Sunday, April 12, 2009


Philoo & Grace finally decided to leave their parents house. Grace elder sister of Philoo thought that it would be better to live alone rather than to live on the mercy of their brother & sister in law Margaret. Philoo & Grace were brought up in a middle class educated Catholic family of Goa. After their parents death Philoo & Grace had lot of conflicts with their sister in law Margaret for petty things. As both the sisters were highly qualified they migrated to Bombay in 1975 for a good job. Grace took a small house on rent in Dadar & both the sisters started living together. Grace suggested Philoo ....that she should remain at home & do the house hold work & Grace her self will do a job . Philoo smilingly agreed to it. For months both lived happily , Grace used to go for work & Philoo used to do the house hold task. However after some months Philoo realized that Grace had started dominating her like a boss but she kept her self cool thinking that may be because of work load Grace is behaving so. Philoo at times suggested her elder sister for wedding but Grace said that first they should have enough money & than she will first get Philoo marry & than she will tie a knot.

Like a blink of an eye two years passed but Grace never thought of marriage. Philoo through out the day used to remain at home & she used to feel very lonely as she did not have any relatives . in Bombay . On one day Philoo bought a Parrot & brought to her home. The Parrot used to speak. As Philoo had lot of love for birds she bought a pair of love birds . As Grace had no objection , Philoo got a Hen too. By now Philoo's house has turned into a mini zoo ,she had Parrot , Love birds & a Hen . Who ever goes to Philoo's house the Hen used to fly & sit on Philoo's shoulder but the bitter part was that Grace did not realize that Philoo was feeling very alone .One day Philoo decided to take up a part time job but Grace did not allow her & asked her to do only the house hold work.

Finally after 5 years there was a blossom of Love in Grace's life. Grace was now 38 & Philoo was 34 . Grace fall in love with her colleague Peter. Peter was 40 & he was working with Grace for last 6 months. Peter had lost his parents . Peter used to visit Grace daily & than in the evening they used to go for outing . Sometimes Peter had dinner with Grace in her home & Philoo used to enjoy cooking for Peter . Philoo was very delighted with Grace & Peter's relationship . On one May Sunday they even exchanged the rings. Grace was very happy , both of them started looking for a house so that they can enjoy their married life in that new house. Every thing was going perfectly fine in Grace's life but one day Peter asked Grace to lend some money as he needed urgently for some work . Thinking that he is her would be she gave him a huge sum of money which she has earned in 5 years of time in Bombay.After taking the money from Grace , Peter did not go to office for few days . Grace started feeling lonely , She contacted Mack , who was a neighbour of Peter . Mack said that Peter had gone to Dubai for a new job. Grace believed in her love & thought that after getting a good job he will take her to Dubai . However Peter did not contacted Grace for one whole year. In this long period Grace did not concentrated on her work much , she remained upset . When ever Philoo used to ask Grace about Peter she used to give some excuses but did not tell her that he has taken money from her.

Eventually the day came when Grace had to face the reality of life ...her dream house broke like anything when she heard from Mack that Peter is now well settled with his wife Marry in Dubai. Grace broke from within , she had not only lost her love & trust but money too .Grace became very pessimistic .For even small things she used to scold Philloo very badly at times she even used throw things. Philoo became frightened of Grace , she stopped discussing her problems & her daily activities with Grace . Instead she started talking with birds , " Oh my dear Parrot your life is much better than me at least there is some body who looks after you . You have at least friends but I have no body around me ". Both the sisters started looking very gloomy & aged. Grace used to come to home in evening had her dinner & used to go to sleep . She did not even bother to ask Philoo how was she ? , does she need anything ? . In this way few moths passed . Philoo because of stress was not able to sleep properly in night . Some times she had to take sleeping medicines. One night Philoo heard somebody knocking at the door . She got up from her bed & look at the clock , it was 4.00 am . She was surprised , she heard the knocking sound thrice . Philoo slowly slowly got up from her bed , she was very frightened but still she opened the door & peeped out but to her shock there was no one outside . Philoo shut the door & went to Grace , she pulled her hand & tried to wake her . Grace woke up & asked what was wrong with Philoo , why she was disturbing her in night . Philoo with fear said that she heard somebody knocking at the door. Grace without giving much importance to Philoo said that she must be dreaming & she again went to sleep. Philoo was sweating because she believed on her ears. She did not sleep that night . Te next morning when Grace was getting ready for her office , Philoo requested Grace to be with her that day because she was feeling very afraid but Grace refused her & said that she should go to sleep. Philo remained all alone at home she did her house hold work as usual . In the evening Grace came home she had her dinner & again went to sleep . Philoo too went to sleep because she had not slept for last two nights.

