The Google Avatar

By Asmita Javdekar in Stories
Updated 12:53 IST May 25, 2019

Views » 401 | 4 min read

Rekha was a curious 16 year old girl from a rusty little coastal town in the Prakasam district of Andra Pradesh.
She had been packed off to Mumbai by her parents to earn some extra bucks for the family before being married off a few years down the line.
For Rekha, Mumbai was her passport to the intriguing world of internet. She had attended the Girls Development and Skilling Camp in her school and had had the opportunity to witness the the power of Search engines. She had not been able to fathom how it could give any information needed, at a click. 

In MUMBAI, Rekha took up the job of a live in maid and care giver at Kenneth Carvalho's.
More than her monthly pay check, she was excited about having a phone and Wifi accessibility!!
Somewhere over this unseen network, Rekha and Baapamma's lives intersected.

Baapamma was easily 80 years old.
When Savio,her husband kicked the bucket a few months back, she drowned herself in Feni to drown her grief and had accidentally tripped and hit her head against the balustrade leaving her paralysed.
That is when Kenneth decided to move his grandmum to Mumbai, to his apartment.
Rekha was in charge of tending to this immobile, grumbling bruiser of an old lady.

Baapamma felt suffocated in the claustrophobic confines of Kenneth's dusty one bedroom apartment. 
Located in one of the narrow labyrinths of densely packed, dilapidated buildings in a swarming suburb of Mumbai, it was in stark contrast to Baapamma's charming white and yellow home in Quepem.
Her home had a balcõe (covered porche)lined with gnarled hibiscus bushes in a riot of colours, overlooking onto the street where Savio and she spent their evenings chatting with their neighbours or just enjoying the evening breeze. 

All Baapamma wished for was to bid farewell to her lifeless existence, snugly ensconced in her Quepem, her familiar little world of celebrations, sharing and being "susegad"(laid back)

Bapamma often rattled off in Konkani about her idyllic Goan life. The pervading smell of freshly baked Pao emanating from Ana her neighbor's home, her mouth watering, tangy signature dish;the Sukkil sungta kismuri – A dried shrimp chutney which would leave her friends in a tizzy. Pedro's wedding which became the talk of the town owing to its spiked Bibincas followed by a crazy bout of dancing on the most popular local song;Tamdi Matti. 

Baapamma's willingness to live was squishing out of her frail body with every passing breath but she wanted to quench her thirst for Quepem before her final departure.
She could neither die, nor live...

Rekha barely understood Konkani but she perceived something about Baapamma, way beyond what words could express.
She took it upon herself to fulfill Baapamma’s final wish.

Something about the next morning was wondrous.
Baapamma woke up to the familiar beats of Tambdi Matti. Aroma of freshly baked Pao filled her tiny space.
The taste of sukkil sungta kismuri sent a sizzle up her lifeless tongue and the Bibincas made her taste buds pirouette.

As memories of home blew soulful bubbles of life into her withered existence, Baapamma felt the moist sea breeze swathe her shrivelled body.
Her frail feet began to tap as she kept humming Tambdi Matti, this time to the accompaniment of happy tears streaming down her wrinkled cheeks. 
From loud rasping breaths to quiet intermittent breathing.
She closed her eyes.
She was in Quepem.
She was resting in Peace. 
For eternity.

In the opposite corner of the room,
Rekha was paying obeisance to a small mobile phone. 
Perhaps in this digital age, God had transcended beyond his usual appearances. He had chosen to descend in his Google avatar.

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Kalamwali 27-May-2019 21:56

This one brought tears to my eyes!

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