Life is just a celebration indeed. We always are on a look out for an occasion to make our life more liveable, something to look forward. Life is all about living together and cherishing this togetherness ever and forever. We meet so many in our lifetime and some of them etch a place in your heart. Such are the memories of Radha. My Aai (mother) had hired Radha since she was roughly 12-13 years of age. Radha's father wanted her to work in our house so that she is under constant supervision of my Aai. A father always wants the best for his daughter as he is unable to provide her good schooling, living but the best he can do is provide her an opportunity to learn good things working amongst good families. For me and my brother Radha was just Radha-our friend! She was a family member to us. The first thing after we came back from school was to look for Radha-chat with her. She used to keep our shoes back in the shoe-rack, bags back in the cupboard, our uniforms and socks for washing. She did this all so dutifully and we loved her to an extent that in the evening we always wanted her to stay back with us. Sometimes she would and sometimes not - depending on my Aai's permission. The next day morning sharp at 7.00 am there used to be a knock on the door and there she used to be smiling and ready to regain her duties. She used walk with us till the gate or bid bye to us from the balcony till the sight of us disappeared. She was a family to us, a friend and someone to confide in.
Today it's nagapanchmi, the first festival on the commencement of Shravan according to the Marathi Calendar. As per my knowledge this is the festival for women and it's celebrated by playing swings and local games like Phugdi, Pinga and sing some songs. Fun and Magic are in the air and it's so enjoyable. Newly married females visit their premarital households to celebrate this festival. Today I am far away from my home but did the 'Naga-pooja' by drawing two Naga's with the kumkum and prayed. Just like it happened in our childhood. A day before to Nagapanchmi my Aai would get Mehndi, bangles for me and Radha. Radha used to get a pair of earrings and extra money which I never got. In the evening we both used to draw some weird designs (tattoo) with the mehndi which looked beautiful after donning the color on the next day. We never had school holidays on this day but if it was Saturday/Sunday she would take me to the fields in the morning and if it were weekdays we left to play after the school hours.After the pooja, Radha used to take me to the fields near her chawl where huge Banayan and Mango trees were a delight to watch. Everything so green and fresh with the winds blowing. The swings were tied to the strong branches of these trees and all the girls played it turn by turn by singing some songs. Radha and I played the swing a lot. I was her responsibility so she treated me with great concern and affection. She used to request her friends to give me a chance out of turn. Her friends used to agree to do so and this would bring a smile on my face and the sense of pride about Radha that everybody listens to her. She is too good! We played Phugdi where the partner's hands are held in a cross and the two of them just twirl clock-wise/anti clockwise. The day used to be great fun and I never wanted to go back home. The fun and freshness this brought to the soul was splendid.
Radha stayed with us for 6-7 years. Whenever she was ill or didn't turn up for work, I used to go to her house on my cycle to see her. Sometimes she used to come with me. I used to assist her to get the wheat flour, vegetables on my cycle. She used to assist me to the swimming pool and always asking me to dive or jump from height when she saw other girls doing it. She used to sit besides the poolside watching me. I used to cut the vegetables under her supervision. She taught me to make Jowar Bhakri's which she had learnt from my Aai....:) I have immense memories of Radha. She had joined us to our Go trip...this was her first outing ever. She was thrilled and we were happy that she's gonna be with us. Such are the endless memories of Radha, still so fresh and vivid.
Radha is no more amongst us. The news came as a shock and it was very saddening for us. She was born on Hanuman Jayanti (on the day lord Hanuman was born). Well on every Nagapanchmi and Hanuman jayanti, I remember her with her fond memories. Today outside my window I see huge green trees, gardens and it's Nagapanchmi today but those days are gone and precisely you are gone. Wherever you are Radha, you must be busy giving happiness to everyone around you. May God Bless Your Soul....You'll Always Live In Our Memories. These memories that I have written is a dedication to you....Miss You!