The night was getting dark. An eerie silence engulfed the park. Radha looked at the barren tree. It was empty just like her life. A few drops of tears rolled down her eyes and fell on the floor.
“Who is this disturbing my slumber?”
Radha was startled. She got up and looked around but she couldn’t see anyone. She ran towards the gate in fear.
She was unable to run, though she wanted to. Something had caught her leg.
A figure clad in a white gown appeared before her. Radha froze.
“Do not fear. I do not wish to cause you harm. Let us sit and converse.”
Radha followed obediently.
“They call me Lakshmi. What is the cause of your distress, my child ?”
Hearing these words, Radha broke down completely. After a while she calmed down enough to start speaking.
“My name is Radha. A few days before, my identity was unknown to me. My memory was lost to me fifteen years ago. A kind soul left me in a rehabilitation centre. They cared for me adequately. But I was unsuccessful in my endeavour to recall my past.
One day, I had slipped and my head hit the table and I blacked out. When I regained my senses, my memory came flooding back. I had finally found the missing piece of me. The staff contacted my family. I eagerly awaited their arrival. I had packed all my belongings. Alas! It was not meant to be.
The head matron informed me that my family completely disowned me. But now I was left totally shattered. It would have been for the better if my memories had not returned” concluded Radha.
A brief pause later Lakshmi started, “I lost my husband very early in life. Not having kids of my own, I adopted my brother’s son and brought him up. I loved him like my own son. I educated him, loved him and got him married. My son and my grandkids got blank cheques signed from me and stole all my hard-earned money .
Suddenly I fell ill. It was a nervous breakdown. There was nobody at my side when I needed the most. They even refused to employ a nurse. I had bed sores, no one was there to change my diapers at times. I was in pain for six months and death finally provided me relief.”
Lakshmi then asked, “Who cared for you in the last fifteen years?”
“People at the rehabilitation centre. They cared for me as if I was one of their own” replied Radha.
“You are lucky enough. You have people you can call your own. Return to them. I died alone and my family shed crocodile tears when I left. You have people to make you smile. Treasure these true relationships”
A ghost had taught Radha an important lesson. The nascent rays had started hugging the sky in its arms. Few birds were sitting on the leafless tree. Even the tree was not alone…