Life brings along cheer, celebrations, learning, and beautiful memories. But Mr Raman’s myriad wrinkles had another story to tell. For over a decade, he lived in an old age home “ Basera”, on the outskirts of the overpopulated city of Bengaluru. Though it was not very plush, his bunch of friends made it worth living there. They were his family since the day his son relocated to the US with his family. Initially, he was lonely and depressed. Yet he kept his hope alive that one day his son would return and take him back to the ancestral home where he belonged.
Despite his agony of being separated from his only son, Mr Raman was an endearing man with sparkling eyes and a friendly smile. He wobbled as he walked with the help of a sturdy bamboo cane. It was gifted to him on this very day last year, by his friends at the centre. He was touched deeply by their kind gesture. He had stumbled and fallen a few times in the recent past and this was something he really needed.
Mr.Raman would often sit on the rustic bench under the banyan tree with his roommate, Mr Sen and ask, “Was it my fault?” Mr Sen like always would shake his head and mutter under his breath,“ It’s today’s generation, they don’t need us any more.” Most of the residents had similar stories to tell. But that didn’t dampen their spirit. They enjoyed each other’s company and made memories they could happily carry to their graves.
Till a few years back, Mr Raman would regularly receive calls from his son, enquiring about his well being and a promise to return soon. They became less frequent and were restricted to occasions and last he had called was two years ago on Mr Raman’s birthday. Despite this, Mr Raman kept his hope alive, he knew one day his son would feel his need and return. After all, he had sacrificed his entire youth in bringing him up as a single parent.
Today was special, Mr Raman was celebrating his 80th birthday with his mates. A round of cheer, to cut his favourite red velvet cake, brought back the smile on his face. He lowered his head to blow out the lone candle, trying to control the constant waggling and bobbing of the head. Just as he was about to do so, through his blurred vision he saw a figure appear. A tear dropped and doused the flame of the candle. Mr Raman had waited for this day for over a decade. Despite his handicap, he wanted to run and hug his son. A faint smile crossed his creased face but that was short-lived. Alas! It was just a figment of his imagination. When his vision cleared a bit, he realised there was no one. He was hoping against hope and had not lost it yet … after all, tomorrow is another day… maybe, just maybe someday he would!
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