In response to prompt : Sympathy
I always think of the days when my father passed away, how people came to our house to take away things without asking us. They didn’t show any compassion for how we are dealing with the loss. This is one side of human nature.
When we landed at Dhaka airport, my mother’s cousins who came in droves when my father was alive, after his passing the scenario changed completely. The cousins did not come to offer their Sympathy or support, we were considered a burden, therefore we were treated like strangers. Of all the cousins my mom had, only one showed up. He genuinely felt sorry for us.
This is the fact of life, we found out soon enough we were on our own and must not expect anything from our relatives.
Among all the people we knew, I felt the only one who was caring was our milkmaid who delivered milk daily. According to our custom when a woman’s husband dies, she takes off all her jewelry, wears white saris and leads a very simple life.
One day the milkmaid noticed my mom had taken off her jewelry including the bangles on her wrist. This is what she said, ‘Begum Sahib, please wear the bangles, you’ll serve food to your children, if you do not wear them, it will shorten the lives of your children.’
Mom did not know, with tears in her eyes, she took out the bangles and wore them. I know others would think it’s a superstition. But I was overwhelmed with emotion, the very fact the milkmaid was thinking about us, made me feel, at least there is someone who loves us!