Philoo was sleeping but around 4.00 am she heard somebody knocking on her window . As soon as she heard the knocking sound Philoo hairs stand on their end, she was trembling with fear. Philoo covered her face tightly as if she wanted to hide herself. For few minutes she remained like this but than she realized that somebody was pulling her blanket & Philoo screamed ' who is there , who is there ' . Grace said " Philoo have you gone mad , you will die you have covered your face so tightly with this blanket & how will you breathe in ". Philoo calmed her self , she removed the blanket from her face & with fear said , " that she heard somebody knocking on the window , so she covered her face " . Philoo's room window used to open on the main street. Grace on hearing this became more angry, she said that you have become Psychic , there is no one .Come with me I will take you to the window .No sooner Philoo heard that she was becoming Psychic , Philoo cried loudly , she said that , " Yes I am becoming Psychic & all because of you . You have caged me , Margaret was better than you . You do not want to marry & you do not allow me too " . On hearing this Grace too screamed , " She said you do not know men are frauds they play with women's emotions & if she still wants to marry she can go ahead but she will also find a person like Peter who will deceive her ". When Philoo heard that Peter was a fraud , she calmed down & politely asked Grace about Peter. Grace with her hand on her fore head said that Peter took away all the cash from her & got settled in Dubai with his wife . Philoo without asking anything further hugged her sister & said that Peter was a fraud but all men are not like him but Grace did agree to it & said that Peter was the first & the last man in her life.

Philoo thought that with time Grace's wounds will heal & she never fought with Grace for money but Grace became frustrated , she had started smoking & drinking . Grace used to behave rudely with every one & especially with children , she did not like children playing outside her house . One day she took away a bat of a boy & did not return him for a month . The boy used to request for the bat every day .Grace was now 44 & Philoo was 40 . At the age of 44 Grace looked like 55 year old woman . Throughout the day Grace used to grumble , people at her office tried to avoid Grace .Philoo was not aware of the fact that Grace had not paid the house rents since very very long time , Philoo too had become very reserved & mostly she used to remain in her own world. Unfortunately one day Philoo's parrot died & because of this Philoo became very upset . She stopped cooking , bathing , cleaning house & even combing her hair . Throughout the day Philoo sat in a corner with a parrot's cage , looking at her Grace became more angry . She started coming late in night .Philoo for a many days did not eat . On one afternoon Philoo opened her house door & as usual sat on a wooden chair with the Parrot's cage on her laps . That day Philoo fall sleep & taking the advantage of the situation , a neighbour's servant entered her house & thought to take away a Parker pen which was kept on Philoo's reading table . This Parker pen was gifted to Philoo by her father . The servant was about to run with the pen but the Philoo's Love birds started chirping very loudly & Philoo woke up. She saw the servant in her house . Philoo shouted loudly & as a result of which her neighbours gathered & the servant was unable to run . All the neighbours slapped the servant & asked him to give her pen back . The servant cried & said that do not beat me more I do want to take this pen but actually I was asked by the owner of Philoo's house to harass Philoo & Grace when ever he gets the opportunity. The owner had given me 200 Rs for that. She told me that for last two years Philoo & Grace had not paid the house rent & after reminding several times , Grace is not paying the house rent . So the land lord wants to vacant the house from Grace & Philoo.

