Dad found a companion but everyone was determined to destroy their joy

old indian couple

She was standing at the doorstep, all in white. The young widow looked magnetic in her plain white sari with a white blouse. She made a roll of her long hair and stared at my dad with her sharp eyes.

“You can join your duty from tomorrow morning. The storeroom is big enough for placing your bed,” Dad said to her. He found her efficient to keep as a cook cum overall house help. After Mom’s death, it was Dad who took all household decisions.

“By the way, what is your name?” Dad asked her.

“Yashoda Namusudra,” she replied at once.

My elder sister invited her inside for a cup of tea. We all were impressed by her neat and clean appearance. Yashoda didi knew Bengali only, but she understood Assamese perfectly. The language was not a barrier for all of us, as we all understood Bengali. The bookshelf was full of books from Bengali literature. Dad was a great admirer of Bengali literature. We heard the names of Sarat Chattopadhyaya, Ashapurna Devi, Rabindra Nath Tagore, etc., from our childhood and we often listened to Bengali songs along with Assamese songs. My elder sister was quite excited that she was going to get an opportunity to practice her Bengali now.

She brought us joy

Yashoda came the very next day and joined duty. Her only possessions were three white saris, two petticoats and three white blouses. She was given a bed in the storeroom that was attached to kitchen. She kept her clothes on one corner of her bed after folding them neatly. Her presence had brought many changes to our day-to-day lives. We could arrange tea parties for friends or relatives now and occasionally called them for lunch or dinner, too. Her smart hands managed everything very quickly. Suddenly, our lunch and dinner became moments of joy.

Every day she had something new to offer. Such a wonderful cook she was! She didn’t need some extraordinary things to make a delicious meal. She loved to collect vegetables from the kitchen garden and sometimes she collected wild herbs to make a delicacy. Her rice cake was the tastiest one of all the cakes we ate in life. Dad was happy for the first time after our mother’s death.

Related reading: Here’s a movie that made us question the meaning of both life and love

Dad found his happiness

Everything was going smoothly. We could hear Dad’s singing, one of his favorite Hindi songs – ‘Jalte hain jiske liye…’ We had not seen him in such a pleasant mood for a long time. It brightened the atmosphere of our house. Apart from all these, there was someone who was the happiest one. It was none but Yashoda didi herself. She washed her long hair with Lux soap and applied scented hair oil once the hair dried. Then she sat in our backyard for half an hour combing her waist length hair. Dad presented her with the hair oil. This was not less than any big luxury for Yashoda didi who never had dreamt of using scented hair oil. She expressed it herself, appreciating Dad’s generosity.

We never had any problem with her happiness. But one day, a lady from next door asked my elder sister, “Does your dad press her sari?” It was me who had told the lady a few days ago. My elder sister decided to inform Priyam di, our eldest, married sister. She came home with a gloomy face and I was asked to describe all. I described how dad presses her white sari, how much he cares to bring her scented hair oil and how happy he is now. Priyam di scolded us for keeping the door open at night, which linked father’s room with the kitchen.

That day, Yashoda didi happily cooked some special Bengali dishes for Priyam di. She served Priyam di with excitement, but di didn’t even bother to talk to her.

Related reading: Do we live in a society under a shroud thicker than a burkha?

My sister dropped a bombshell

When she was leaving, Priyam di announced in front of Dad, “Yashoda didi must be fired.”
Everything changed from that day. Dad stopped singing. Yashoda didi didn’t watch TV with dad anymore as she did before. She continued to cook her wonderful dishes, but her smile was lost somewhere. We didn’t see her caring for her long hair anymore. She did her work silently and spent the rest of the time inside the storeroom.

We couldn’t imagine what was going through Dad’s mind. But he felt humiliated for sure. Finally, he decided to fire her.

At the moment of her leaving, she asked Dad in a shaken voice, “Ogo, aapni ki aamake satyi tariyesen (Dear, are you really throwing me out?)?” Dad kept quiet. She touched his feet with her hands and went out. No one dared to look at her face. But we all knew something had broken somewhere without making the slightest noise.

Author’s note: Widowhood is a big curse in Indian society. No one can feel the pain. This lady found some love and care from an old man. She accepted it as her destiny and felt herself blessed. At the same time, my dad found his happiness again. But everyone was determined to destroy their joy. I was not mature enough to understand the relationship. But why didn’t my married sister understand my father’s need for a companion?

Maybe society is changed a bit now, as well as the fate of widows. Still, it is time to tell the stories of discrimination against widows.

Even her parents didn’t want her to be normal and happy after being widowed

Widows are human, too, and have needs

How my widowed mother married her best friend


Readers Comments On “Dad found a companion but everyone was determined to destroy their joy”

  1. Well…it didn’t feel that awkward to “take financial advantage” of you (if that’s what you’re braying)…for though you’re repulsively ugly, you seemed financially reliable and funnily enough, I was actually giving this shit of a “relationship” a real thought….eew!
    But then I got to know the person behind your facade (It’s ridiculous that you bray on other people’s “facade”).You should not go on giving society the impression of a ” normal” man when in actuality you’re a homosexual. Come On; Be Clean! Strip off the outer cover that camouflages all your guilt-ridden homosexual encounters. ????????????????
    By the way-why are giving an impression as if we interacted outside Messenger and WhatsApp? ????????????????

    1. shushil choubey

      you are well capable of getting more gifts, dress, phone, travels of places, donations, more. you can ride on both women and animals.”victims” stories.. ..keep up!

  2. shushil choubey

    Yes, society has prejudice and it takes effort, i mean sincere/honest effort from society to change that. Having known you personally, quite closely, I feel it is also something that some might use to enhance short-term gain, sympathy from onlookers. This does not help, on contrary, leaves the actual victims, just a sad story. Just a little clean heart and intention… it needs, is it not?

    1. But you’ve to see; in a society where some sick men with the seriously putrid mindset
      inbox a woman “you are a facebook whore” for posting her photos on her FB timeline-we Indian women are by default victims of shitty rapist mentality. Indian women playing victim cards is a myth.

      “FB whore”-those were your exact words; weren’t they??

      1. shushil choubey

        Urmimala, If you wish, I can put entire text of all our conversations,dating back to August 2017, that would clear any doubts. I am load it on G Drive with password protection, if that is ok, I will send you the link for the file here? As to who initiated talks, what we spoke, all these times, who was in-boxing,etc, from day 1?

      2. shushil choubey

        On “victim”, it is the underprivileged women who are victims, like the maid in story, and i agree. But then, the “victim card”, is shouted loudly by those, who have to skills to manipulate society into their favor – the fox and hare, fluctuating opportunistically to serve themselves, the victims often mere facade.

        Do you remember, the “Papon case”. You, your media friends, how earnestly, the alleged “victim”, is closed out by an orchestrated campaigns, I would feel, one needs to be honest, and not swing according to wind.

          1. shushil choubey

            Not really Urmimala. Not after 6 months of knowing you and suggesting that you “get out”. Not after:
            1. Collecting dress from SHEIN, yes, you needed a expensive dress.
            2. Develop your NGO website for free.
            3. Buying you an expensive phone.
            On all, this you seemed to be extremely happy, sharing the good gifts on your FB.
            Not when you ask for a quick relationship, don’t we know each other, quite well, your cases and my past? Should i send our conversations?
            Not when,you say, you cannot remain committed to anyone! but is ok to try, yes a self proclaimed “practical person” and a “unemotional person”.
            And not when, you ask for a expensive Sari, unashamedly on gmail.
            Was all this, without knowing me??
            Come on, be clean. and yes, as i often, very often told, strip off the outer cover, that camouflages all your double standards. FB and social media, and work for animal right and woman right is a facade for quick personal gains.

  3. Demonstrates how a simple yet compact story line delivers so many message for the society to stop a while and reevaluate it’s norms. Once again a wonderful piece of write-up from Urmimala on this cause.

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