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Of Hearts and Bones


She serenely sat on the swing under the flowering mango tree, looking at all the faces surrounding her. Happy faces, tired faces, envious faces, glad faces. The aromas of early spring wafted up to her, the sun kissing her skin, not sharp enough yet to warrant the use of an umbrella. To a ninety-three year old woman a wedding celebration was nothing new, many such occasions had come and gone in her life, but this one was different. It was not because the bride was her forty-three year old grand-daughter or because it was happening after overcoming the great difficulties of unavailability of venues. This wedding was special because someone had an important goal to reach it. She had reached the wedding, a feat she hadn’t been sure she would ever accomplish; not because society thought that her erstwhile spinster grandchild would never get married, nor because she thought that she wouldn’t be around in the world in this day and age. No sir, she was sure she would be around for a long time to come; she was still in her dotage you see! The only reason that could have held her back would have been her knees. After a self-imposed imprisonment of nearly twenty-five years, where she left her prison, the confines of her home only for brief trips to her doctor. Her old creaking painful knees made her miss many a bright occasions in her life, a book release, a baby shower and even her teachers training school’s reunion. Her Doctor kept asking her to get her hurting knees operated upon, the knee cap had worn out you see. But who would help her rise above her fear of hospitals? After seeing a number of terrible deaths in her family occur in hospitals, did she have the strength to have herself at the mercy of a scalpel and its wielder? The deciding factor in her decision yet again, her grand-daughter; there was the matter that who would give away the girl? Do the “Kanya Daan”, the girl’s mother was no more, father estranged; all they had were each other. So she tried to rise above her fear of surgery, they had to sedate her much before the actual procedure because she almost had a panic attack, but she managed to persevere.

So finally with her brand new knee caps, she sat down in the “mandap” and watched the child of her child move towards happiness, with a companion who brought her joy, not replacing sorrow, but making it easier to deal with. As she sat and looked at the reception party, people were dancing and eating like it was their last meal because after all, free food was the best cuisine in the world wasn’t it! She touched the petal of a bright shimmering Dahlia, its deep maroon flecked with white, complementing the bride’s attire, and knelt to pluck a pansy from its carry, thinking that yes, panic attacks, anesthesia and all, she had done it, given herself the birthday gift that was long due, after all your nineties were not very different from your teens if you thought so…


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