Beyond Last Wish #WTFOW2018

My dad’s grandmother’s sister was a child widow. She got married when she was seven years old and became a widow at nine. She absolutely had no memory of her married life. She didn’t even have a photo of her husband.

All her life she stayed as a leftover member of the family. Her brother’s family used to treat her like an unpaid maid. However, Didimoni, as she was fondly called by my great-grandmother, never complained. She happily toiled in the kitchen, helped raise kids, cleaned the house, washed the clothes and even gave body massage to her sisters-in-law.

Occasionally, she used to take leave from her brother’s family and come and stay with her sister, my dad’s grandmother. She enjoyed staying with her sister more than her brothers. In her sister’s house, she was always treated with respect and love. She didn’t have to do much work and she could even go and watch theatre and bioscope (cinema). Didimoni loved theatre and her sister’s house was very near to the famous Star theatre in Kolkata, so she used to frequent quite often.

When Didimoni was around 35 years old she felt she was dying. In those days 35 was considered old age and most women became a grandmother by that age, many women even died by then. Therefore Didimoni felt it was her time to fulfil whatever little wishes she had. She obviously didn’t know the concept of bucket list then but nevertheless had a wish list.

My dad was around 13 years old then. One day Didimoni called him and confided her wishlist to him. There were not many items on that list. She wanted to buy few books, wanted to watch the play Nati Binodini and the last item was to visit Puri and then Kashi. For any widow, Kashi meant the final resting place.

My dad was very fond of Didimoni and he immediately arranged for the books and within few months she could also watch the play. However, when it came to visiting Puri and Kashi it became a cause for concern. In those days travelling to Puri or Kashi was not easy, especially for a widow and a 13-year-old boy. Therefore Didimoni reluctantly aborted her plans and made peace with her life.

Fortunately, my grandfather came to know about her secret wishes. He agreed to arrange for the trip. Finally, Didimoni, my dad’s grandmother and dad went for the trip. As my dad was the only male member of the group he had the responsibility to look after the two old women. They went to Puri and stayed for almost a month where Didimoni enjoyed herself a lot. She was so happy with my dad that she gave him Rs 50 that she had saved over the years. In those days Rs 50 was almost equivalent to Rs 5000.

From Puri, they went to Kashi. When Didimoni reached Kashi a letter from her brother was waiting for her. In the letter, her brother had written that as she went to Kashi they are considering that she would never return back. It should be her final destination and she should stay there till her last breath. Her brother also demanded that as she would now live under the shelter of God, she should not have any requirement for materialistic things like money and jewellery. Therefore whatever she had she should give it to her brothers and spend the rest of her life chanting the name of Krishna in Kashi.

Didimoni hardly had any cash, she only had few gold ornaments that she received at her wedding. This letter came as a big jolt to Didimoni and she understood that her brothers would not accept her back if she returned. She was almost resigning to fate and decided to spend the rest of her life in Kashi like the other widows. Thankfully, my dad’s grandmother understood and assured that Didimoni need not worry about her brothers and she can live the rest of her life with her.

Didimoni came back from Kashi and lived the rest of our life with us. She died when she was 75 years old. All her life she had a special fondness for my dad and whoever she met she always used to tell them that my dad had taken her to Kashi and fulfilled her last wish.

Living 40 years after fulfilling the last wish, isn’t it funny?

Prompt: Write a story about a character who finds out that he or she is dying and has been knocking things off his/her bucket list and has finally reached the last item.

Genre- Memoir

 


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47 thoughts on “Beyond Last Wish #WTFOW2018

  1. the bespectacled mother says:

    Reading Didimoni’s story was almost like watching Shakti Samantha’s movies set in Bengal. I am interested in knowing which year was it when the threesome went to Kashi and Puri. How was her life for the next 40 years? It is strange to fulfill your last wish and to live a long life thereafter. Did she never have any other wish or bucket list?
    Too many questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      This should have in late 40s or early 50s..I honestly don’t know the exact year but if Dad had been around 13 years it should have been that time.
      Honestly I believe she had a tough life because no matter where she lived life was never easy for a child widow. In my great grandma’s house she has less work and more respect than that of her brother yet she must have felt lonely without her own family etc. I am just kind of putting myself in her shoes and trying to think…I met didimoni but have very faint memory of how she looked or behaved..in her last days she used to live with my dad’s maternal uncle (Mama).

      Like

  2. BellyBytes says:

    I was intrigued by the title- beyond the last wish .So you had me hooked right there. I live your dispassionate way of putting facts down yet manage to create a feeling of pathos.
    Child widows are thankfully now in the past and your Didimoni was lucky to have a sister with an understanding husband. She must have been more of an asset to them than her ungrateful brothers.
    You should always go where you are wanted and not treated like an extraneous spare part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I like when you say that I have a dispassionate way of putting facts down yet manage to create a feeling of pathos…nobody ever pointed out this…maybe I should use this line as a testimonial for my book..what say??😁😂😁😂
      Most child widows had extremely tough life..they were wanted by none but exploited by all..
      Thanks you for this lovely comment..loads of love to you

      Like

  3. Shalzmojo says:

    Balaka your extraordinary flair for writing fictional seeming tales of real life characters is just awesome. I felt I was reading literature from yesteryears as this story would have fit right in there.

    Didimoni s life sounds so tragic and I am so glad to note she found love with her sisters family.

    They way this story wraps around the prompt is just marvellous and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mayuri6 says:

    As I read this I found myself thinking that I am glad that times have changed. Kudos to Didimoni for going through life and through the tough circumstances life paved her way with. Thank you for sharing yet another slice of life with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bhagyashree says:

    Such a heartfelt post. I love readingfiction which are based on true incidents. Reminded me of my own aunt who though not a child widow had a wish of going to Kashi. A wish which my father fulfilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anupriya Gupta says:

    Having lived in Kolkata now for almost a decade I could almost draw up the characters in your story. Extremely heart felt and endearing story. And yes ‘living 40 years after fulfilling one’s last wish’ could be a dream come true for people. If only they know knew what their last wish was. Most people are selfish to keep updating their list.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Meena says:

    Such a beautiful story Balaka. It has touched my heart deeply. Kudos to your grandfather, grandmother and your dad for supporting Didimoni in her time of need. Shame on her brothers. There are so many unfortunate women who are left behind in Kashi and Brindavan even in this date.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mammaspeaks says:

    Didimoni is one person we didn’t meet in the AtoZ, but I am glad you told her story now. Such a hauntingly sad story! What a fate for a 9 year old. And such simple wishes! Am glad your dad’s grandmother was a wise kind lady who took her in, and also your dad who was kind to him, Balaka!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Ya I never wrote of didimoni during atoz..there are many more people in my treasure chest whom I will gradually unveil😂😂😂
      My repertoire is ever increasing… whenever I meet a person I try to read his or her story…be it my watchman or my boss..I am weird that way..I always loved observing others…I try to tell simple stories…he he he…this reply has almost become a post…
      I am grateful to readers like you who always read my posts and encourage me with beautiful comment…you inspire me to write…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Obsessivemom says:

    You’re a wonderful story-teller Balaka. There’s no high octane drama in your tales yet they move me in a quiet but powerful way. It reminds me of writers of a past generation.
    Incidentally my fathers aunt, Chachi, was a child widow too and she lived with us all her life. So we ended up with two grandmoms and it was just the best. She had such verve for life!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Esha M Dutta says:

    Such a heartrending tale Tina and so beautifully narrated too. I could feel the pain that Didimoni’s predicament brought into her life. I know of people who suffered a similar fate as her and sometimes one wishes that life was a little kind to them!

    Liked by 1 person

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