NOT ANYMORE – by Itee Sharma
She sat a few feet away from him and looked at him with a typical smirk on her face. Though he was her grandfather of the blood relation, she never felt that bond with him. She would be suffocated by his presence but would not express it to him or to anyone else. How could she? She had to treat him well around her parents and show regard even though she never wanted to.
He lived at her house because in India it is customary to live with your parents and serve them well during their old age. That was what her father did too.
“Itee ! Make some tea for your grandfather. Its five o’clock.”, ordered her father.
Although she herself knew what the time was and also knew what had to be done at that time, which was to give the old man his timely cup of tea, she did not do it on her own. She waited for her father to giver her instructions; half expecting that there would be none that day.
This wasn’t a new episode in her life. She had been showing the same cold heartedness towards her grandfather for nineteen years that she had lived in total. She knew the problem was not only the ‘generation gap’ that everybody said it was, but it was something more, something deeper.
Yet she could never find out. She never got the chance to. That evening, after having his tea, the old man lied down on his bed and never woke up. His time was up. He had departed with the angles to live his next life. Everyone was full of remorse. But she was not. She was busy with her own work. Not because she was a stone heart but because she had not been told about it. No body cared to tell her about his death because everyone knew it would not matter to her. When she came back from her math class that evening, it was almost as if she had been struck by lightening when she saw her grandfather in ashes (the Hindus burn the dead and throw their ashes in Ganges river) waiting to be taken to Haridwar. She could not speak nor move, her body felt as heavy as lead. She could not for her life understand what had gone wrong with her that very moment. Yes she had always hated him but never wished to see him dead. She did not talk to anyone and went straight into the old gone man’s room. She opened the cupboard and took out an old diary of his. She quickly took out his doctorate degree from it and kept the diary back.
She did not show any special grief on her face as we normally would if a loved one passed away. She looked at that piece of paper on which was written “Mr. B.D. Sharma” and on the bottom of it was written “PhD Anatomy”.
She flipped over the paper and saw something that she had always known but never bothered to care about.
On the back was written ‘Itee, I want you to get one too. You are a great child and I love you.’
She burst out crying that very moment. She did not know why she went on to take out that piece of paper. She did not know why she felt such a strong grief over someone she had hated all her life. All she knew was that she was going to study as hard as she could and get the same degree that she held in her hand at that moment.
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