When away from home, food becomes one of the main problems that we need to get it solved. What could be done? I had to either tie up with a tiffinwale uncle who drops the tiffin outside the closed door or walk a mile for snacks every day, which wasn’t really a good option. After managing for few days, one of my paying guest roomie gave me an address, where I was told an aunty cooks good home food for anyone who stays away from parents at a very reasonable price.
Next day I reached there with an happiness to eat ghar ka khaana. Upon knocking the door, a fairly handsome boy opened the door and we exchanged smiles. I reached inside to find Aunty preparing Chapatti, the aroma of delicious Indian curry from the pressure cooker was whistling my hunger. Before she could ask me anything, I said, “Namaste aunty, mujhe aapka reference mila hai from a friend, suna hai aap khana acha banati hai. Mai bhi yaha aana chahungi har roz.”
To this she said, “Aaj se shuru kar do phir to, Haath dho lo.. Mai khana parosti hu.”
Twice a day, I visited her house to have lunch and dinner along with 3 of my other roommates. There was nothing we couldn’t compare the food from our own home cooked food, instead it was a step ahead in taste, love and the varieties served. Aunty served food with all her love, she gave us garam phulka roti one by one while she ate at the end when uncle arrives from the school. He was working as a clerk in a local private school. He was one gentleman I should say. There was a time we all ate together, Uncle – Aunty, their son and elder daughter and we four. Just like a family, we shared everything that happened in our college, office and they shared vise-versa.
We passed months together like this, her food was the best thing we waited in a day, and the getting together of course. We realized they were from a struggling middle class family but no one slept without laughing out harder on a discussed topic. But soon, we saw a change!
The family that ate together was now eating at different times. Daughter began working dual jobs, Aunty had began her visits to houses for cooking as orders and uncle came late nights while her son hardly left his room. The always talkative aunty is now found least spoken, now she forgets to even ask us whether we need anything more to eat. We four always decide to ask her what’s the problem, but her sad face made us worried that we may hurt her more.
One day, while eating food we noticed an insect in the vegetable served and the lentil stew was nothing but water with spices. The happy home had lost its charm and now the food also had seen the change, There was something wrong about the situation. That day, I gathered all my courage and asked: “Kirti Aunty, Kya baat hai? Koi problem hai to bataye humain?
She kept the Chappati plate on the table and started crying profusely, she couldn’t stop her tears but managed to tell us: “Siddharth (her son) ko blood cancer hai.” Her words sealed our mouths and landed us in utter shock. We couldn’t say her anything just tried to calm her down. Upon discussing the doctor’s say, she said, “Mujhse nahi hoga ab tum logo ko khana khilana, kuch time ke liye mai Siddharth ko bade doctor ke pass le ja rahi hu. Tum log please adjust kar lena.”
We did not hear from her after that night for months. After 3-4 months, we reached the home multiple times but it was locked. Disappointed we came back every time. It was now almost 6-8 months from the night she had disclosed the truth, 2 of my friends had completed their studies and left. It was just me and one more roommate. One day someone knocked our door, It was Kriti aunty, Old with the glow gone and a little sad. “Aunty aap? Kaise hai aur kaha the aap?”
She gave me a little smile and came in, “Main theek hun, bas kehne aayi thi ke maine tiffin service shuru kiya hai, to ghar khana khane aana.” Something was gone badly wrong. We asked her and she hugged me and shared her heart out, “Siddharth chala gaya… mera beta nahi raha… uske papa ko paralysis ho gaya…” We cried along with her, not knowing what to say.. But I just hugged her tight and cried while she continued “…I am not able to forget him… I want to live again..”
She is one courageous lady, with her young son gone, and husband paralyzed it was only her and a daughter who looked after the house and family. It was her courage to deny us for her service earlier, for her inattentiveness due to circumstances. She did not let her daughter break down her aspirations, she is pursued her MBA while aunty is doing everything she can to fulfill her daughter’s dream and to get her husband back as before.
We joined her family again, gave as many as eating members we could. We also try to make her smile with our weird jokes and tactics but at the end what wins is the perseverance she puts in and the outcome she received in the form of money, happy faces and blessings.
P.S : This is a real story, there are many who have lost their loved ones to Cancer. They need our love and understanding, if you are very strong financially, help a family or if not be there morally.
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