Her daughter-in-law asks, 'ma! Do you know who has come to meet you? do you remember me?'. She looks into the younger lady's eyes and face. It seemed like this lady would've been a beautiful young bride once upon a time. But she does not remember the lady. She does not remember all the years she tortured that lady. She does not remember the cruel treatment she met out to her in public, the amount of times she asked for money from that lady's parents, the length of time she prevented that lady from visiting her parents. She does not remember the recipient of her harsh words, the subject of her rants to neighbors, friends and relatives. She does not remember becoming senile. Cannot recollect excreting and urinating in her living room. Does not remember the lady who cleaned her stools and the lady who handled complaints about her senile and abnormal behavior from friends, neighbors and relatives. The lady in front of her was beautiful once. Now she is greying, wrinkled, sad and standing in front of her. She gives her a blank stare and says,
"no. I don't remember you"
That lady seems shocked to hear this. Now, its her son's turn to ask "do you at least remember me, ma?". A mother's memory is funny and very different from a mother-in-law's memory. She quickly says his name. In a short snapping tone full of contempt. But she does not remember why she is upset with him. Maybe it is something to do with her son's wife, that lady standing next to him, who still seems to be in shock. Shocked by her inability to recollect? But why? The binds are tight, painful and irritating. She suddenly does not care about the younger lady's shock. She does not know that if she weren't senile, her answer to that lady's question, as it had been many times in the past, would have exactly been the same. But now, she does not really remember the lady. Her son asks "do you remember some slokams ma". She stares at him. "Chant Sri Sthuthi ma, you do it everyday.". For the next 10 minutes, she chants the sloka without missing a word, pronouncing Sanskrit, a language she does not speak, to perfection. She occasionally glances at the lady whom she does not remember, while chanting a sloka, she does remember. She forgets, for a brief while, her condition, the hosiptal, her binds and her anger. She is not repeating from memory, she is reliving some memory. Did someone love her many years before, did she love anyone ever? Who cares about the past love of an 85 year old? After saying the last askhara of the sloka, she falls silent. Does not speak further. The couple leave a few minutes later. They seem sad.
A nurse, who walks in after a while says, " Children these days, they abandon their own mother after she becomes sick. Is there a god greater than a mother?". She nods and is, for some reason, happy to hear that.