The daughter sat in an autorickshaw and feebly told the driver where she wanted to go. Twenty years back around the same time, 12 noon, same day, Friday, her mother too sat in an autorickshaw but not alone. Her youngest brother was with her, she couldn’t even speak feebly.. She just closed her eyes and died.
The brother was taking his sister to the hospital as a neighbour had called him when he found the mother sitting outside the daughter’s house unable to move. He had overheard the daughter yelling at her mother that she cannot take her to the doctor that day, there was an important class to attend and then she had to go to her daughter’s school. She told her mother to just eat the medicines that the doctor had prescribed during the previous visit. The daughter slammed the door, locked up and left after leaving a couple of medicine strips next to her mother. When the neighbour saw the daughter turn the corner in her newly bought scooter, he went across and asked the mother if she is ok.
With tears in her eyes, the mother said feebly, “am paying for my sins, it’s not her fault. Can you just give me some water ?”. The neighbour returned with a jug of water and the mother washed down a couple of tablets and looked up, embarrassed. She hesitatingly asked, “Can you call my brother ? He will come and take me to the doctor. My daughter is busy.” She gave her brother’s number and that’s how the neighbour called him and he came rushing to take the mother to the hospital.
The mother died on the way to the hospital and the daughter heard it as she sat down for her lunch with her friends. Oh, she had forgotten to mention to her mother that she will be eating out, and hadn’t cooked any lunch at home as well, since her husband anyway ate at the factory and her daughter at school. Her first reaction on hearing that her mother was no more was a flash of irritation – her lunch with her friends would now have to be hurried. How insensitive her mom was, even in her death, choosing to go just this day when she was having lunch with friends. Well, she ate her lunch hurriedly and told her friends that she had to rush since her mother is very unwell. She later told them that by the time she rushed to the hospital her mother had died …
Her first question to her uncle was “did you call my high flying brother ? He needs to take care of the last rites as he is the son. Anyway he never took care of mom, so this is the least he can do. I also don’t have any money for doing the last rites.” Her uncle was shocked by her outburst but he just told her quietly, “don’t worry about my sister’s last rites, I will take care of them. Your brother cannot come as he is on a business trip as is his wife. He asked me to do the last rites or keep her body in the morgue for ten days if he has to return from his trip and perform the last rites.” The uncle’s tears dried up in the heat of the funeral pyre…. He called his other sister and older brother and they all came down for the last rites. The husband was informed but he couldn’t care less and anyway he didn’t even know his own mother. He had memory issues and was confined to a room in his brother’s house.
The neighbour came for the last rites and pulled the younger brother aside and told him “her daughter killed her !! She has been without food for a few days as her daughter has been busy going out. Even today, she was left out on the porch without water and I gave her water so she could eat her medicines.” The brother was shocked ..how can a daughter not give food and water to her mother ? That daughter had been brought up in their house, how did she not imbibe any good quality from them ? Both her uncles went out of their way to help others, both her mother and her aunt always had extra food for the beggar or even the hungry passerby. His sister had died not because of illness but just sheer hunger and neglect.
Twenty years passed…. The daughter was in the autorickshaw and had just feebly informed the driver where to go. The driver reached the address and turned around to inform his passenger and found her not responsive. When he tried shaking her, he realised she was gone. He didn’t know what to do and in panic knocked on the door… A young woman came out and he asked her if she recognised this lady in his autorickshaw. She walked out and looked at her mother, just freshly dead. She turned to the autorickshaw driver and said, “oh this is a distant relative of mine who doesn’t have any children. She seems to be very ill. Here is some money, please take her to the hospital.” The neighbour had also come out. He saw that the lady was dead. He told the autorickshaw driver to take the body to a cremation ground and just do the last rites.
The neighbour called the uncle and said “your neice is no more. Her daughter had given some money to the autorickshaw driver saying she should be taken to a hospital but I have given him some money and have asked him to do the last rites.” The karmic cycle just renewed itself and went forth… Lessons learnt, the souls departed, leaving behind lessons for the living.