A picture of misery

Author: crasiezt

My Nani (grandma) told me the following story when I was a kid. Dunno why it just remained in my heart...and then I wrote it in college for a class assignment. Not wanting to let it remain in those pages forever, I’ve published it on my blog! Read it…

An old woman is sitting on a bed. She is dressed in a white sari, brown with dirt. Her hair is a combination of black and white, and is so unkempt; it would be difficult to imagine she had ever combed it. Her eyes are sunken in their sockets and she has dark circles under them. Her face is devoid of happiness and laughter. All one can see is shriveled up skin, bathed in gloom and despair.

Her face is expressionless as she looks around her 8x8 dark windowless room. Her gaze rests on the iron trunk beside the door. She gets up with a great effort and walks towards it. Sighing softly she opens it and takes out a black and white picture of a young couple with a little child. She is holding the picture in her hand, kneeling in front of the trunk, when without warning the door of her room flies open. A little girl of about 3 walks in; she has a very cherubic face, full of life. The contrast between the two is glaringly obvious. Dressed in a pink frock with sequins she looks very adorable.

As the door opens, the woman’s attention is diverted from the picture. She hears a lot of noise coming from outside, of people laughing and talking, and loud music. The girl shuts the door and sits beside her, looking at her with love. She looks at the girl with a mixed expression of joy and trepidation. “You shouldn’t have come here Ritu. If Amar and Reena find out…” she says.

Don’t worry Dadi, mom and dad are busy partying. They won’t know. I just came to say goodnight. Oh! Goodnight then sweetheart says the old lady. Ritu kisses her grandma on the left cheek and leaves, shutting the door behind her. Sounds waft in momentarily on opening the door, and die down the minute it shuts.

For some time the woman sits in silence by her trunk, then she clutches her stomach tenderly and groans. She’s hungry; the anguish reflecting on her face. She rests her head against the wall, shuts her eyes and goes into a flashback…Amar is yelling at her. “So what if Reena scolded Ritu. She is our daughter. Why can’t you just mind your own business?” Another memory comes to mind, that of Reena reprimanding Ritu for sitting in her grandma’s lap…

With a start the woman comes back to the present world. She gets up with difficulty and opens the door. Slowly, very slowly she peers out, checking if anyone’s around. Making sure that the coast is clear she creeps out.

She goes to the kitchen and is looking around the room. It is huge, at least 5 times bigger than her room; has a high ceiling, a microwave on top of a cabinet, an OTG; the mixie rests on the kitchen counter beside the juicer. She seems disappointed and turns to go, when as if struck by a sudden thought she opens the door at the other end of the kitchen and walks out.

She is standing in the backyard, complete with several potted plants and a little pool. It would have been pitch dark, if the neighbours had not left the lights on. She takes a few steps uncertainly towards a huge pile of plates and forks. After ensuring that there is no one around, she sits down by the stack and starts eating whatever food is left in the plate hungrily.

Just as she is reaching for a plate a shadow falls on her. Startled she looks back and sees a very confused Ritu standing there. The woman is terrified. Without uttering a word, Ritu joins her grandma in eating, smiling serenely and looking at her with love.

“Ritu, where are you?” comes Amar’s voice. Before she can move her dad materializes in front of her. His eyes take in the scene and his face is filled with remorse and understanding…


96 Responses to “A picture of misery”

  1. Gonecase

    Lovely story, great write, very emotional, very melodramatic...infact tum logon ki HAPPENING bhasha mein AWESOME hai...You should have sent it to that Mirchi Movie contest....or Doordarshan, ek single episode serial ya documentary to ban hi jaati :D

  2. Vishu

    One word: Awesome !!!

  3. Prakhar

    Well written!

  4. --xh--

    sad but true... very well put... the image of granny and kid sitting adn scavenging the plates in a dark corenr of garden - it really makes a powerful statemnet and makes me cringe thinking abt teh way ppl treat their parents whn they become old...

  5. Steve Ballmer


  6. Keshi

    I cried. its so sad!! I cant u'stand such treatment. no, I can never do that to my loved-ones, even to a stranger!


