“My heart breaks to tell you Dadu”s story today,” said Mrs Khanna to her husband, as she settled for breakfast at the table.
“Dadu’s story? which Dadu’s story has mom to tell now?”thought Smriti, getting ready for work. It was a normal morning where her mother had returned home after spending two hours in the park, attending a Yoga class, walking and some chatting.
“There is a man, may be nearing seventies, who I have been noticing for the past few days, comes to the park with an empty pram.” started mom. “He sits on a bench with the pram parked next to him, reads for all the time that he is there, then gets up , wheeling the empty pram, he leaves the park. Poor thing! My heart goes out to him. He never talks with anyone. He has a grand child whom he has been bringing to the park for all these years, playing with him everyday. Suddenly his son decides to move to another country and takes his wife and child along. With his grand child gone, now Dadu does not know what to do. It seems that he may have lost his mental balance. Now he comes everyday to the park, but with the empty pram. Why do old people have to be so unfortunate as to be left alone?”sighed mom, as she took her cup of tea in her hand.
“One minute mom, do you know this gentleman? Did you actually ask him for details?”asked a wide eyed Smriti.
“How stupid!How can you ask such things?”said mom.
“Then some one in your group knows him, right?” guessed Smriti.
“Does anyone need to tell this story, Smriti?Is’nt it so very obvious,”muttered an annoyed mom.
“Hold on , mom!Obvious?Do you mean to say that you have guessed the whole story?”said an exasperated Smriti.
“I do not understand what you are arriving at, beta”mumbled mom.
“ Mom please ask some one tomorrow about this man. You may just be surprised to know the truth,” insisted Smriti.
“What truth?”persisted mom.
“Mom there could be so many explanations to the situation. Why would you make up the whole story just like that?”said Smriti while leaving for work.This Dadu’s story had already made a dent on her time.
The next morning, mom returned from the park, with a subdued and embarrassed look.
She blurted out saying, “Smriti, today I waited for him to leave and followed him to the gate. I saw him then, entering “The Little Angels”, the small play school there and coming out with a cute child, who he put into the pram and wheeled away. But tell me , how would I know that this also could be the case?”Mom tried to justify herself still. “ I saw him with the empty pram and…”
“thought of the saddest thing that could have happened, mom?”completed Smriti. “Why could you not think of some happy story, mom?”said Smriti, as if to her own self.Thoughts started streaming in, one after the other.
“Why does man think of unhappiness so easily?Do they not realize that this desperation, would only get them, the same?”
“Why does one always imagine oneself to be victims of the circumstances, glorifying misfortunes?”
“Why does one love pitying self?”
“Why does one refuse to learn that we always get, what we look for?”
“ Does not one want to look for ‘Happiness’?
How sad it was for Mrs Khanna, who was blessed with a loving family, yet could write a sad Dadu’s story. Smriti felt herself , shudder, involuntarily.