About a year ago, I received a friend request on Facebook. Ever since the profile theft episode I am very cautious in accepting friend requests. The number of mutual friends is no more a criterion to accept requests. The profile pic suggested the person to be a female in 70s or 80s, their public posts that I could access were lively, meaningful and full of love for life. I was inspired.
Once again I went through the mutual friends list. There was one common friend who was her son with whom I haven’t had much interaction beyond appreciating his words and paintings. There was another common friend, a single woman who inspires me in a lot of ways through her volunteering work and her regular posts on daily lives. I love how she explains the trivial things in life and our day to day random experiences so very beautifully and in such depth. I didn’t think twice and accepted this old woman’s friend request.
A few days later I realized she was a very learned person who was a retired professor of history from a renowned college in India. History was never my favourite subject in school but ever since I started traveling I have a fondness for history. But she wasn’t sharing any pieces on history. She was sharing musings from her day to day life. I realized that she was in her late eighties and her husband was in his nineties. I love old people. They somehow make me feel like I am still in touch with my Muthachan (maternal grandfather). Slowly I started following her updates regularly. I started longing for them.
A little later, she along with her husband shifted to an old age home willfully because they were aware that they needed regular assistance with her husband’s health conditions. Her updates about their day to day life at that home made me respect her more. Never been in touch with someone so inspiring.
I have this habit of scrolling through FB news pages at night and read a few articles before I finally go to sleep. That’s my FB scroll time. On July 25th, I read her post about her sister’s demise and how she regrets that she couldn’t meet her one last time. My eyes welled up. And here we have people who fight for petty reasons and cut off all ties. On July 28th, as I was scrolling through the news feed with my eyes feeling heavy with sleep when I read it. A condolence message with a picture of this elderly woman.
I don’t know why but I haven’t known this kind of grief in a long long time. I still haven’t been able to get through it. I never met her. Never chatted with her except when Dad was in hospital. That time I was really paranoid because I love him more than anyone else. She comforted me with her words and made me come to terms with the reality of life. For this I will be thankful to her till eternity. May be unknowingly I was seeking comfort in her words and in knowing her. She had slowly become someone I held close to my heart. I know she is no longer with us, but I still keep going back to her page hoping to find a new lively update.
Strange are the ways of nature and strange are the ways in which you connect to a certain person in a virtual world. How can one be so very fond of someone you do not even know well? How can you not know of this fondness until you see the words RIP on their wall? Her sudden demise once again taught me how fragile our lives are. Her life will be an example I would love to live when I get old. No complaints. No regrets. Simply acceptance and gratefulness.
Much love to my virtual friend who now resides within my heart. Rest in peace Manju Maa. Yes. Maa is what I want to call her.
I am with Team #CrimsonRush for the #BarAThon from 1st to 7th August 2016.
This post if written for the prompt ‘fragile lives‘ for August 3, 2016.