27 comments

East Asian Sad

Hello! I am Suman Devi, but people usually call me Suman or Suman Nani (Grandmother Suman). Yes, I am 80 years old. My granddaughter asked me to write this dairy regularly, startling today, on my 80th birthday. I couldn't refuse to her, since it was the first thing she had ever asked me to do. 

Now, because I don't have much to write about daily things, I have decided that I will write about the days in my life I remember the most. So, I will start with my 80th birthday party, which happened yesterday.

I had been living in the 'Rose Old Age Home' for the past two decades. I have a daughter who died in a car crash, but until yesterday, I didn't know that I had a granddaughter too. The morning dawned nice and early, just as every day, here in Shimla. I woke up and got ready for breakfast. When I reached the dining hall, I saw Ramesh, a volunteer looking for me. 

Hurriedly, he came towards me and said, "Suman Nani, there is someone at the reception waiting for you. She says that she is your granddaughter. I haven't seen her before, so I asked her to wait and came straight here to confirm it from you."

"My granddaughter? I don't have a granddaughter. You do one thing. Ask her to come and meet me here. I am having my breakfast on my usual table."

"Okay Suman Nani."

With this, Ramesh left the dining hall and I moved towards my table with my breakfast. I was just about to eat my first bite when this girl, about 20 years old, comes and sits beside me. I wanted to ask her who she was but she at once said, "Pranam (I ask for your blessings), Suman Nani. I am Naina, your granddaughter. I know we haven't met before, so I brought these photos."

She took out some photos from her bag. I searched for my glasses and took a glance at them. I could see my daughter, with a little girl, all cuddled up. I had no idea that my late daughter and her husband had a daughter of their own. I looked up and was about to ask Naina a thousand questions when she herself spoke, "Nani, I have been living with my uncle, my father's first cousin, ever since the accident. I didn't know about you either up until a week ago. Then, I started searching for you and found your address here, in this old age home. I know that today is your birthday. As your only granddaughter, I ask you to get ready. I want to throw a party for you. I also want to give you a gift, so please be ready by 4 p.m. I have asked Ramesh to set up this dining hall by then. We will have a lot of fun."

"Oh, okay dear. I will get ready. But who will you call? I don't have many friends and I am sure none of your friends would like to come to my party. Besides, why are you throwing a party? I am too old for these things now."

"Nani, I have met you for the first time in my life. Don't think of this as your birthday party, think of this as a party for our reunion. Okay?"

"Fine."

I was so overpowered with the feeling of happiness that I at once forgot everything and did as Naina said. I went back to my room, searched for my best sari (a traditional Indian piece of clothing) and got ready.

Ramesh served me my lunch in the room only. He said he was under 'strict orders' from Naina not to let me out of the room until 4 p.m.

At first, I was feeling very happy and elated. Then, as time went by and the clock struck 3, I was horrified! What was I going to say to Naina? What gift was she talking about? What if she asks me about her parents and their accident?

The most terrifying question of all was the last one. I had received a mere letter from the police about my daughter and her husband's death. I knew very little about the accident and preferred not to think about it. 

I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I completely lost track of the time. It was 4:10 when Ramesh had to come in himself to remind me of the party. I got up and followed him.

With each step that I was taking, I felt my heart getting a bit heavier with all sorts of feelings - happiness, sorrow, grief, regret, nervousness and many more.

As I entered the dining hall, I was mesmerized. I could barely recognize it! There were banners, streamers, balloons and all those new and fancy party decorations that I had no idea about. The look on Naina's face was priceless. She was beaming with joy. Instantly, I was surrounded by my friends from the Home and the outside world too. I even recognized some of my relatives whom I hadn't met for ages. I was completely overwhelmed. 'How can a girl, who barely knows me, show up on my birthday, declare that she is my granddaughter and organize such a fancy party for me?' I counted my stars. I was so happy. 

It took me a while to meet and greet everyone present at the party. They had even brought me gifts, I was flattered! Finally, Naina addressed the gathering, "Hello everyone. I am glad to see that all of you turned up, even with such a short notice. I would like to say a few words before the cake cutting." Everyone stopped whatever they were doing and listened intently. Naina continued, "Until a week ago, I didn't know that I had a grandmother and until this morning, Nani didn't know that I was there. We both have met here, for the second time in our lives, the first time being a few hours ago."

There were roars of laughter from the hall. "I thought a lot about it and now I have finally made a decision. I have spent almost all my life without my parents and Nani has spent a great part of hers away from her family too. I have decided to take admission in the nearby college and move into this town. Nani, now here is the surprise for you. Are you ready?"

I was surely shocked, but I nodded. Naina revealed, "Nani, you are going to come and live with me. I am going to need all your time, your blessings and your love. I am not going to let you out of my sight even for a day. Pack your bags, Suman Nani, you are going to live with your Naina."

Everyone whooped. I was spellbound. I didn't know what to say. I froze in the chair where I was sitting. Naina stepped down from the stage and approached me. "So, Nani, what so you think of this? Would you like to stay with me?"

"Yes my dear. I would love to. Thank you for everything. I am having the best time of my life today."

"Well Nani, that time is just getting started."

