Yesterday M, our domestic help came a little late to work. Her eyes were puffy and her expressions were sombre. When I asked her what happened, she said that her neighbour had just passed away in the morning, leaving his three little children orphaned. She remained preoccupied the whole day and from time to time, talked about how much she cried. She also spoke over the phone to her other neighbours with an urgency to get back, and she left early. Usually, when I observe people like M and others, I see that there is a great sense of community that prevails among people like her, especially when they are in grief, etc. Everyone comes together, be with the bereaved person, helpful or otherwise; a bit different from the affluent middle class where once your apartment door is shut, you live in your isolated world without any touch with your neighbours. Yesterday, as I watched M being absorbed in the
There was a little boy – the youngest in the family – growing up in a huge house, with a busy doctor father, and a proud and somewhat indifferent mother. His mother had kind of handed him over to her widowed sister, who had taken shelter in her house after her rich and debauch husband passed away, leaving her in the lurch, childless and desolate. The widow embraced this little boy as a gift against all her lost children. Her husband’s waywardness and debauchery had ensured that she carried full term and gave birth to stillborn children. The little boy lapped up the attention and affection that his aunt showered on him. His mother had scant time for him or any other children; she was busy managing a large household, and playing nurse and companion to her much respected doctor husband.