When Philoo heard this her head bent down with shame , she had never thought that Grace had not paid the house rent. Philoo with her head bent down asked all the neighbours to leave the servant alone. Philoo went inside her house , she closed the door tightly & stood behind the doors. She than cried loudly & cried till her eyes completely dried . Philoo remembered her past & those days when she used to live proudly in a grand house of her father. Suddenly Philoo heard a voice from within , saying that it is better to die instead of living a life on others mercy . She thought that she will not depend upon Grace . Philoo washed her face , looked in the mirror . She saw her self in the black coat & with her Master's degree in her hand . Philloo had done Masters in Science & so she thought that it will be good if she takes up tuitions of 8th to 10th Standard students. Philoo that day did not cooked food for the two , when Grace came to home in the evening , she asked Philoo for the food but Philoo said that forget about food & first tell me why have you not paid the house rent . Grace said it is none of your business to ask me , I will pay it & you do not have to bother about it. Philoo in reply said that ok . I have decided to work & I will pay my share of the house rent . Grace said you will not going to work , Philoo replied I have not asked for your advice or permission. Both the sisters had a big argument that day & the conclusion of the argument was that none of them will interfere in each others work.

Philoo from next day started working on her mission , she made many hand pamphlets & distributed in the her building & also in adjoining buildings. She even did mouth publicity . For 15 days she did day & night effort in getting students. During this period she went out of her house , dressed properly , met new people & even made some friends. Philoo started feeling better , now she did not get time to remember her dead Parrot & even did not bother to look at other birds. She was also managing the house too . Fortunately her toil did not go in vain , Philoo got two students of class 8th for science coaching after a month.Philoo was very delighted , her joy knew no bounds.She wanted to share her success with Grace but she did not because of Grace's rude behaviour .The two students used to vist Philoo's house in the afternoon time on every alternate day . They liked Philoo's way of teaching & also admired her nature.Philoo too enjoyed the company of her students & started forgetting her past. Grace was neither happy nor sad with Philoo's work because she realized that Philoo was managing the house efficiently although she is teaching her students.Like this 6 months passed , Philoo every month used to give her share in the house rent & she even opened a small saving account of her own in Punjab National Bank.However Grace was like before in her attitude & behaviour but had become very weak. Grace was smoking minimum three cigarettes in a day.Philoo was not aware that Grace had started smoking . She thought because of frustrations Grace is losing her health.

It was a rainy day & because of the heavy rains Grace took a leave from her office & preferred to stay at home . That day for the first time Grace asked Philoo to relax & Grace on her own cooked the food for both. To Philoo's surprise , Grace even cleaned the house & the biggest thing was she asked Philoo about her students & how she was doing with them . Grace even enjoyed watching children playing football in the rains. Philoo was amazed because Grace hated children & she never liked children playing outside her house. Grace also told Philoo that in this vacation she will take Philoo to Goa . On hearing this Philoo hugged grace tightly because from the day Philoo had come to Bombay she had not gone back to Goa & in fact she had not gone to any where out of Bombay. Philoo looking at the drastic changes in Grace thanked God & said , " Oh ! Jesus please keep Grace always smiling. Since Philoo's student were about to come for the tuitions , Philoo went to dress properly & Grace went in her own room for an afternoon nap. Philoo's students came & as usual she thought them for 2 hours. When the students left for the day , Philoo got up & went inside the kitchen to prepare tea . She than took a cup of tea for Grace & asked her to have tea but Grace did not replied . Than Philoo, " Grace please have your tea it is getting cold ". Grace did to replied . Finally Philoo kept the cup on the side table & pulled Grace's blanket from her face , Philoo screamed loudly as she saw Grace eyes were open & they were looking upwards. Grace body was cold, without wasting any time she called one of her neighbours.Mr. Patil looking at Philoo said that you should call you relatives as soon as possible because Grace is no more. On hearing this Philoo turned pale , she never thought of this moment in her life , although Grace & Philoo argue but Grace was the only person in Philoo's life.

