Emptiness

Along the shore of Lake Geneva, exists a sculpture named ‘Melancolie’ created by Albert Gyorgy. It is an outline of an old man, stooping on the bench, with a large hole in the middle around the heart, depicting his abject emptiness after the children leaving him in his advancing years. In this context, I recollect Mr.Chowdhury who was a dear colleague of my father. He had two sons, both of my age group. So right from childhood, our families shared close bond with each other.
Chowdhury uncle had to undergo a lot of financial hardship during initial stages. So uncle and aunt had to sacrifice a lot of basic necessities for themselves to ensure better life for their children. Chowdhury uncle retired. His children bagged well paid jobs in Kolkata itself and got married. The younger son flew the nest first to settle in another part of the city. Then Chowdhury aunt passed away in her mid 60s leaving Uncle in his late 70s. Apart from age-related ailments, often he used to get almost immobile courtesy severe bouts of arthritis.
The wife of his elder son left for her paternal home as her workplace is nearer from it! The MNC working son used to return home late at night. So the “duty-less” Chowdhury uncle is bound to undergo a drastic lonely life within house! Perhaps the sacrifices which he had undergone during his best years were not duty at all! So in the most vulnerable stage of his life, the widower indeed deserves such a desolate life! Ending with lines of John Maddox — “We may look as if we carry on with our lives as before.
KAJAL CHATTERJEE
Kolkata, India

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