A granny's day of spring,
Ashalata was trying to do her thread work on a cotton cloth.
Nowadays, she couldn't even see well.
Age was slowly taking its toll upon her eyes. Her hands also shake a bit. Still, around this time, she would sit with her needle, colorful threads, and cotton cloths. For every year, all the way from the country of opulence her grandson from her son's side would come.
She had other grandsons and granddaughters from her daughters' side, but she had always kept a very secret adoration or love for the son of her only son.
He bore the title of the family, according to the custom and more importantly inspite of being very much habituated to western culture and ethos, he had still kept a very Bengali heart.
In fact, Ashalata noticed, that Snehangshu, her son Santosh's only son, was more interested in anything Bengali, be it food, songs, or literature.
So, she would make every year a special embroidery upon a simple piece of cotton cloth.
And Snehangshu would take it, and with it he would go away after his two or three day's stay.
Once Ashalata had asked Snehangshu what he actually did with all those cotton cloths.
He showed her a photo taken in his phone of a small wooden box where he had kept them, stored, like people store valuables.
That pleased Ashalata greatly.
She even became a bit emotional.
Her only son who had left her alone in the house built by her husband Indranath, soon after his marriage and settled at a faraway town, would come too, with his wife.
Her daughters would too arrive.
They being settled in faraway towns too.
But this year, before Holi or Doljatra as it is usually called here, the festival of colors, her daughters had called her and reported that they would be going together with their husbands and children for a tour.
Her only son, Santosh, upon hearing that his sisters and their husbands and children were not arriving, also thought that later they would gather at their ancestral house and have a fitting get together.
Ashalata became a bit morose, but soon she tried to console herself saying that after all she had grown old and had become overtly sensitive and perhaps sentimental.
She blamed her sadness to her senescence.
But, by God's grace, she was informed by
Santosh that though he and his wife would not be there, their son and her grandson Snehangshu would go and stay there at least for a day, if not two.
She became elated.
She had found an energy.
She asked her only companion and long time cook cum butler cum errand man, Naru to clean the room adjacent to her room in her small single storied house which her late husband used as study cum living. She had made Naru to bring vegetables and groceries and fish and meat from the market.
She herself supervised Naru when he broomed the bed, put bed cover and pillow covers.
From the morning she was humming a tune or so.
Happy as she was.
At around ten, a taxi stopped in front of her house.
She at once asked Naru to move to the gate to help Snehangshu to offload his bag or luggage.
She followed Naru too, but due to arthritis she couldn't move fast.
And just when she was about to be on the verandah, Snehangshu came and touched her feet.
She took his chin by her hand and embraced him.
'Kemon acho didi?'
Ashalata smiled almost like a child,
'Now that you have come I am so happy!'
The day went in cooking various Bengali cuisine and serving them to Snehangshu and in turn listening to stories from him about the country where he had been working for the last four years.
'Would you not come back soon?'
'Na didi, I have works...'
The day turned evening. Then night.
The granny and her grandson kept on talking, laughing, exchanging stories.
The grandson had given his granny a beautiful scarf and some tinned food items.
Granny had given the grandson another embroidered cotton cloth.
After dinner, when he was about to go to his room, Snehangshu said,
'Didi, this time I would go back to our house soon...by tomorrow afternoon...will that be okay?'
Ashalata turned her head to one side.
She had a deep sense of hurt when she heard that but she couldn't plead her grandson to stay for at least a day more.
He might have works, she thought.
She couldn't be selfish.
Next morning when the granny and the grandson were having tea, the granny finally gathered some confidence and asked:
'Dadu bhai, how wonderful it would have been if you would have stayed for at least one day more...'
'But didi , you know, I got works. The company where I work at that foreign country is actually thinking of opening a subsidiary here ... And I would have to be very much busy in doing liaison...you see...'
Snehangshu informed Ashalata.
Ashalata again bent her head sideways.
Of course she could understand her grandson's works and their importance.
The hour of departure came.
'Uff! Tumi ja khawaley na thamma...akhono hojom hoi ni...'
(The amount of food you had served to me are yet to be digested...)
Snehangshu tried to ease off the grimness that loomed over his granny's face.
Ashalata tried to smile.
Naru had managed to arrange for a taxi.
It would take Snehangshu to the train station.
The taxi was waiting at the gate.
Snehangshu touched Ashalata's feet.
Ashalata tried to keep her composure.
Just then, Snehangshu's cell started ringing.
He took out the cellphone and went a few paces away .
'Oh! Really! That's fabulous! '
That was the last bit of conversation which Ashalata could hear as her grandson came near her.
'Granny, know what?'
The grandson was visibly elated.
'Just a few months, say eight or nine, after that, I would be in this country!'
'What do you mean?'
'I asked my boss to keep me posted if there would be any chance of fitting me into the subsidiary that would be opened here, and he just informed me that if I wish, I could join the subsidiary unit once it would start operating...and that is only a few months away!'
The grandson gushed.
'But your parents? Santosh? Mugdha? Will they be happy?'
'Why not? They would get their son at home...
Like an afterthought,
'If they would get worried about my career options, my future, I would convince them...
Ashalata felt that she had given away those embroidered cotton cloths to the fittest person in the world.
The sky of spring had wondrous Hues spread like a canvas dipped in a riot of colors.
Ashalata thought Doljatra or Holi had arrived early at her home.
A bit early.