Philoo did not had telephone in her house , she called her brother in Goa from a neighbours house & told about the tragic end of Grace . Philoo's brother on hearing this said that for him Grace & Philoo are dead from the day when they left Goa & he shut down the phone. Philoo broke completely , she was unable to think for a while & did not believe that her brother Victor can say so. Philoo than thought to contact Jennifer ( Grace's colleague ) . Jennifer too did not give much importance to Philoo she said that , she will inform in the office about sudden Grace's death. Philoo was left all alone , She than called up in the Church & after an hour the church people came . Accept for few building people there was no one present during the crimination of Grace. Philoo came back to home , she was totally blank because every thing happen all of sudden . For days Philoo went without food , she was missing Grace. At times she felt that Grace has come back & some times she felt that Grace was arguing with her. Philoo stopped teaching , her students used to come but she used to send them back , after a month they stopped coming on their own .Philoo got a letter from Grace's office . Since Grace had worked for several years in the office after her death Philoo started getting Grace's pension . She used to get around 400 Rs per month as pension . Philoo now remained at home she felt very very isolated in the world . She did not had money & what ever she has earned got over in 3 months. Through out the day she cried & went without food . As a result of which Philoo's eyesight became weak. She became very thin & as she was very tall because of loss weight she appeared like a skeleton . Her eyes had sunk , her cheek bones came out , her hairs became sparse . Within a year Philoo looked more than 60 years. Actually her brother , Victor's words broke her more than Grace's death. For Philoo life was burden . In the night she did not on the light but just lit few candles & used to sit all alone with that. Since she was not eating properly she developed some brain problems . Philoo had hallucinations. She started imaging her self as a married pregnant woman. Philoo behaved like a pregnant woman & she asked people to give her food to eat . She at times put a pillow on her stomach & ask people to take her to hospital for the delivery . Day by day Philoo's mental heath was deteriorating . She used to ask neighbours for a glass of milk , an egg etc & when people used to refuse her , she became angry & used to curse them.

Philoo's plight was horrible. I was 15 & my parents bought a flat in the building where Philoo used to stay . When I saw Philoo for the first time my hairs stand on their end. She was looking like a ghost . In the morning when I was going to school I always used to see her standing in the common passage of the floor & I used to run away from her. For hours Philoo kept standing for no reason in the common passage of the building , every new visitor in the building was shocked to see Philoo . Philoo looked horrible. Her position was worsening every day , she started smoking bidi . Building watchmen were complaining about Philoo, that she was asking them for a bidi . If the watchman refuses Philoo for a bidi than Philoo starts grumbling. All the people in the building were tired with Philoo but they still allowed her to live in the building. The owner of the Philoo's house had shifted to USA & because of some legal formalities, she was unable to vacant the house from Philoo until Philoo dies.

One day when I was coming from the school , I met Philoo in the way . She called me with non verbal gestures . I was very afraid because all my friends in the building told me that Philoo is a mad woman & she beats children but I slowly went towards her & she caught my hand. I shouted but she kept one toffee on my hand & asked what is your name ? . I said Moksha. Philoo ok...................bye. From that day I did not got afraid of Philoo & she met me every day . As days passed I asked other people about Philoo's life but people did not tell me much about her because for them Philoo was a mad woman & discussing about a mad woman was sheer wastage of time for them but this made me more curious to know more about Philoo . Unfortunately I was not able to know more about Philoo because like her sister Grace , Philoo was also found dead & the missionary people did her crimination . When Philoo was dead her house owner vacant the house . She cleaned the house & threw all the papers & Philoo's things . In the heap of papers I found a dairy . I took that dairy with the permission of the house owner. Without telling to my parents I took that dairy to my home & opened that dairy . The diary was Grace's personal diary . In a very beautiful hand writing she has written about her life & her relations with Philoo & what I have written above is what I understood after reading her personal diary . In the last page of the diary Grace had written that ' God punish us with any anything but not with loneliness as LONELINESS IS THE BITTER ENEMY OF MAN .