  7. Anonymous

    Such things happen in real life..only the part at the end where the dad realized his mistake that does not happen much often...excellent story ma'am

  8. Solitaire

    It is a great story! I am sure it is a true story for many!

  9. Express

    Heyi, amazing write up... moved!

    Its sad, very sad indeed that such episodes and worse are prevalent. What i liked best was the end being positive, like thr is still some hope :-)

    Amazing use of language, and very realistic description of the lady or should the credits go 2 ur nani?

  10. gunj

    great story thr!!
    i cud almost see all those things happening infront of my eyes!

    n great pic to match d post!!


  11. geet

    crazy ...kya likha hai yaar. you have really put it so well that i can visualize all that.

    i have seen it happening in my neighborhood and believe me from than on i started hating society.i still do opposite to what society expects from me or whtever i wish to do.

    nirdayi log.

  12. Anonymous

    one of the best post i have ever read...I have seen this in real except she was deaf and almost blind in last days...world is so cruel...

  13. Akshay

    Narration is amazing...I can't help but wonder why your Nani told you this story....I mean generally we prefer to keep the harsh realities away from our kids...

  14. Tairebabs

    This was an amazing story but the sad part of it all is that for millions out there it is a reality.

  15. Passionate

    :) & :(

  16. Sutta

    Paapi duniya. :(

    Melodramatic but brilliantly written. :)

  17. Tairebabs

    on another note. YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED! More details on my blog.

  18. Ankur

    Its a very good story!!!!

    Y dont u write often??

  19. Phoenix

    Thank God for the end, the last two words could so easily have been anger and disgust.

  20. Anonymous

    thats nostalgic

  21. Nitu

    Harsh reality and innocent purity..
    Wonderful post.

  22. Crimson Feet

    this was truly touching and well, you really "painted" the image in all its detail!!...

    likhti toh tum bhi badhiya ho yaar... keeping very busy these or what? :)

    loved the idea of an almost "forced" positive end!...

  23. Friendly nextdoor guy



    what else to say?

  24. Express

    Hey, u ve been tagged ;-)

  25. rantravereflect

    :) sooo touchin woman..n i loved the way the scenes have been put together,, it was like watchin a dark, yet bright short -film.. n the nani, tys really sad for her.. it's not surprising that mothers in law are treated bad when mothers themselves are deserted!!

    ntat lil' kid in all its innocence, eatin with the grannny- it touched my tear-nerve.. stupendous stuff!!

  26. Cocaine

    Been readin your blog on n off nanu.... this ones' by far and large - phenomenal. Loved it :)

    Cheers n keep posting!

  27. BIG Omi

    i wish i could have said that is a great story.. but couldn't.. it isn't great to know the plight you served in th writeup..

    rather i will say " its a great writeup?"
    Do write what happens after that.


  28. Echo

    this one def brings out the writer in u!very well written as in u can actually visualize the whole story..n feel sorry for the old woman.
    n i felt kinda very proud after reading it..proud of of how much i care for my daadi..shes like my soul!n so proud of my parents for inculcating such love in me for my grandparents..
    thnkx for the realization gal!

  29. Keshi

    come take part in my current post hun :)


  30. Anonymous

    dropping in to say hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    with screaming effect like schoolgirls LOL

  31. Princess Mia

    sad but yeah am sure it happens a lot :(

    Good story crazy...

  32. Anonymous

    Hi.Dropped in here ( and I am glad that I did ) from Gunjan's space.Now pertaining to the post....

    Keeping all that psychological technicalities aside, I am sure that Baghbaan was somewhat on similar lines- though of lesser magnitude and ofcourse much later in time as compared to the story that your Dadiji narrated to you.I personally don't know if 'things' of this magnitude happen or not but ofcourse I have seen milder versions of the same in every household I ever interacted with.Beautifully penned down by you- as everyone has already done their bit of praising- I would still add to it.Good work.

  33. Anonymous

    Ohh..just forgot.Can you recall the ending talk in Baghbaan by Mr Bachchan ? The one in which he talks of Bagh and Baghbaan ? Well,it would have been good to have that video attached to this post of yours- though I do not know how good or creative ( or anticreative for that matter ) that would have been.

