Love doesn’t always have to be expressed in words; it’s as effective when unspoken…
The school bell would ring and I would come out to find her seated in the same place. She would be looking for me in the crowd of other kids. As the black sharp eyes would find me she would give a toothy smile. She was bent; wore one of her uniform sarees. She would get up and hobble towards me and greet me.
I was a tired, over-burdened school kid. I would just be glad to give my heavy bag to her. She would pick it up like it was weightless and would volunteer to take my water bottle as well. I’m sure it was heavy for her, but she never ever complained.
We had language issues; I wasn’t very good at Tamil and she didn’t understand English. So we mostly communicated in gestures. She understood me. I didn’t like too much of talking after a whole day of school. We walked back home in a pleasant silence. She was generally a silent presence. But she understood everything I felt. I remember how she had given a good lecture to a kid who was getting on my nerves. I remember the day when I was looking fondly at the gas balloons sold outside the school. I didn’t have any cash. She looked at me and looked at the balloon. She stopped shuffling the weight of the bag and reached out to her ancient pouch to pull out some coins. I told her she didn’t have to buy it for me, but she wouldn’t listen. She even refused to take the money from my mother!
Her care for me brimmed as unshed tears when my mom told her she didn’t have to pick me up from school any more since I was old enough to come back alone.
I suddenly happened to remember her recently when my mom told me that she was no more. All these memories came back to me and I felt tears of unexplained affection well up. I didn’t even know her full name; I only knew her as Dhano. It’s funny how at times there are moments of unsaid and unexplained bonds. It was just absolute affection.
MANSI SONI, B.Com graduate from Stella Maris