“Bent maybe, but never broken”
I believe that is how I had described Mrs. Mukherjee when I visited her last time.
Because of her spinal cord weakness she cannot sit up straight. But she refuses to be dependent on others. She was filling up some bank forms by herself last time when I saw her, as I recollect. Yesterday, on my way to visit my nephews, I swung by her house for another visit.
“Chintey paarchhen?” (Do you recognize me).
“Mon-e thaakbey na keno baba? Bubun-er bondhu Rajib to.”. She had no difficulty remembering me.
She is in the threshold of being a nonagenarian. In fact, in a few months, she is going to hit 90. For that age, The picture here can be very deceptive. She looks and in fact, is, frail. But under that frailty lies an uncommonly determined lady. In the hour or so that I was with her, she talked about her late husband, her grandson, their family’s craze for soccer, her last trip to US and many other details of her life.
“Nijey nijey hnaat-tey paarchhen?”. Remembering my dad’s condition and her spinal cord, I asked her if she was able to walk around. She reaffirmed that she can walk if she needed to (like going to the restroom etc).
“Walker nichchhen?”. I asked if she was using the walker.
“Laathhi?” How about the walking stick?
I remember that streak of independence last time I saw her. She was determined to walk as long as she could without any help. And this is in spite of having fallen down a couple of times.
That will has not waned a bit. Hope to see her with that same unflinching will on the other side of 90 when I see her next.