He sat on the rocking chair in the veranda watching the Ganges flow lazily by. She could be ferocious and then at times she was calm. The evening sun made her glow – a fiery saffron just like the ‘tikka’ on Mishti’s forehead.
Mishti, he missed her. Oh how he missed her. They had had forty seven years together, almost unheard of in the generation of these days. His Mishti had been like the Ganges – sometimes fiery and sometimes calm. It had been so difficult to see her just melt away , those last month’s …..
“Babuji, are you thinking again? Why don’t I get you a book to read?” Arya, his housekeeper called out bustling into his room and fussing away with the bed covers.
He glanced back at her, a smile on his face. “For heaven’s sake girl, let it be. It is fine, does not need to be precise you know.”
“Yes it does, otherwise people will say I did not take care of you,” she said walking out into the veranda . She stood silently by the door, mesmerised by the sight of the Ganges.
Gazing out in the same direction he sighed wistfully, “Beautiful she is at this time. Reminds me of the ‘tikka’ on Mishti’s forehead. Soon I will be with her.”
“Oh Babuji, why would you say such things,” Arya said frowning at him, “You have a lot more to do, a lot of people to still help and cure. You know Jamna was asking me just the other day if you would look at her little girl. Seems like the English doctor has told her she has asthma. Jamna does not like those English medicines. We all don’t and you know that.”
“You are not sleeping well are you? Is your stomach bothering you again?”he asked, as if he had heard nothing about Jamna and her troubles. “Go to that Dr. Indra Prasad, let him examine you and give you some medicines. Tell him I suggested Nux Vomica.”
“If you think it is Nux Vomica, why don’t you give it to me. Why should I go to that quack? Do you know he works at the government hospital also, as a RMO? What if he ends up giving me some drug I know nothing about?”
“Arya, times have changed. He is well trained and he is intelligent. A good man. So what if he works at the hospital? He has a family you know and money as a Homoeopath can be scarce. He is young , a long way to go. And you know they don’t want me to practise anymore. I have had no training as such”.
“Phaa…what rubbish! Training as a Homoeopath. Did you not spend years training under Bhatnagar Babu? HE was the best if there was any? Even those ‘Phirangi’s’ (foreigners) came down to stay in Calcutta to train with him. So what if you don’t have any degrees to show off or any papers to validate your knowledge. Even a child in the streets of Calcutta knows you for what you are. Ask the sisters at Shanti Niketan. They have seen you perform miracles with the sick children. WE all trust you and that is your qualification”