Good Reads: Chandausi Junction - Saindh

Good Reads: Chandausi Junction - Saindh

Chapter 9: SAINDH (a small hole made in the wall by the thieves)

Bulandshahr, 1955

Uma and her Grand mother-in-law were alone in their home. The other family members had gone to a nearby town for a prayer meeting, consequent to the death of a relative. It was a December night and there was no respite from the cold. Nights had become colder and longer. The home was of three rooms, standing on the side of a lane, a bit away from the pucca rasta.

Made of bricks and mud, the walls of the home required repairing, which were being delayed due to the not-so-comfortable financial position of the household. Uma got married to Mahesh, the youngest son of the family, just a couple of months back. She hit an instant chord with Dadi, her grandmother-in-law.

While Dadi was always ready to dole out all her affection on the latest entrant to the family, Uma would not miss any opportunity to smuggle Dadi a few goodies like Poori, Kachaudi, Sweets, which were banned by Mahesh, due to her old age. Both the ladies, together, would joke, laugh, share experiences and even secrets, not known to the outside world. It was not that Uma was in any way disrespectful to the other family members. However, the link with other members, especially her mother-in-law was of respect, while with her Dadi, the tie was of love.

Uma always used to tell Mahesh “We must take care of Dadi. She doesn’t have anybody else. If we won’t care for her, who else will. I will always be there for her and not let any harm come to her.”

After packing off Mahesh, his brothers, sisters-in-law, and parents, cleaning the house, cooking, serving, and eating food with Dadi, and then cleaning the utensils and chauka (kitchen), Uma had set the bed for Dadi and lay down by her side. While Dadi kept on rambling about the multifarious topics of how the cold has increased, the arrival of ghore kalyug, how things were much better in her days, and so on, tired of the day’s chores, Uma dozed off.

It was 2 o’clock in the night. Uma felt the pressure of a hand on her mouth. Alarmed, she opened her eyes and saw Dadi towering over her. She could not understand it, but Dadi was keeping her index finger on her lips and signaling her to be quiet. She silently nodded and Dadi removed her hand, then Dadi signaled towards the wall.

On straining her ears, Uma could now listen to some very feeble sounds coming from the other side of the wall. Her tired body, covered with a cozy quilt and a lengthy night coupled with deep sleep must have prevented her from listening to the sounds. But, Dadi’s experienced ears and sleep-deprived old age had picked up the sounds. Very carefully she took her mouth to Uma’s ears and whispered just 2 words “Chor. Saindh.”

(for reading the rest of the story and many more stories like this, please get your copy of Chandausi Junction at the leading online and offline bookstores. The book is also available on kindle. Happy Reading and don't forget to share your feedback at shankarsahay7@gmail.com)

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