The Last Duty
'Your mother breathed her last just now!' an apparently emotional voice from the Vriddha Ashram in Punjabi Bagh, squeaked through the old man's ancient Nokia 1100 cellphone.
'Oh no, but I won't be able to come, I have been hospitalized for the past two years and am completely alone here, you see', he protested weakly.
'Yes, we see. No, in fact, we have not seen you since the day you left her here ten years ago. But since she wished to be united with you at least after her death, her body will reach the hospital in an hour.' the woman spoke in a more firm and assertive voice now.
'Why? I wouldn't even be able to perform her last rites'.
'But she has performed her last duty towards you!'
'What? What now?'
'Mr Kumar, your mother donated all her organs to the needy patients and her liver to you! And also five lakh rupees in a bank account in your name, saved from the salary she earned as the Matron of the orphanage here.'
'Mom, I am scared, take me home with you!' He had clutched her hand and pleaded with her on the first day of school.
'Don't worry my son. I will never leave you. I will be there with you always', she had tapped his hand calmly and assured him of her love and support, forever.
As he grew up, got married and settled down in life, fear of separation was gradually replaced with irritation and then contempt for her words of concern for him.
'I can't live with you any more,' he had shrugged off her hand on his arm, and left her in the Old Age Home, ten years ago, forever.
'Beta, how will I live here without you all? Please take me with you!' she had pleaded with him.
But he had lead in his ears.
After the death of Kumar's wife two years ago, his son picked up a job abroad and flew away leaving him in this hospital, in Punjabi Bagh, forever. Even the cheques stopped coming after some time. Since then he had been surviving on his meager pension, biding his limited time in the hope of receiving a liver from some benevolent donor.
His mother never left him. She had come back to him today, to hold his hand, forever!