Monday, September 3, 2012

Here's the Wrinkle. Where's the Smile?

As one of them opens the door to let the others, who form another generation of a family, walk inside the house, there’s no more a welcoming smile on that aged face. The steps silently trod back into a room where a little mandir is the most beloved adornment. The smiles that used to open the door till a decade ago were of their children, who would wait for the bread earners to get back home from a hard day’s work and relax between four distemper coated walls. The walls now boast of expensive wallpapers and imported art work, but the warmth remains missing. Roles have been swapped. The children seem to have grown into responsible adults, who wear ties and drive sedans to work; while the experienced try hard to camouflage themselves in the discomfort of Persian rugs over Italian marble.

What is looked forward to through the years of toil is a smile that depicts fulfillment of all responsibilities. Monthly savings went into school fees; annual savings went into an engineering admission; savings through five years went into buying the first scooter; and savings through all those years since a daughter was born into the house till she completed her post graduation went into making her future-in-laws smile through a lavish wedding. The saviors of the household are still saviors. They sit through the day, inspecting the maid wiping the floor through an open door from their bedroom. And when the others leave for work, they sit silently, counting beads through a prayer of keeping the family members safe and sound. It is a relaxed life. They get food at fixed times, and there are no lessons that they have to sit through to make their children learn for a class test. The children know beyond what they believe they have gathered in their years of experience. It’s a thought to celebrate, isn’t it? It’s a joy of relief to see their children fare better than themselves. But, they wonder what keeps them waiting for a smile to come and spread elegance over their wrinkles.

The shoulders that once seated a son through a pilgrimage uphill now droop under the spell of a heavy age. The skin that once cooled itself down during a weekly television program with the family now resembles the layer of wrinkle skimmed off the surface of hot tea prepared in an Indian kitchen, which gently rests over the brim of a china cup. It rests there in peace, wondering if it belongs inside the cup or its use to the world is as much as its weight on the cusp. The eyes have seen a near one passing away into the land of another birth, and another coming into a fresh life in tender arms. The sorrows, the joys: the eyes have seen all that defines the need for a bifocal lens. The hair has thinned over the years, reminding them that everything that once formed a part of their body, including their children, will one day move away.

The children touch their feet before they leave for work every morning; they bring a watch and a warm drape on their parents’ 50th marriage anniversary. The even littler ones, the grandchildren, eat a handful of food offered to the almighty from their grandparents’ hands. These are kids that their parents are proud of; they bring laurels to the family. But, the gifted watch still reminds the wise of the seconds, minutes and hours they will have to spend on another day, waiting for their children to come home in time for dinner.

As work colleagues fade into a cloud of blur in five years, the group at the local garden shares a few laughs. In another half a decade, the laughs are replaced by smiles at a religious meet at the local temple, giving hints of the literal shortening of the social circle radius. Slowly, siblings either pass into another world or eagerly wait for another life to breathe life into them.

Experience comes with age. It comes as fast as the vigor of youth, through youth and through life’s second stage. And as the third stage approaches, it drags slowly with each tick of a clock’s cogs. It’s funny how life changes its pace. It rushes through work, through health, through family ties in the ripeness of its age. And when it’s time to taste the pulp that one has borne under one’s ever-changing skin, the weight is too much for the stem to bear.

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  1. This is so different from your other posts! I was surprised when I read the first sentence and had to give a cursory glance to the rest to see if it was really a 'serious' post. A good first attempt! @@@@
    PS- could you please remove that atrocious aforementioned name and comment? :D

    1. Thanks JwalaMukhi :D
      P.S. Comment removed. Atrocious name here to stay :D

    2. the whole thing brought tears in my eyes. thought provoking one.good one.

  2. I so agree with word by word! Honestly! I didn't expect the post to be really this serious! It's really very nice! I know that's probably not your style of writing..but it still somehow manages to express you you feel! Love u for this different one! Keep writing... :) :) :)
    P.S. The serious tone of yours can't take away your hotchness!~~ XD

    1. Thanks, Neepday!
      Btw, this post hasn't been as popular as a few others. Not that the intention was to get a lot of hits, but it shows that a blog has an audience that probably follows a particular niche.

  3. Different, yet amazing. Loved it, especially the ending note.
    5 jalebis is too less to rate this.
    Hugs le lo. :)

  4. Well, aren't you the marvel!?
    Liked the read. You were able to capture so much in so less. A wake up call to the men of our times really!

    1. Thank you, thank you :)

      *tears out of an issue of Marvel Comics, wearing red underpants*

  5. Wonderfully expressed. :)
    Coincidentally, I was talking to one of my friends about old age only a few days back.. n we were discussing how piteous this phase of life is.. when you see your loved ones going one by one and when your own kids think of you as a burden.. I liked the way you covered all the aspects.. particularly the content in the last two paras.

    1. Thanks, Joshi!
      And, don't you know, I was spying on you. Isn't it funny how a lot of times I write about things that you happen to have spoken about in the recent past. Not a coincidence. Muhuhahaha.

    2. :)
      Hats off to your memory dude!
      And Joshi? Not acceptable!


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D