I had known my dad's cousin, for a few years, as the lady who chose to remain single amidst the traditional family she was part of. During family functions, she was a topic of discussion as the one who committed an act that is next to a cardinal sin! Though no one despised her at home, I always sensed a melancholic tone when people spoke about her.
Perennially our society has been one that strongly based itself upon the notion of matrimony for existence and procreation. Every child who is born into this system is raised with a constant reminder of the need for this age-old institution. This belief gets deep rooted so much that, anyone who dares to tread a path that is different is seen as an outcast. This nature of the public always remained a fascination right from the time I started decoding the algorithm of relationships in a family.
The chapters of my life flew by and one fine day I ended up at the doorsteps of the same lady. I was to stay there for a couple of months as part of completing my Post Graduation project in that city. My alternate agenda was to explore more on the psyche of a single woman on whom the society had attached a taboo.
Pages on the calendar were flipped twice and by that time I had my realization in place. I could figure out the discrimination, the so called civilization had shown on her. In fact I really admired her for resisting the act of bigotry for almost half a century! She was indeed happy being single and had no regrets whatsoever, unlike the concern people had for her. I could feel the sense of freedom she cherished and not to mention her own space she treasured!
Single or otherwise, maternal instincts form an inseparable part of the genetics that constitute the fairer sex. I experienced that with the care she extended towards my well being. I was truly thankful to her for making me comfortable during the couple of months I lived there. It was more like an eye-opener for me towards the definitions world had in store.
It was time to bid farewell to the wonderful camaraderie we shared. I thought of parting ways by gifting her something she valued. She being an avid reader, what else other than a book, could be the best gift? Hours were spent to fish out a befitting book that spoke volumes about living life to the fullest. Something that genuinely complimented her spirit of being single!
I got the book covered in a lovely gift wrapper and presented with a contented heart. Her naturally beautiful face glowed as I handed over the gift and soon enough she started unwrapping it. Till date I am not really sure of the sort of emotion that crossed her face, as she took a first look at the cover of the book!
It read, 'Who Will Cry When You Die?'