon my eager ears like soft but happy mumblings coming from behind the doors of the other rooms of my house. I sometimes watch the empty bed beside me, run my fingers on its surface and then sigh. The empty bed has been my closest companion since the time its incumbent decided to quit the show while it was at the height of its glory. The empty bed seems to cruelly reinforce to me every day that it would never leave my side. It has loyally taken up the shape of my contours or whatever is left of them.
My materialistic accomplishments lie mockingly tugged into drawers. I sometimes rummage through them and take them out to adorn myself and relive in some iota my past glories. But these that once looked heavenly, pronto throw ghastly shadows on the looking glass, almost beyond redemption. No amount of even the latest accruements can adorn an edifice in its fading glory. My so-loved little black dress looks more of a little black mess at this point.
I wonder should I write a book on myself now, after all, I no longer bother about scandals and appraisals, with one leg in the grave. You can yack how much shit about me in the aftermath, how would it bother me when I can’t care or do a shit about it? Maybe I could disclose the hidden murky side to my perfection, which is instilled in every human, though very rarely acknowledged, let alone flaunted. I can relate how and where these legs travelled before reaching this space. Perhaps my shaking fingers would allow me this last consolation or maybe it is too much to ask of these petite things that allowed me every discretion, when they could enable others to dance on them.
And I hear again, the laughter coming from the adjacent room. What could they be discussing? Why can’t they come in here and talk for if there is anyone who needs to laugh most now, it is me. It is almost like a dying wish now-give me a moment to laugh like no one’s watching, to laugh like I did earlier that set the hearts fluttering, to laugh like it’s the only natural thing meant for me to do in this world.
I hear, I watch, I wait!
Oh my mute lips have spoken too much today!
Perhaps now I should go off to sleep and not get up ever.
Let my youthful soul be free of the dilapidated body that I was once so proud of, to find a new home and begin new glories!