    Blogrolled you :) (hope you do not mind).

  34. Pranay

    It's so sad........and well written too...the happy ending was a bit of a consolation but then....

  35. Mansi Trivedi

    oh wow
    you write well
    and your granny is a great story teller :)
    love your blog!

  36. Bhai with Chai

    When you first heard it from your naniji, did you end up in tears?
    It's just so.. well, sad.
    Thanks for sharing it and that too in a very real, beautiful manner.

  37. Anonymous

    where art thou maa'm???

  38. Saurabh

    every writer when they make their first attempt to pen a story they keep the flow of it simple and in a conversationalist form, that's what your story depicts..

    As you write more the innocence goes away.. so don't let that go

  39. Shailesh Mishra

    Pretty neat write :)
    And a lovely picture (I am one who understands pictures better than words... some thing to do with my self diagnosed dyslexia)
    The post is pretty touching... As for the pic i'd like to know more how you shot it.

  40. Sutta

    Boss!! Kahan ho? :O

  41. Scribblers Inc

    there is no date OR time on your blog???

  42. Scribblers Inc

    there is no date OR time on your blog???

    Scribblers Inc.

  43. Anonymous

    I was awestruck looking at the picture. Has this been taken by you?

    Liked the story too. Have a good weekend.

  44. crasiezt

    Gonecase: Thank you thank you! Melodrama is my first name after all:D

    Mirchi Contest ki aukaat ni hai..that's for BIG people like you who inspire the rest of the world:P

  45. crasiezt

    Vishu: Welcome here Vishu:-)

    Thanks for the appreciation!

  46. crasiezt

    Prakhar: Thanks man!

    New to my page? Keep visiting:-)

  47. crasiezt

    Xh: Yeah it is a very pathetic situation..

    Thanks for liking the story though:-)

  48. crasiezt

    Steve: Thanks man!

    Welcome to my page:-)

  49. crasiezt

    Keshi: Awwww am sorry for that babe:-(

    This story is fictional, but it's happening in real life too..

  50. crasiezt

    Samby: Yeah man I know such stories don't have a rosy ending..but ye to fiction hai na:-)

    Thanks for liking it!

  51. crasiezt

    Solitaire: Thanks babe!

    Sadly, it is true for loads of people:-(

  52. crasiezt

    Express: Thanks girl!

    The ending had to be positive..I mean my Nani told me this when I was a kid!! She couldn't tell me something depressing after all!

    All the credits go to me:D

  53. crasiezt

    Gunj: Muah to you too! Thanks:-)

  54. crasiezt

    Geet: Haan yaar..this world is going to the dogs..


  55. crasiezt

    Anony: Shit! That's horrible..

    Am glad you liked this story:-)

  56. crasiezt

    Akshay: Thanks!

    I guess she wanted me to learn early..dunno man. But then the story does have a happy ending, so it's all good!

  57. crasiezt

    Tairebabs: I wrote it as a fictional piece..but yeah it does happen..a lot:-(

  58. crasiezt

    Passionate: Welcome to my space!

    Would you have liked it better if it had been just :) or :( ?
    Isn't a mix of both more realistic?

  59. crasiezt

    Sutta: Tune appreciate kiya..bas inna hi kaafi hai:P Some stories demand melodrama...

  60. crasiezt

    Tairebabs: Tagged eh? Will check it out sometime..thanks babe:-)

  61. crasiezt

    Ankur: Thanks:-)

    Coz am busy:P

  62. crasiezt

    Phoenix: Thank my nani for the end!!

    Keep visiting dude!

  63. crasiezt

    Ashu: Nostalgic 'cause I could remember what my nani told me..or coz you've seen/heard of stuff like this happening..

  64. crasiezt

    Nitu: Thank you:-)

  65. crasiezt

    Crimson feet: Of course main achha likhti hoon:P Thanks man..coming from you it really means a great deal!

    Yeah I've been super busy..my next post will explain why!

    The ending does seem forced..dunno if my nani made up that story or what..but that's pretty much how it ended..

