Search this site
The old aunt felt in the toy box hoping to find a "poori" which might perhaps have remained. But there was none! She licked her fingers. When a dam holding back all the desires bursts, the desires rush out uncontrollably. The mere thought of wine arouses an irresistible urge in the alcoholic. The aunt's desires were similarly aroused, and she lost her notions of right and wrong conduct. She tried to control her desires but her efforts were defeated; she asked Ladli to guide her to the spot where the guests had deposited their plates after the meals.
Ladli could not understand the purpose behind this strange request. But she did as she was told. She held Kaki's hand and guided her to the spot.
The old woman, whom hunger had made insensible to right and wrong conduct, began rummaging through the plates and eating the leftovers! They tasted delicious! The old aunt still had a trace of consciousness, which scoffed at her for eating scraps from the trash can. But old age is the last stage of that disease called craving when all the desires become focused on a single sensory organ; in the case of the old aunt, it was the sense of taste.
Just then Rupa woke up with a start; she realized that Ladli was not by her side. An alarmed Rupa looked under the bed thinking the girl might have fallen off. When she could not find the girl, Rupa got off the bed. She soon came upon the girl standing quietly and the old aunt gobbling the leftovers.
Rupa was numbed with shock; she experienced the same emotions that she might have experienced had she been watching a cow being slaughtered right before her eyes. There could be no greater despairing scene than the one she was watching right now — an old woman eating leftovers! Her aunt was committing such a disgraceful act merely for a few scraps of food! She felt as though the world had stopped and the sky was spinning over her head. It was the sign of some great evil to come. Rupa felt no anger; anger bows before grief! Her eyes brimmed with pity and fear. Who was responsible for this sin? She raised her hands to the heavens and with genuine repentance sought God's forgiveness.
Rupa had never before realized how selfishly and unjustly they had behaved towards the aunt. Now, the realization came to her in a flash. "Oh, I have been so cruel! Such is the miserable state of the person whose property we are enjoying! And it is all because of me! I have committed a grave sin! God, forgive me. Today was my son's engagement ceremony; a large number of people had their food and I served them as a servant just to earn a good name. But the aunt whose property I am enjoying went hungry!"
Rupa lighted a lamp, went to the kitchen, and returned with a plate full of food. She had taken care to place each food item at its proper place on the plate so as to appear decorative. It was past midnight. The sky was filled with stars; it seemed as though plates made of stars were laid on the sky and the gods were feasting on divine food. But even the gods couldn't have found so much pleasure in their heavenly food as the old aunt found upon seeing the plate in front of her.
"Come Kaki, have your food. I committed a grave sin today; please forgive me. Please pray to God and seek forgiveness for me," Rupa said in a tear-choked voice.
The old aunt had already forgotten all the insults and ill-treatment. She sat eating contentedly, goodwill oozing from every pore of her body. She appeared just like an innocent child who sits down to enjoy the sweets, forgetting all the scoldings and beatings suffered in obtaining them. Rupa sat at a distance watching this heavenly scene.
"Boodhi Kaki" is a touching tale of an old woman and about the problems of the elderly. The aunt's husband and son have died, and she has no one to take care of her other than a nephew.
The nephew and his wife behaved very well with the aunt at first. So, the trusting woman bequeathed her property to them. But the behaviour of the nephew and his wife towards the aunt changed after acquiring her property. They now looked upon her as a burden and neglected her.
Old age, it is said, is a return of childhood. Like children, the elderly feel helpless and need to be taken care of by their relatives. Physical frailty, loss of hearing, poor eyesight, walking difficulty are some of the problems, which the elderly have to face. Deprived of the joys of life, they start craving for certain things, just like children.
In the case of Kaki, she craved food. The nephew and his wife did not provide a full meal to her, although they enjoyed her property!
The nephew hosts a feast on the occasion of the pre-wedding ceremony of his eldest son. Sumptuous food is cooked for the guests. The aroma is so tempting that the aunt dares to take a peek into the kitchen. She is insulted by the nephew's wife. The aunt goes back to her room, but gnawing hunger draws her back to the kitchen after a while. This time, the nephew insults her and he even behaves cruelly.
The guests have departed after the meals. The family members have eaten their food, but they have forgotten about the aunt. She goes without food.
But someone feels sorry for the aunt; it is Ladli, the nephew's daughter.
Ladli has removed a portion of her food for the aunt. It is past midnight, and everyone is sleeping. Ladli crawls out of bed and carries the food to the aunt.
But the little food that Ladli had saved for the aunt can hardly satisfy her hunger. She asks Ladli to guide her to the spot where the guests had disposed of their plates. Ladli cannot understand the purpose behind this strange request. But she does as she is told. The aunt is so hungry that she starts eating the leftover food on the plates!
In the meanwhile, the nephew's wife wakes up and witnesses this scene. The nephew's wife, a god-fearing woman, is stunned at the sight of the aunt scavenging for food! She realizes how cruelly they had treated the aunt despite enjoying her property. She immediately goes to the kitchen and comes back with a plate full of food for the aunt.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu