The story so far:
One ill-ominous day Manju’s both the parents bade adieu to their lives on earth. A tipper recklessly approached them in the form of Yama .The poor grandmother was left with the babyhood of her grandchild..
Now pl. read……
Karthyayani amma, the woman in her young-old age had been bound to do the child-rearing, since she had no other way. She stretched her limbs and body to collect more vigour and vibrancy. She was endowed with a high sense of hygiene. She considered cleanliness to be next toGodliness, which facilitated her to find means to meet both the ends. Carrying the tot(Manju)on her sobbing chest, she tiptoed to the neighbours’ houses as a house- help. She could manage to accomplish the needs at that instant by stepping into three or four dwellings.
Years, months, days and hours passed within a wink, they experienced so. The grandmother’s passion, ambition, dream, desire and everything rotated around her granddaughter. Her world full was filled with Manju and her welfare. She breathed Manju, she felt Manju and she sensed Manju. Without thinking about her, not even a single minute passed. She kept, whatever things of quality high she came across, exclusively for Manju and Manju alone. Manju too failed never to return the concern in deserving quantity to her Granny. Though at times the recollections about the departed ones exhibited a flash-back in their psyche, they wasted no time in haste. While the oldster was busy with her engagements,the youngster found herself immersed in academics. And furthermore the latter could excel too in her field.
Now Manju has crossed her mid-teen and reached class-xll. Manju keeps nothing hidden from her grandma in her mind. They converse with each other like friends. One day Karthyayani amma was cooking porridge for both of them. The grand darling went near her granny and started doing her hair that lay untied. Granny looked at the granddaughter with an interrogatory sign on the face. The latter unlocked her mind fumblingly,“ ere….. and .. Ramesh Bhaiyya(addressing an elderly person) waits for me under the wild-jack tree every day. He enquires about our welfare and my studies.” Ammoomma(granny) opened her third eye in fury and raised her voice at Manju for the first time. Manju’s hands automatically got detached from granny’s hair. Suddenly ammoomma’s affection towards the granddaughter made her cool. The former eased her voice and caressed her dear one. Manju was clever enough to opt for another route to school.
Karthyayani amma’s mind is packed with fear and worry for her earnings are too meagre for her dear one’s expanding expenditure, even when the latter tags on an austere way of living. And also Manju though is not extra-beautiful, her charm strikes the eyes and character wins the soul. Manju’s age and looks disturbed her ammoomma’s sleep.
More over the avenue to find revenue to continue her dear one’s education has befallen dearer and dearer causing anguish in her. And more to say her colourful academic record doesn’t allow her to favour the thought of discontinuing her studies. All these together with her aging physique deteriorate her health. The grandmother is gradually falling victim into the grip of her bed.
Manju though with much hesitation, crafts her mind to be a substitute for ammoomma., since there is no other go and she doesn’t want to see her dear Ammoomma in hard labour at this age. The latter’s old eyes get ready to shed tears of disappointment and distress. Her supreme aspiration is to see Manju at a high peak of education and thereby in a decent profession. So she can’t even think of Manju without the tail of a superior qualification. She feels, “ Manju’s arduous labour in the neighbourhood may or will set villainy in Manju’s studies.” Manju in a house-help’s attire never resides in grandmother’s distant dream even. In addition to that Manju’s lone existence, if something untoward goes off, remains as a terrifying scene in her mind. Agony and anxiety co-dwells with both, the granny and granddaughter.
The next day Manju’s legs automatically carry her to the cuisine to cook something for her dear ammoomma who lit the stove only for Manju. Ammoomma’s weak eyeballs follow Manju’s direction. She heaves a deep sigh of gloom. Manju also is in utter darkness where through even a magnifying glass, she is not able to find anything bright in her tomorrows.
Somehow she dresses up as a house-maid and sets out for one of ammoomma’s mistresses. She thought, “I’ll complete the work before the school hours.” The young hand doubles the delight of the mistress. Manju is now riding on the wings of the time, not on the wheels. As a few days get ahead, granny’s state worsens and Manju’s presence with her becomes inevitable. Her hands heed to grandma’s needs and then her legs lead her to the small courtyard.
She, when granny is in a nap, whispers to the rose and jasmine, converses with the butterflies, speaks to the fish in the pond, “Are you the same as I will be, an orphan, an unfortunate person, a destitute; if some mishaps occur in our house?” Literally she finds no means to survive, but she is the last person to transfer her life to the other world. Now she reaches back ammoomma’s bed. Both the inhabitants got dipped into an unfathomable sense of helplessness.
A few minutes go by, then she feels the softness of a smooth hand on her shoulder. She tilts her head. To the surprise of both the inmates of the house, they read the fondness for them in Ramesh’s mother’s eyes. Her calm voice expressed Ramesh’s desire, “Yes, he has recognized a gem from the ashes of hardships here. Both of us, his parents value the principle ‘character wins the soul.”
Manju’s and grandma’s countenances illustrate an expression that is full of gratitude and gratefulness. A cool wind blows in and ammoomma is calm and comfortable now.
Ho! Ammoomma now catches the trip to the world devoid of demise. Though Manju bursts out into tears, her mind accepts the everlasting fact.