As the sun was setting in the west and the birds were flying back to their nests, the old lady rose from her bed since it was considered inauspicious to be sleeping at dusk. The old lady was in her mid 80’s. Her vision failed her now and she could barely walk a few steps. Her once straight back now looked C-shaped. With her one hand supporting her leg and the other supporting the wall, she made her way to the living room where the rest of the family were hooked to the evening TV serial.
The living room buzzed with activity. The ladies of the house that is the daughter in law and the grand-daughter-in-law were chopping vegetables for the night’s meal during the TV commercials. The old lady slowly walked to the sit out. Nobody paid attention to the old lady since they were glued to the TV set.
The old lady sat on the lone uncomfortable chair in the sit out. Her gaze was fixed at the iron gate as if expecting someone. Those who observed the old lady closely could say that it had become her routine now for a few days now. The old lady knew she had only few days left. She could feel her body wearing out. All she wanted before she left this world was to see her sons to reconcile.
It all started a decade ago soon after her husband’s death. The old man had enough property to last for two generations. But he wasn’t farsighted or perhaps didn’t expect his sons to fight over his hard-earned property. Whatever the reason, the old man did not make a will. Disputes rose over who inherits what. The relationships went sour so much so that the two brothers could not see each other in the eye. An agreement was reached after the younger brother threatened to go to court. The younger brother along with his wife and two kids walked out of the family home with a piece of land. This was the most painful day of the old lady’s life. It was decided the mother would stay with the older brother. Nobody asked what the old lady wanted neither did she have any authority. She was after all a woman who was a mere shadow of the old man and now an obligation.
The younger son settled down in a place not far from the older one. But no words were spoken between the now divided families. The old lady sometimes caught glimpse of her younger son and his family in the initial years of the younger son’s departure. But they never met her gaze. They would walk past as if they were strangers. Now the old lady was confined to just four walls of her home. The only time she went out was to visit the doctor for her monthly check up. But she kept tab on the younger son’s life. The maids visiting the house brought with them the news of her younger son.
The old lady longed for the day when her younger son would walk in the threshold of the home. She longed for the day when her family would again be a happy unit. She prayed to almighty to grant this wish of hers. She had even secretly consulted an astrologer. One of her maids had played the mediator and the messenger. The astrologer had sworn that the brothers would soon reconcile. Now after the astrologer’s prediction, the old lady was confident that she would live to see her sons live together harmoniously.
The family found the old lady sleeping on the chair never to wake up again.