I was so lost in my thoughts when I heard my cousin squealing. Oh, I guess we finally reached the place. My cousins were in a holiday mood and inspite of the somber thoughts I had been going through I had to smile and laugh whenever felt appropriate. Our destination was “Thanal” an orphanage cum old age home. The place was huge with hundreds of residents. From 2 year old to 90 year old females, some of them mentally challenged, some of them bed ridden, some of them normal like the people around us. Those kids who have no idea what a parent means, those mothers whose kids left them coz taking care of an old mother is a huge burden for them. So many faces, so much pain… They say we don’t really miss what we haven’t experienced yet.  Smiling and talking with the kids there, I prayed it were true. It was while walking through the corridor along with my aunt, I heard a screaming. It was coming from the room we just passed by. We went to check on it and found an old woman lying in a bed. The volunteer told it was she who was screaming.  She was bedridden and when I went near her bed, the volunteer told me not to go near her since she has strange mood swings and there’s a high chance she might hurt me. I was unable to ignore the grief  that was etched on her face so I sat near her. As soon as I sat there,  she suddenly clasped my hand and started kissing my hand all the while crying. I was so shocked and emotionally charged I didn’t know what to do. I just sat there holding her hand and after a few minutes, a volunteer came and forced that mother to let go of my hand. But she wouldn’t hear her, and finally she told her, ‘this is not your daughter, let go of her hand ‘ hearing that she stared at me for a long time and finally asked ‘you are not my daughter?’ The tears were threatening to fall from my eyes. I kissed her hand and smiled at her with tears in my eyes. She let go of my hand and closed her eyes saying she doesn’t want to see me going. I forced my legs to walk out of there. We were about to head back to our car when I saw the last old woman who was looking at me and smiling. I went to her and found out she was a teacher, her son left her here. I hugged her without thinking what I was doing and whispered in her ears to hang on. Looking at her tears, I promised myself silently I will come back here. My cousins were laughing at me for being so sentimental and crying like a baby. But I didn’t care. I had only one thought in my mind. I will come back again when I can. And I will do whatever I can to help them out. Repeating that promise to myself, I walked out of there… I will be back…

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