Subbalakshmi stared at the old family portrait that hung on a rusted nail on the shabby wall. Memories weaved through that phase of her life she had spent with her sons Ramu and Anandu. Though there were pains and sorrows in the house after all it was a family.
Subbalakshmi’s wrinkled face looked over aged in the reflection on the portrait frame glass. Fifteen years in KarunaHridya seemed like decades and centuries to her. She had moved in when Ramu and his family had relocated to US.
“Granny did you have your breakfast?” Aarathi flashed a smile at her through the portrait frame glass.
“No.” Subbalaskhmi replied to Aarathi who had brought in her breakfast plate.
“Granny you must never skip food. Your sugar level is really low” Aarathi’s presence always made Subbalakshmi happy.
Aarathi was the junior medical practitioner who visited the old age home for the past six months whenever Dr. Kamath could not make it. Her face was radiant and the inmates loved her like a daughter.
Subbalakshmi spent the rest of the day doing what she was best at. Writing was one hobby which helped forget her pains.
It rained for the next few days. The rains inspired a new story in her which she scribbled on an old notepad.
“Granny I have brought some homemade Halwa. You will love them.” Aarathi pulled out a small packet from her handbag. True to Aarathi’s words they were the most delicious ones Subbalakshmi had had for a long time.
“Granny what’s your new story about?” and even before Subbalakshmi could reply Aarathi had picked the notepad and walked away.
The next two weeks Aarathi didn’t turn up.
“A parcel for you Subbalakshmi Amma.” The maid in the old age home handed over a brown cover to her. It was addressed from Jai Hind Publications.
She opened the parcel and found a small book. It contained all the stories she had penned in her notepad.
“Aarathi should have told me she would publish my stories” Subbalakshmi noticed a birthday greeting pinned along with the book.
“Happy Birthday to our dear Amma… with love Anandu, Renu and Aarathi”
Tears of grief and guilt rolled down her cheeks as she realized the truth that Aarathi was her granddaughter. Everything looked like it happened yesterday. How stubborn she used to be. She had to turn against Anandu and Renu for their decision not to abort their girl child.
Subbalakshmi looked at her reflection in the frame glass of the family portrait and smiled. She had made up her mind not to miss the second chance life had given her.