  66. crasiezt

    Friendly: LOL! That will do actually..thanks:-)

  67. crasiezt

    Express: Ooops another tag!! Babe it'll have to wait for sometime..dunno when am gonna be able to do it..loads of them pending:-(

    But thanks for bestowing the honour on me:P

  68. crasiezt

    Rant: Thank you so much babe..you know I never could appreciate the story until a few years back when I understood it completely..

  69. crasiezt

    Cocaine: If you are who I think you are, then I have nothing to say to you.

    But if you're not, then thanks:-)

    Mind telling me who you are so it'll help me deicde if I wanna thank you for praising me or not:D

  70. crasiezt

    Omi: I didn't get what you were trying to say...

  71. crasiezt

    Echo: Thanks for all the appreciation!!

    Nice to know you're so close to your dadi. You've got good parents:-) Wish all them were like that...

  72. crasiezt

    Keshi: Am sure you would have written a million posts by now babe..next time I guess!

  73. crasiezt

    Samby: LOL school girl:P
    Hiiiiiiiiiiiii in the same spirit:D

  74. crasiezt

    Princess: Thanks babe!

  75. crasiezt

    Mishra: I'm glad you came too..the more the merrier:D
    Welcome welcome!

    When I was writing the story I was reminded of Baghban and other movies on similar lines..but then like you said, my nani narrated it to me before all those movies came into existence..so no plagiarism here:P

    Yupp it happens, and is happening all over the world. It's sick but true.

    Thanks for all the praise and for blogrolling me:-)

    Don't you think the picture does more justice to my story than the video would do?

  76. crasiezt

    Pranay: Thanks, but what "but then"???

  77. crasiezt

    Mansi: Hey thank you so much:-)
    And welcome to my page!

  78. crasiezt

    Bhai: I don't think I did, coz I was way too young to understand it..I was just happy that the end was happy..Of course a few years later it did strike me that it was awful:-(

    Thanks! Keep dropping by:-)

  79. crasiezt

    Samby: Yahin hoon yaar..been a lil busy that's all..

  80. crasiezt

    Saurabh: Thanks man! I hope my writing style stays the way it is..

  81. crasiezt

    Shailesh: After your comment on a previous post, I'm surprised to read a positive one from you! Thanks! Though to be honest I liked the other one better. Too bad you couldn't appreciate a different style of story telling...

    Picture..yeah it's real nice..picked it off the net:D

  82. crasiezt

    Sutta: Naya post daal diya hai hero:P

  83. crasiezt

    Scribblers: Of course yes there is

  84. crasiezt

    Kulpreet: Na na..found it on the net and kept it:-)


  85. Fighter Jet

    Even I was told this story...long time back..
    i even remeber reading a very similar one by Premchnad....

  86. Scribblers Inc

    dang...that sounded like the interval!!!:P

    Scribblers Inc.

  87. crasiezt

    Fighter: Really? Prem Chand? Maybe that's where my nani read it too!!

    Welcome aboard:-)

  88. crasiezt

    Scribblers: LOL!!

  89. Smoochy

    I agree with every1 that it's very well-written and touching and all that...
    but it's disgusting. It should have had a better ending. Either a not-so-subtle guilt trip for Amar, or a tree falling on his head!
    (I know such an ending would defeat the whole purpose of your piece, but at least wouldn't have left us with such a disappointed view of the world around us)

  90. nitin

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. nitin

    awesome ....speech less...!!!!

    mail me ur other stories...u seem to be intersting person ....looking forward to hear more from u.....

    Thanks to provide such a wonderful thing to read....

    mail me ur other unpublished material at nitinaggarwal84@gmail.com

  92. Maum

    Nice. You write well. The narration is intelligent.

  93. crasiezt

    Smoochy: I know a different ending would have been much better, but I was only recreating a story..and I didn't wanna make changes to it:-)

    Welcome to my blog by the way!!

  94. crasiezt

    Maum: Thanks man! Appreciate it!

    Keep visiting:-)

  95. S

    wonderfully penned... touched my heart...



  96. crasiezt

    S: That's sweet! Am glad the story could do that:-)

    Keep visiting!!

Leave a Reply