Her Palace of Memories
Lakshmi sat in her verandah, watching the children play cricket in the street. Her neighbor Meena came looking for her.
“Patti! I am going to town today. Is there anything you want from there?” she asked.
Lakshmi quickly scribbled a list of few items in a piece of paper and handed it to her.
“Don’t forget to check the prices in two or three different shops before buying. The shopkeepers in town are very money minded”, she remarked. Meena smiled at her and left hurriedly to catch the town bus.
Lakshmi was a lone widow. Her husband had passed away a few years back. She had a son and a daughter. Her son was in the US and daughter was settled in London. Both were married and had children of their own. They had insisted her to come and live with them but she had refused. She lived in a small village of Nerur in Tamilnadu.
The house in which she lived belonged to her husband’s ancestors. It looked old but yet it retained its pristine look. It had a huge backyard with a garden. She had in fact got married in the very same house. Her husband had been the village postmaster. He was a very well respected man in the village. He was very warm and had always entertained guests who visited the temples in the village. Their children had studied in the neighborhood government school and later went to the city for higher education. And then they chose to go abroad to pursue their career.
All her relatives advised her to live with her children since she was getting old. But how could she?
The house in which she lived was not just a house made of brick and mortar. To her, it was “Her Palace of Cherished Memories". It breathed with memories.
Every object in the house – be it the lantern, the grandfather clock or the teakwood swing, was lovingly bought by her husband. It had witnessed all the golden days of her children, family get together, the triumphs and the struggles she and her husband had faced during tough times. The house had been a safe haven to them, a source of warmth and comfort. She enjoyed the sights and sounds of the village atmosphere every morning and evening sitting in her verandah. She could never imagine parting from her house and living elsewhere though her health was deteriorating every day.
In case of any medical needs she always had the villagers. They were always ready to help her in case of emergency. She also had two rooms exclusively for guests who enjoyed an experience in her heritage house. She loved entertaining them and giving them a tour of the nearby temples. Her wants and needs were bare minimum yet she lead a contented life filled with gratitude.
“ Muniamma! Make sure the rooms are swept and mopped well. Also, don’t forget to clean the bathrooms well. My grandchildren don’t like wet and dirty bathrooms”, she told her maid for the tenth time that day.
It was the month of May. Lakshmi’s children were coming with their family to spend the vacation with her. She was very excited. She always looked forward to spend time with them. She stood in the kitchen instructing her cook. The smell of crispy murukkus and laddus wafted in the air.
The bell rang. Lakshmi ran hurriedly adjusting her sari. She was eager to welcome her children once again to “Her Palace”.