With that the party ended. I saw the Sun setting up in the horizon. It was not the end of the day for me, it was a beginning of a new night, a new, beautiful night.

May 14, 2021 08:14

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27 comments

17:06 May 27, 2021

This story is so sweet! The characters, especially. I also love the cultural references here. A suggestion: I think this story could really benefit from a sequel. You know, just as a way to see how Suman and Naina adjust to such a sudden and happy change in their lives.

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Dhwani Jain
17:08 May 27, 2021

Thanks Yeah, I wanted to incorporate the Indian culture here. I will work upon the suggestion. I might write it, if I get a suitable prompt/idea...

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Dhwani Jain
18:14 May 30, 2021

Your wish might just come true....

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18:27 May 30, 2021

😁 can’t wait! Let me know if/when you write it!

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Dhwani Jain
07:11 May 31, 2021

It's out!!! Hope you like it. I wrote it just yesterday as I found one of the prompts related to Xenia was just about perfect. Please comment your reviews there.

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Dhwani Jain
13:45 May 31, 2021

What do you think about it Katie?

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Lilliane Wei
05:50 Dec 29, 2021

Like the second part (whoops), this story is so elegantly uncomplicated. There are no tangles in emotions or crazy things all over the place. It's just a young woman reunited with her grandmother, pure and simple. I think a lot of people (myself included hahaha...) need to realize that a good story doesn't need to be flashy or complex with thousands of main characters and action-packed sequences. Sometimes it's better to slow everything down and focus on the emotions at the core of everything. I think you did all of that extremely well!!!

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Dhwani Jain
06:02 Dec 29, 2021

Yeah, there is sometimes awesomeness in simplicity! ;) Not to toot my own horn!

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Lilliane Wei
06:48 Dec 29, 2021

Hehehehehe

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Dhwani Jain
10:54 Dec 29, 2021

:)

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Sia S
11:00 Jul 21, 2021

It's good! The starting felt a little bland (hope I don't come off rude) and it slowly built up, it was a shirt, sweet read, but I feel there was a lack of emotion a lil. She should have been a lil surprise with like BAM a new granddaughter. Sooo, yup. That's my critique.

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Dhwani Jain
11:33 Jul 21, 2021

Thanks! No way! I think your critique will help me further. Okay, yeah, I guess I should have added that. You're awesome and thank you for such an honest feedback, have been looking forward to it for, idk, DECADES (well, since I came here on Reedsy).

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Sia S
12:46 Jul 21, 2021

:) Aw :) Aww, if course :))

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Dhwani Jain
13:27 Jul 21, 2021

=D

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TJ Squared
14:44 May 23, 2021

it did feel a little alive, like your goal down there :) it was very sweet and interesting, as most of your work is ;) I like how it was kinda told as a diary, but kinda told just as is. That was a very interesting touch :)

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Dhwani Jain
15:32 May 23, 2021

Thanks. I really appreciate your effort of reading and replying on every single story/comment of mine. Really, I LOVE your dedication! Thanks for the lovely feedback. DJ

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TJ Squared
15:49 May 23, 2021

you're super duper welcome! I love to, tis a joy for me :)

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Dhwani Jain
07:32 May 18, 2021

Hello! I hope you like this story. I have written it in the best possible way and have tried my best to bring the characters to life. I would appreciate it if you would leave a review comment below and read my blog : www.djdhwanijain.wordpress.com Thank you for reading and enjoying my story!

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Keya M.
21:28 Jun 01, 2021

I really like this story! Super cute and sweet. One recommendation: Try and add more detail in some spots. It sounds a little rushed in a couple places. Besides that great job! I love the incorporation of Indian culture. Keep writing!

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Dhwani Jain
03:00 Jun 02, 2021

Thanks for the feedback. The second part of this story s out. Be sure to check it!

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Keya M.
16:01 Jun 02, 2021

Will do!

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H L McQuaid
20:22 May 19, 2021

Hi Dhwani, This is a sweet story, and I Iiked the interjections of Indian culture. It could be more engaging if you told the story in the present tense, from the Grandmother's point of view, as events unfold, rather than a retrospective account in a diary, which is more passive. You could also include more natural dialogue. As it's written, it's more expository than natural. But the premise and pace are good.

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Dhwani Jain
06:36 May 20, 2021

Hello Heather, Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I will work on the natural dialogues. Sure, the present tense would also be nice. Thanks for such a detailed feedback!

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Dhwani Jain
17:36 May 20, 2021

Hey Heather! I've tried my hand at a story without dialogues - Two Drops. Would appreciate if you read that too. Also, please suggest some of your stories to read.

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H L McQuaid
13:04 Jun 01, 2021

Hi Dhwani, I just saw this message now (i didn't show up as a notification, so I didn't know about it). I'll read the story you suggested. As for mine, it depends on what you like to read. You might like "The Lorelei" or even "The Early Bird".

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Dhwani Jain
13:15 Jun 01, 2021

Okay...will do that soon!

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Dhwani Jain
06:30 Jun 14, 2021

Please visit this link: https://awards.storymirror.com/program/d49d6375-75b6-482c-bb28-415e4f6e82e6/english/author/13djd0wt/poem and click on the CLAP button to help me win the title of AUTHOR OF THE WEEK.

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