Managing a smile on her face, Amma entered Shanti Oldage home. Post lunch she sat in the sun and narrated a story to the old audience surrounding her, who applauded with glee.
A fresh batch of the literature students annually visited Shanti as part of their social service program, Amma caught the attention of this year’s batch who enjoyed every bit of her storytelling- the story, tone, pauses and expressions that could put any theatre artist to shame. She seemed nothing less than a seasoned storyteller- they had to have her perform at their fest at college.
At the fest, Amma narrated a real love story from her village, of a young girl who eloped with a foreign tourist and how She, a talented dancer, he a great musician, would perform together in the evenings and sell samosa sandwiches and tea in the daylight hours. Both were speechless by birth but communicated better than any normal couple. The story engaged the youth more than the drummer beating for attention on the other end of the campus.
With her gig up on Youtube, impressed event organizers came knocking on Shanti’s door asking for Amma. At 81 Amma became a mini-celebrity, getting attention like never before, She went wherever she was called lovingly and narrated with a twinkle in her eyes, donating all proceeds from her storytelling sessions to Shanti Charitable trust for the welfare of the old and disowned.
Five years later, at the Jaipur Literary Fest, Amma shared yet another tale, She started ” She was married at 16, became a mom at 18 and together the couple raised their only son. She cooked, nourished and narrated the stories of valor, love, hope to their son while he worked long hours to sustain the good life- life was simple yet perfect. At 65, the husband died, their son had already become a respectable doctor ….Amma paused and then repeated “She told him stories, at 65 her husband died…. “, Amma ran out of words.
A voice from the audience narrated ahead…” And then, the son got an offer to work for the best hospital in Houston, USA. He decided to leave his mother at an old age home back in India so he could start afresh life without any disturbances. He soon married and had a beautiful daughter a year later. But whenever he would sit to narrate a story to his daughter, he would be overcome by guilt and incompetence- he could never narrate a story as warmly as his mother. So selfish as he was he flew down to India to take back his precious Amma and complete the missing piece in his puzzle of life- And that my friends is Amma’s story and I am that shameless son”, he said as he climbed up the stage to wipe off tears that had welled up in Amma’s eyes.
25th November 2018, Houston, USA, Amma narrated her last story on the bed, surrounded by friends, family, and fans across age groups and regions. Only Calmness shone on her face as she lay breathless.
Do whatever, you do with the unconditional love they say, Amma did just that!
You need to login in order to vote