THE DOWAGER AND THE SWANS

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THE DOWAGER AND THE SWANS
SHORT STORY

1

That was a shining part of life, the meeting with the dowager. This happened during my stay in the North. She was in her late forties, maybe fifty when I met her for the first time. A mature era in a lady’s life, when she can undoubtedly recognize the mix-up from reality. More metaphysical and more balanced. She investigated time and again, the methods of individuals and more than once their astute ranges of charms. In addition to it, maybe some honourable characteristics. If such a lady had fizzled in adoration at any rate once in her life, I would have been a pupil for quite a while. Presently the incredible wizard is in such a state of affairs. She is wise. Her stature – Five feet eight inches tall and had a medium composition and her nose was a conspicuous piece of her face and it’s anything but a definitive demeanour. Eye tone, dark. Her alluring gressorial advances took a slight gradient. As she moved up and down the steps the white hairs of costard locomoted. The white braids like snow in the Himalayas in February. Or then again one of those streams twisting and there will be a flood in specific years. She was beguiling with the dull bundles that had given her a credible and recognized look. She established a reputation that she didn’t endure craziness in a discussion. He despised all narcissists, yet her unwritten biography gives hints that she survived a few. She wasn’t dainty much as tall as her sibling, yet when they were together, beyond doubt, everybody realized they were siblings. She spoke delightful English and French. All things considered, she was in a French state since she once worked in Red Cross
developments and she preferred conflict stories and analyst fiction, fiction that portrayed disloyalty and elopement. Peruse Michael Madhusudan Dutt so anyone might hear her voice. She enjoyed music, not noisy music, but rather tunes, and is supposed to be in the organization of a social gathering that upheld great exercises and, once said, was head of a circle of bohemians and individuals like that and participated in late-night parties. Until a considerable lot of the photographs of those gatherings were distributed in the nearby paper which carried a terrible name to his family. At long last, her oldest little girl cautioned her that if she progressed forward in her direction, she [daughter] would return home for eternity. So she halted that way of life since she cherished her girl over a jug of bourbon. The little girl was a duplicate of her late spouse, who expounded on regal families in the north and some legendary stories. He kicked the bucket early on a tour in the mountains close to Darjeeling, from fever. The woman wore saris for the most part, in winter she masked them in pashmina shawls and wrapped some Kanchipuram routinely. Often, she presented them to family ladies or friends’ networks as a wedding blessing and made the young lady take snaps with her if expedient. The young ladies were obliged to auntie’s impulses and took it more as a favour than a pleasure. A few women were glad when they snapped the photo with her since it made them look more wonderful. Then, at that point, her face gave profound indications of development, pigmentation because of the medications she had taken, and it influenced her skin. In her childhood, her greatness was without a doubt twofold. My dad saw his companion toward the start of her significant other and they appeared to have participated in one of these walks in the battle for the opportunity and he disclosed to me that she was magnificent, even though my father was more enthusiastic for a docile character, who could make arbitrary penances for the family. Furthermore, he traced these characters in my mom and I figure he wasn’t quite right about that. Although she was family-minded my mother was intolerant to bad practice all through her profession, yet she could manage circumstances delicately and shun remarking on others conduct. then again, my mom didn’t have the foggiest idea about the writing and expressions of the human experience yet she was cautious about kitchen gossips and tattles also. My mom was just perusing materials outside austere books, which appeared to be daily newspapers, which she examined from the first page to the last one, when she had no more conspicuous activity. Just read the newspaper reclining in an easy chair [made of wooden backings, and in the centre was joined a thick cotton material, which upheld the spine – A long lay on this seat ought not to be fine for the spine]. Notwithstanding, she was not keen on keeping ornaments and was prepared to pledge them in the bank at whatever point my dad required cash. These transactions were very normal in our families.2

I arrived at the quarter in summer, after a few lengths from the town transport depot. Passing oxbow streets one saw the palace at a distance of two furlongs from the bus depot and I took an auto rickshaw and the driver directed me to the front snicket. On both sides stood pony show bureaus and stockpiles of shoes and warehouses. The old woman  in one of the shops with whom I had a casual talk revealed to me that the house isn’t far. Likewise, I adhered to her guidance. The driver took me to a specific spot. In those years, I had a propensity for eating sweets which possessed a flavour like orange. I stopped the vehicle and bought a packet of sweets and kept it in my pocket. The sweet was named ” Chikki” , a sweet made of groundnut and sugar in the basic stage. I purchased a parcel and kept it in the jeans pocket.

