Short Story: A Trip Down the Memory Lane By: Devi Nangrani

Standing alone on the top of a rock, Shaily could see only the vast nothingness. This is the place where she entered wedlock with her husband Rahul. A family with three members, her husband and her mother in law, Rochana Devi and herself. Two years later, she was filled with happiness after the birth of their son Rohit. It was a delight watching him play on the laps of his mom and granny.
She was totally involved in raising her son. Her seeds for the future were sown in the very place she was standing in. She could hear the voices from the shadows of her past.
It was the Dussehra function and there was heavy crowding at the Pandal. Rochana Devi had reserved a place for her daughter in law and called out to her, saying “Oh! Shaili dear! Come with my grandson and sit beside me and make my grandson sit on my lap.”
Shaili responded, “Mom! I am standing behind you and Rohit is with your son Rahul”. After saying so, she went ahead. Mom –in-law watched her daughter in law walking fast. Whenever Rochana Devi tries to become closer to her, Shaili moves away. Rochana felt sad thinking about the delicate relationships issues. She cries alone sometimes, to get over the sadness.
Rochana Devi went back to her past memories when she married Rajiv Mathur. History always repeats itself. Three members were there in her family, Rajiv Mathur, His mother Gyaneshwari and herself. The very first night Rajiv Mathur gave her information about his family details and expressed his feelings to his beloved wife with full confidence that she should take care of his mother as her own mother and that this is her full responsibility, because his mother Gyaneshwari Devi is only the source to him who raised him up after his father. She took lots of care and pain to bring him to the present status today. My wish, please give her place in your heart which is lacking in present generations. He said that “her respect is my respect”. Rochana took this word to heart and took all responsibilities and behaved very well to her mother in law. Now she is looking at her past olden days through the present nothingness.
This pain is different, it is finding something through her feelings, otherwise her loneliness will make it difficult to face the present situations.
Her daughter in law hurt Rochana Devi’s feelings. “Mom! We are going to the mall, please come along with us”. Rochana Devi felt very happy. She nodded her head gladly, and started going with them. But after reaching there Shaily with her son Rohit went with a trolley to get something in a different direction. Rochana Devi was sitting alone on the bench. Once again she was feeling bored. This happened several times. After returning home she felt very sick too.
Human mind would never be quiet, it has lots of thoughts. Rochana Devi was now very tired, upset and disturbed . When she got up, the same thoughts continued. Now she decided not to go out with them and rather stay alone at home. Whenever her son Rahul calls her, she politely denies saying some reason and stays at home. This would at least save herself from unnecessary hurt.
Rahul once again called her. “Mom! Please do come mom with us for some time. You are always sitting alone at home now a days”. Rochana Devi always makes the same excuses. Now Shaili felt that earlier her mom in law always obliged, now she was unable to understand the reason behind her mom-in-laws refusal to accompany her.
One day Shaily went to Rochana Devi and asked her out. But Rochana Devi’s mind adjusted with loneliness. Rochana is avoiding everything due to her own lack of mental peace. She politely refused and asked Shaily to go out with Rahul and come back saying, “I feel very tired”. Her son Rahul at that moment standing behind Shaily and Rochana felt that she was talking and listening to herself. “Mom! Come on”, Rahul followed Shaily’s voice.
Rochana was telling her son that she feels good at home within the four walls. And she is busy with her thoughts. Perhaps she found that it is better to be alone at home rather than being alone outside.
Shaily understood the sounds of unspoken words. Now, Shaily wondered if Rochana Devi would heed to her words anymore. Nowadays, whenever she visits the mall with her husband and child, her mind lingers around the home and her mother in law. Rochana Devi does not even like to listen to her voice. She was stuck up with her own feelings and felt perplexed.
One day, Rochana Devi was packing her bag and told Shaily that she is visiting her friend’s house Kanta for a bhajan session, and would be back after two days. Shaily just watched her with empty eyes without expressing her feelings.
Rochana Devi started going with her bag with tired footsteps. Shaily felt that her future was walking away from her home.
“Mom! Please wait, I will drop you there by my car”, said Shaily, unable to express her feelings. Her feeble voice did not reach Rochana Devi. This single thought made Shaily sad and her heart felt suffocated. This suffocation surrounded her phusically and mentally but she could not come out of this misery.
Now Rochana Devi adapted herself to be quiet and calm in spite of all the hustle bustle around her in the house.
This atmosphere continued for many months. Rochana went for Keerthans alone or sat in the garden for hours together and enjoyed natural beauty keeping herself occupied in her new thoughts. Shaily felt her mom-in laws absence even though she was physically present. These only made her distant though Rochana Devi helped Shaily with kitchen work, household work etc. as before. Rochana Devi used to cook also in the absence of Shaily. She still did the same work but after finishing her work, she goes to her room and stays alone. Shaily felt very bad about her ignorant behavior and sorry for the wrong attitude of the past. .
One day, Shaily went to Rochana Devi’s Room where Rochana was getting ready for Keerthan Bhajan.
Shaily told humbly, “O Mom! I would like to come with you today”. Rochana Devi was astonished by listening to the emotional voice of Shaily. Shaily was in tears and awaited her mother-in-law‘s reply. By thinking something Rochana Devi said, “OK, bring the dress of Rohit and I will make him ready and you get ready immediately, because it is already getting late”.
After reaching the location of the bhajan, Rochana was seated in a proper place and Shaily was sitting nearer to Rochana Devi. Shaily tried to make her son Rohit sit near her Mom-in-law, immediately Rochana Devi took Rohit in her lap.
An unsolved problem came to an end with happy feelings in silence.
Everyone was content in her family once again.
Translated into English from Hindi by Dr.Sundari Sankar

Worked for s.rlys central govt. as senior hindi translator.
Attended as chief guest in school Hindi functions.
Deliver lecture on O.L. policy. Paper presentation in many seminars and attended as guest lecture in several offices and college.
Language known Tamil, Hindi, English, Telugu, Bengali and Gujarati

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