We missed one of our dearest neighbour come aunts last week. Though being a neighbour our relationships with her has been kith and kin from a very long time or to say last from our grandmother’s time period. We moved out of our native area (Adyar) about 10 years back and being here, now, our relationships haven’t been any different but were a kind of reconnection (with old neighbours) and looking back into memories. Though our families know each other well, this particular aunt (whom we called from childhood as aththai – a Tamil word which refers to sister of father) has been so affectionate and holds great concern towards our family. Almost our close relatives know her well and she never failed to enquire me the times I come across her, and I always see happiness in her face every time she faces me (since we moved out of the area) but later become very unhappy and she couldn’t hide her dismay as she was seeing me from the birth – who has been very active quite, my inability to move around bothered her much.
Their house was in the backstreet of ours and during the childhood days it was our playground and most of the evening we are seen roaming around with couple of our best friends, whose house was also on the same street. Moreover, most of them on the street know us and our family being a long time resident along with many others, our parent allow us to play there in belief that we stay safe because of the affinity we got with coupe of families and the family of this aunt was more attachable. My mom and great grandmother used to exchange words frequently with her, either she visiting their or they. She’s a hard working woman and had done milk business and reared cows. Her husband is a car mechanic and owned a garage, but being addict to alcohol it was she who take care of everything, along bringing up her 4 children. There was a great similarity between us (maternal side) who was also involved in milk business and reared cows, apart running a Tea Shop, my maternal uncle is also a car mechanic and had a garage adjacent to our home.
Until about 15 years back or her children settled she continued to be a hard working woman and used to drive cows for grazing from vegetable shops to open grounds or wherever there is pasture. Most of their life was spent in thatched roof and her husband and my father were all grown together in their past and only in latter half (or after 2000) they transferred to concrete house. It was happy for us to see them coming up in life and to a stable place and looking forward to the comfort, but the sad part was they couldn’t lead forward happily. The rapidly increasing cause among the Indian – Diabetic – struck both their lives and her husband due to increase consumption of alcohol exposed to kidney failure and has been living still through dialysis and this too because of her care taken and restrictions. This hasn’t end there, but herself experience problem with her body with diabetics being the main culprit and she also lost her toe in an advanced stage of sugar. And going through number of treatments and surgery brings drawback in their lives. Even though money becomes a matter not, she couldn’t live happily. Like they say health is wealth, and however they become weather with a bad health nothing seems to be cheerful.
The day wake up for us in the sound of drums and I was sure it was the sound of death but wasn’t anticipated to be her. Though she was not well enough and was admitted in the ICU at the same time and hospital where my grandpa was admitted for chest pain and whiz and she was going through the same problem and was discharged a day ahead to my grandpa. And she was breathing through the oxygen mask at the home as well and was suffering so much that she couldn’t explain what. Though she was admitted to hospital once again for a week before her demise, as her condition becomes unstable, the doctors couldn’t indentify exactly from what she suffers from and the diagnosis also fails to understand what make her feel agony. At the mid-night of Friday she breathed last in the hospital. But the breakaway news – drum beat – reached us only in the morning and silence is what remains inside.