The lady got me pleasantly. Yet, before that, I needed to go through the investigation of her sibling, a resigned colonel from the Army. He was stout and smiled showing front teeth and carried a slight blotch on right cheek. When I arrived at the house, he was amidst a melodic conference, playing mouth organ, while his understudies, young men and young ladies in  mid-twenties were singing or playing  stringed instruments. A young lady kept playing Tambura. The resigned skipper snickered regularly telling wisecracks and I believed that he should be gone along with the kind of individual equipped for engaging such a few understudies. The students make the most of his quality which was obvious from their developments and signals. After our gathering and the underlying stay in the guest quarters, I was offered a room, more a mini hall than a room and it was outfitted part of the way with around a hundred books, English and French, for the widow had an association with the French language and it is supposed that her dad knew the researchers in the time by and by and even got a chance to work with her. He was a prominent empiric of his time and after his passing, his subject books were donated to a school. I didn’t see his assortments but the lady guaranteed that I will be shown these things in the course of time. Furthermore, the guest room I stayed in during the initial days was  over a little hillock and after the plain section, you need to make a windy trudge. The young fellow entrusted with my welfare and went about as a host was a vocalist who rendered canorous tunes in regional tongue and I dwelled on that countless gifted individuals are consigned to oblivion without  acclaim. They could have made a commitment to society as opposed to living a quiet [may be useful for them] and an unflustered social life. This is a borderline issue. The subject of usefulness. I hoped that the man could have exerted some more assay to foster his gifts, rather than quiet [may be useful for them]. The omelette of the sous chef was an incredible one.

3

Did the lady have some basic issues? Possibly, so. By all means, she was brave, still excessively self-assured to the edge of arrogance. She will pass the assessment on everything. She had extraordinary information on writing and workmanship and music and she was somewhat of a dabbler. She had an inner mind feeling that numerous researchers have that they are hopeless which viewpoint prompted at times contentions with the Colonel. The colonel then again had enormous information on life and individuals, not from books( he seldom read like a book except for a couple of magazines on vehicles and body wellness) stories had a consequent contention of what is legitimate in a circumstance. Although the colonel was n’t vociferous in his repartees, he didn’t win the contention. The dowager won by her words. But in life, it is not by words that we win… Winning by words is temporary. Life will take you a full round with the goal that all the proficient are tried by individuals as would be natural for them. As such. We need to swallow our own words. Over the long haul what the colonel advised ended up being true.

4

At the point when I arrived at the house to instruct the matron’s youngsters French and Romanian, I was not in a superior position. My insight into these languages was far from a great level and the latter language I learned only partially from my three months stay near the Carpathians as a part of my outing to Europe. My vacation there included a flick scheme. The film could not see the celluloid, yet my travel grew to such a level that I found my future spouse and that is another tale.

The dowager had two swans that she kept in her private pond. She took excessive care of the creatures. There was an assistant deputed, especially for this work. And his salary was at par with other workers. The other operators apprehended it as an affront as the custodian of the birds did not do any other industry other than nursing and taking charge of the swans. I also felt somewhat dismayed to behold this peculiar incongruity in the treatment amid the operators. I aspired to grasp it but on a couple of instants, when the issue of the swans attained forth, the dowager skirted a direct response and secreted her sensibilities in a smile. And that was the beginning of a fabulous time.

5

In the spring of the following year, I got a message from Sam, one of the dowager’s collaborators. He might have written to me twice or thrice. I don’t by and large recollect the occasions he composed. He touched upon a few issues connected with the lady’s  health, especially the condition of her heart. They thought of taking  her to an extended get-away to a Spanish retreat,  to stay away from the everyday hectic duties. But that didn’t come to pass. I went to see her and she told – “I am contemplating what will befall me later on. I hope that my time here is running short”. I said- “You’re O.K.- You will see numerous good seasons”. She said, ‘I don’t think so. Besides, my concern is, not that. What will happen when I go from here- ‘.   I assured, ‘No- Never- Nothing terrible could happen because you have been a nice lady’. She said, ‘I don’t think so’. She continued that she had kept a couple of journals that she scrawled over the years. She said – ‘I will hand it over to you for perusing’. I said that I try not to read other people’s private papers, though , I am not a saint. “Perhaps”, she said, “you can keep it after I depart. I have made courses of action for that. What’s more, never distribute it. I said-”No”. Also, she said – ”You take care of my swans’ ‘, she said and I made arrangements to shift the swans to a friend’s pool in that season. I said to my friend to take good care of them .

In that rainy season, she took her final gasp in a Darjeeling therapeutic clinic. It was a day of heavy downpour and thunderclouds. I reached the place only after two weeks of her demise. The properties of her were already settled according to her will among her two children and the assistants in the house. She had made some trusts for good causes. And I asked Sam about her diaries. and he was not aware of such a diary. Though I asked several people in the household about those diaries, nobody gave a sure reply. They were sometimes awestruck about my question. I took a bus to the nearest railway station and from there took a train to my native place. The swans. That is another tale.
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Published by azuremorn

Writer, traveler. Lives in India.

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