How Neighbor Made Me Cringe

She was in a jolly mood and wanted to talk – a lot today. Normally, she won’t talk much, mostly yes, no and thank you. But something was special today.

Her sons and daughters were coming back home on her birthday. She was pretty excited about what she would and would not do when they come. She had been somewhat lonely I guess. She had made a whole bunch of to-do lists which she hoped to complete before they came. I felt happy for her. At the same time, there was some sadness in the whole conversation. I just hoped she would go with her son or daughter.

Anyways, the old lady, also my neighbor went a step ahead. She planned to involve me in in getting the whole to-do list done. Wait!! What? Why? Within a few minutes she handed me one of the lists and asked me, at least I believe this is what she intended to say – “Will you get this list done by Wednesday?”

Yes, that’s right. Before she could complete the sentence her dentures, I don’t know how, just bounced on my face and hit me on my nose. And I cringed with disgust.

grimace-cringe-upset-angry-man-teeth

This post was written in response to the daily prompt : Cringe.

Story of the Oldest Man Passing the Exam

Relieved he was…for he finally passed his matriculation. Its not a big exam, just a first step…the secondary school passing exam. Still, he was relieved. And why not, after all, it was the third time he had attempted it.

He made a bet to everyone his relief was more than anyone else’s who had passed the exam in one go. He even made a theory for it – The longer you take to pass an exam the more joyful the experience becomes once you pass it.

Suddenly, an idea struck him. Why not fail an exam long enough in order to magnify the joy and pride of passing it. And so, he started intentionally failing his higher secondary examination, again and again. Years went by. His batch mates who were already 3 years ahead of him started taking up job. He also was forced to take up some job finally. But he didn’t stop giving exam. After almost 13 years, he finally wanted to pass the exam.

But by this time, he had taken up a full time job and had a wife. Moreover, his mind was rusted to so much of an extent that his wanting didn’t have any effect on his performance in the exams.

Years went by, even more. He became a legend. At the age of 50, still determined, unshaken by the past failures. He gave an exam exam and failed again and his legendary continued.

After a couple of years, he finally passed. The oldest man to pass higher secondary. What a relief. Yes, relieved he was. And so were his relatives. Newspaper reporters came to his home to interview him. They asked – “Now that you have finally passed your exam, what do you plan to do in your spare time”?

“Graduation” -he replied. And everyone went into despair.

This was in response to the Daily Prompt: Relieved

The Unescapable Sin

CHARACTERS:

Shwetabari Devi – An old lady
Preeti – A woman
Shiva – Preeti’s husband

STORY(PROMPT):

Shwetabari Devi : I have always had a tendency to be busy. Though I am old now, sitting in a room the whole day like other ladies is not something I cherish. Yes, its hard for me to walk, but still, I managed today to walk to the park nearby and have some fresh air. It was a fine day and I carried with myself a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. I want to present my grandson a red sweater for his coming birthday.

So I was sitting on a bench in the park and there were children playing with some disc. There were some young couples walking together. They reminded me of my youth.

Just then, one of the couples as they walked towards me, the man stared at me, and kept staring. For a while, I tried to ignore him. But, as he kept staring, it started bothering me. Being a single lady, old enough for some mis-happenings, I felt intimidated and vulnerable.

Then, I gathered my conscience and reasoned that I was after all not that vulnerable as this was a public park with quite a lot of people around. May be, I reminded him of some old acquaintance. Or may be, I, myself, might have been some old acquaintance or even a relative.

In this old age, I could hardly be confident of my memory. As I brought my conscience back into reality, what I saw was so unexpected.

Preeti: Shiva had started crying. I didn’t know what to do. He started crying all of a sudden like a small child. Why? Did I bore him so much? Was this walk annoying him so much? Being a pregnant woman, didn’t I deserve a walk with my husband after so long?

I felt angry for a moment but as I saw him again in the same state of emotional breakdown I became worried. “Please don’t cry, please don’t. What’s wrong? Tell me.” He didn’t reply a word, instead he kept crying.

I felt bad for him. May be, I was unable to meet his expectations. But he should tell me at least. After all, I am his wife. I tried consoling him. Not that it would work, but I couldn’t do anything beyond that

After so many days, he was free to take me for a walk. We planned a baby and expect it 3-months from now. Life seemed so perfect, just a bit short of family time.

Was it the paucity of time that he realized he had lost so many precious moments he could have with me? How sweet! I was tempted to kiss him.

But then, my eyes went on to the lady sitting on the bench whom Shiva kept looking every now and then while he wept.

I understood the reason for his crying. I didn’t say a word to him after that. I just held him tight, my grip tightening with time.

Shiva: I felt the grip getting getting tighter. I knew why she was doing this. But, I was least bothered to respond to her.

I didn’t expect this would happen today. As I came to the park, I saw my mother. She was knitting a small sweater as she used to a couple of years ago. Back then, I was still a bachelor. When I asked her why she was knitting this small sweater she would say that these sweaters would be presents for her grand child. I used to mock at her on this and she would playfully get angry and hit me. I was never hurt.

A few months later, I married a girl and was very happy with my marriage. But just after a month, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Doctors advised me to leave her in the center for better care. But I didn’t want to. My wife insisted we should let her live in the center. We had a fight with words that night.

But I succumbed to her arguments as I was a busy man. I could not look after her all by myself. The decision was the most practical decision then. Even my father was not alive to look after her and my wife had just refused to.

The day I left her in the center, she cried and pleaded not to leave her. Even I could not keep myself from crying with her when Preeti held me, tight enough as now and I had to go back with her.

I have tried to avoid her since then. But, when she became pregnant I realized I had gained some responsibilities. So I went to the park with her. Today, when I saw my mom, I could see that she didn’t even recognize me when she saw me. I felt so guilty and helpless.

I tried to stop crying but in vain. After sometime, my mom came to me with her eyes wet and somewhat red, caressed my back and said-“Don’t cry son, don’t cry. It’s not your fault. Don’t cry.”