Budhiya ka dimag kharab ho gaya hai, screamed Renu.
Budhiya is Boodhi Dadi; she celebrated her seventieth birthday last month. A stout lady with a potbelly, showering all her elderly love on Gulabo, her dear goat. Gulabo, the goat, is the purpose of her life. The love and care Boodhi Dadi has for Gulabo are way more than for Prem, her grandchild.
Boodhi Dadi’s husband died four years after their marriage. Their son Mukesh was only two years old then. It was during the time of the cholera outbreak. Many lost their lives in north India. They had enough land to take care of themselves.
Mukesh grew up as a handsome, well-built, and hot-headed individual. He ended up joining the army and returning home after retiring early. His days go in farming and gardening. He is in limited conversation with his mother. Other aunties in the village blame Renu, Mukesh’s wife for, the mother, son feud. The mukhiya of the house has turned into a tenant.
Boodhi Dadi followed a strict regimen of waking up at 5 am and taking gulabo out for a walk, feeding fresh grasses. She would devote the rest part to praying god and daily chorus. Should make half a dozen chappati for the day. It would later get mixed in hot milk with jaggery. That has been her diet for the last few decades. On some occasions, weddings, festivals, and poojas, she would eat anything else. During holidays kids and cousins would visit Boodhi Dadi from the mentors bringing sweets and sarees. I wish she would have shown the same love to Prem, her grandson.
Winter came early this year, and daadi broke her bones as she slipped from the chapakal(handpump). She was bedridden for a few months. In the last few weeks of her life: Daadi went on fast and repeated Hanuman Chalisa and Durga Saptasati. She has rejected taking medicines and died in pain. It was Gulabo next to her crying: meh meh meh when she took her last breath.
In an unprecedented turn of events roughly three weeks from mother’s death, Mukesh sold Gulabo to a butcher in the adjacent village.