Tomorrow Never Comes

Ever so often, we put away something for tomorrow.  Our pursuits (and, reasons for procrastination) may be different but, the theme remains the same: ”I’ll do it another day”.  The truth is, for most of us, that tomorrow never comes.

Now, I’ve tried to live my life on the premise that I may not have more than a day to live.  I’ve tried to make the most of each day… every day.  But, work and life make their own demands.  And, it’s not always possible to complete each task before sunset, so to speak.

One of the tasks I’d delayed for a long time was to go and visit an old… acquaintance (for want of a better word). Many a times, over the last five years or so, I’d entertained the thought of paying her a visit.  I’d even tried to make a plan to do it… to fit it into my schedule.  But, something or the other came up, and the visit never happened.  Until today.

Her name is Mrs. Bhandavdekar.  And, her relationship with my family began more than 25 years ago, when my working parents first approached her to take care of me and my sister in the day time, while they were away at work.  We lived in a one-room apartment in Kurla, at the time.  And, she had two sons and two daughters of her own.  They were also not well-to-do, and could use the extra income.  So, she agreed.

It wasn’t called a creche, back then.  But, a daycare home, it was.  I don’t remember much of that time.  The years I spent there (in her home, each day) was between the ages of 2 and 5.  My little sister was one and a half years younger to me, and will remember even less.  But, for those 3-4 years, her house was as much of a home to me as my own house would ever be.

Subsequently, we moved from there to another suburb (Andheri).  The house was a bit larger and the locality, a bit better.  But, for most of my childhood years, I remember spending the day in other folks’ homes, until the evening, when mom or dad would come and fetch us, on their way back from work.

Today, when I look back on those years, I feel a connection with each such family… and every such home, I grew up in.  They came in all shapes and sizes.  Some families were Christian and some Maharashtrian.  Some families were nuclear, while others had large armies of children scurrying around all day.  Some were strictly vegetarian, while others introduced me to the world of meat!  In some, we spent just a few months while, in others, we spent years.

But, the one “caregiver” I longed to meet, once again, was Mrs. Bhandavdekar.  And, today, I did.

She had tears in her eyes when she saw me.  I’d gone with my mom and taken my wife and child along, too.  It had been 25 years.  The little child she’d once cared for had become a man. 

We spent a few hours in her house.  She fed us as much as she could – that’s the Indian way of showing you care for your guest!  She was grateful that, even after all these years, I’d remembered her.  I was grateful that I was able to bring some joy in an old woman’s life, by just showing up!  It was humbling.

If you’re keeping something for tomorrow, don’t.  You may live to regret it, some day.

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