“This is going to be my last game”, declared Granny, as Grandpa was shuffling the deck. Sunaina was busy jotting down the points from the previous game. For Sunaina, summer vacation at grandparents was incomplete without few things… mangoes, ice-cream, and the game of cards post lunch, every day.
It was just another lazy afternoon when three of them were playing cards. Sunaina grew ecstatic as the game of the cards progressed, for she was winning the tally! It was decided that whoever stands first from last (that’s how Grandpa would always call a looser of the game), after the completion of the seven rounds of the game, would treat the rest with ice cream. Granny was on the losing trail this time.
“Granny, dont lose hope. We have two more games to go. Last ones may turn the table”, persuaded Sunaina.
“Someone is eager to give ice-cream treat”, said Grandpa in low tone making sure that it was audible enough for both the ladies and winking at Sunaina. Sunaina gestured back by moving her palm over her neck as if slitting the throat and with expression that spelt, “You are doomed Grandpa. Brace for storm”
Granny sat in silence but her eyes spoke volumes as her left eyebrow curved up. Moue and a huff were enough to notch mercury up. “Gennie is not going to make grocery list for me”, she said scornfully.
“Aha…grocery list! Granny, I am joining you”, said Sunaina. “It’s such a different world here. You make a list…”
“On back side of advertisement flyers”, added Grandpa with a chuckle, cutting Sunaina short.
“You are my ‘Green Hero’ Granny!”
“Enough of flattering. I’m not going to continue after this game. This generous dose of buttering wont help”, announced Granny, picking up her cards.
“But I am joining you to Vani (Marathi for grocer)”, insisted Sunaina.
“Only on one condition”, replied Granny pulling a card and placing it in the sequence on the floor.
“From when did you start having terms and conditions, Granny”
“Just now”, came a reply from Granny without wasting a moment. That made all laugh.
“Okay. Agree your condition, whatever it is”, replied Sunaina. “Tell me”
“Please visit Saroj and get her list of grocery. In case it is not ready, help her make one”, informed Granny.
Saroj lived all by herself in a dilapidated house, few doors from Granny’s. Affected by polio, early in life, her movements were redistricted so was her education. As a side effect, she became recluse and detested everything in the world. It was difficult to discern as to whether it was polio or it was her behaviour that led to seclusion. She was lost in oblivion for most, not however, for Sunaina’s grandparents.
“Oh no! Not her”
“Why?”, checked Grandpa.
“She is so annoying”, grumbled Sunaina
“She is old, crippled and destitute”, said Granny correcting Sunaina. “She has no one to speak with. No one visits her. Not even her kin. That’s why when someone lands at her doorstep, she can’t stop talking and inquiring”, she added.
“She is grumpy. She won’t speak a single sentence without negativity”, complained Sunaina.
“Agree. Remember, when the bridge is gone, the narrowest plank becomes precious”, supplied Grandpa
“Why do we have to be her last, narrowest plank?”, asked Sunaina, little irritated.
“For she has none other than us. Agreed that her polio has not only affected her legs but over the years, her behaviour as well. That’s what she has to offer to the world. What matters is what you have to offer, Sunaina? Love and care or repugnant behaviour? Before going to bed, ask yourself this question… What did you do today to make tomorrow better? If you sow the seeds of compassion today, you sure are to harvest the bloom of warmth and love tomorrow”, said Grandpa, placing his arm around Sunaina’s shoulder.
“Not easy to escape this evangelist, Sunaina”, said Granny who had by then returned with three bowls of ice cream.
The sight of mango ice cream with a wafer stuck on the side was a welcome one, especially after a hot debate. Grabbing a bowl, Sunaina stated, “Will visit her once I finish this”. Soon she was busy licking ice cream.
Grandma and Grandpa were happy to witness green shoots of the seeds of better tomorrow, sprouting well in fertile soil.
This is one more story from the pages of Sunaina’s Diary. Other stories from Sunaina’s Diary are…
Linking this post to #FridayReflections by Shalini R of KohleyedMe and Corinne Rodrigues of Everydaygyaan