It was a hot afternoon of April 2015. Priya and her 7 years old daughter, Rini, was climbing the staircase of an apartment in Noida. Rini was super excited as it was her mom's birthday. Rini had just come back from school and was enquiring about the evening plan. Her face fell off when Priya told her that there is no plan in the evening. As they were new to this place they didn't have many friends there. Priya told her she has a lot of work as she needs to unpack everything today and start her work from tomorrow. Rini was very disappointed but she chose to remain quiet. They reached their flat on the 5th floor of the building. Priya was tired and quite irritable now. This weather was playing a toll on her. After lunch, she started unpacking and arranging house again.
Around 5 pm when Priya was still busy with unpacking her stuff, the door bell rang. She peeped out of the hole of a door. She saw an elderly lady in her 60's holding something in her hand and a dog who is accompanying the lady. She opened the door and greeted her. Rini came running and hugged the lady addressing her Nani. Priya was quite surprised to see their affection.
The lady told Priya that she lives in the flat just below her apartment and have met Rini couple of time as stops by to play with Robby, her dog. She said she love the way Rini call her Naani as she had no daughter.
"Priya", call the old lady.
"Yes aunty", said Priya.
"I have baked a cake for you as I overheard your conversation with Rini, while you were climbing the staircase." Priya was overwhelmed and didn't know what to say.
"Thank you, Aunty. You reminded me of my mother who used to bake me a cake always on my birthday. I lost her three years back and since then I and Rini are living alone," tears rolled down Priya's cheeks.
"You have found another mother now Priya and I am glad I found a daughter," said aunty.
Priya smiled,"Yes Aunty." The sweet gesture of an elderly lady melted Priya's heart and in no time they four (including Robby) were like a team.
It was only on second and fourth Saturday that Auntie used to be busy. Her son used to visit auntie along with his family every alternate weekend.
Priya asked auntie that why she doesn't go and stay with her son.
"Priya, I really don't think I can adjust anywhere else. Even though they are so nice to me but I am more comfortable in this house where I still can feel the presence of your uncle," said aunty with a graceful and confident smile.
Priya was amazed to see her confidence and once again aunty reminded of her mother, who was as confident and graceful as Aunty was. She remembered how her mother took care of her and 3 years old Rini when she lost Akash, her husband in a car accident. It was her mother only who helped her survive those days otherwise she would have lost everything and herself too.
Respect for Auntie grew many times in Priya's heart. She thought when half of the world complains that how their children don't support them, there is this lady who is happy to live independently.
Months passed by and it was August. It was raining heavily and Priya saw Aunty walking hurriedly down the stairs. She ran to offer help in case if she wants anything from outside. She smiled and said,"No dear, I am going to my son's place as it's my grandson's birthday and I have baked him a cake."
She went to a waiting taxi and signalled the driver to drive. Priya also returned back to her normal work, she was working from home that day.
Again the next week Priya met aunty downstairs. She was going to his son's place for her daughter-in-law's birthday and have baked a cake for her too. Priya smiled at her and hugged her for being so sweet.
Next month, she repeated her visit to son's place for his wedding anniversary and also stayed there for two days taking care of her grandkids while her son and his wife went out of the station to celebrate. Aunty did all this with her heart.
The coming month, it was Aunty's birthday and Priya has taken an off so that she could spend the first half with her as she thought her family will come to celebrate it in the evening. She took Aunty out on lunch and also bought her a gift.
As Priya bid bye to her and wished her happy evening with family, she told her that as it is a weekday so it won't be possible for her son to visit her today. But she said, with a twinkle in her eye, that they will be coming on the weekend.
Priya felt bad and came up with a plan to call her son and his family by a trick. Though she knew it wasn't right to do but she still went ahead with her plan.
Priya called her son and informed him that she needs immediate medical attention. Her son assured Priya that he and his wife will be reaching soon.
Priya arranged everything, birthday cake, snacks and food. She also invited 2-3 friends from the society and informed them to reach by 6:30 pm.
At 6 pm, Priya went to Aunty's home and asked her to get ready. She initially showed some resistance to change as she was unaware of the party, Priya had planned but when Rini requested her to dress up to cut the cake she finally went to wear the clothes which Rini has chosen for her.
Around 6:30 pm Aunty's son rushed into the room. Both Aunty and her son was surprised to see each other and couldn't understand what's happening. Priya interrupted and apologised too for calling him like this. Auntie felt bad as her son had to rush leaving all his work and also that they have to travel so far to celebrate her birthday. But Priya said,"Aunty, it's your special day and all your loved ones should be there to celebrate it." Her son and daughter-in -law agreed to Priya and apologised to her for not been able to take a day off for her bday. Auntie hugged them tightly.
The door bell rang again. She was more surprised to see her friends coming in. A cheek-to-cheek smile ran over her face and she welcomed all of them. She looked at Priya and gestured a heartfelt thanks. Priya smiled to her and got busy with serving and hosting her party. Rini and Robby were happy and playing with Aunty's grandkids.
For those three and half hours, her house came to life as it used to be once when uncle was there.
After everything was over and all guests left, aunty went inside to change. Her son agreed to stay at her place that night as they all were too tired to go back all the way.
Priya said to her son," Nishant, if you could come for the emergencies then please try to come on special occasion too."
She further said," You must have regretted if something would have happened to her today. So it's better to celebrate the special moments and feel happy rather than regretting for the moments lost later."
He admitted and they smiled at each other.
A birthday cake made Priya found family and a home in the lost world.
Aunty too got a daughter which she yearns for from a very long time. Rini and Robby got friends for company.
And it was a happily ever after...
In real life too I wish it was this simple to follow that gratitude is better than regret.
I wish we could tell our friends and family how much we love them before it's too late.
Sometimes, we keep waiting and pushing everything for later, only to realize that later never comes. What is there today, tomorrow may or may not be there.
Be grateful and have little gratitude in your to-do list. Don't forget to shower and express love to your loved ones from time to time and tell them how lucky you are to have them.