Silicon Loya Sakshiga-18


-Telugu Original by Dr K.Geeta

-English Translation by V.Vijaya Kumar

Surya left Nidhi at summer school and went to the office in the morning.

The sunlight is as bright as a thousand electric lights outside. As it is a July morning, it is warm and pleasant. 

There seems to be a difference in the sunlight between here and in India.  To me, the sun rays here have a great radiance, inclined rather than straight, either because the pollution is nowhere in the air, or because it is closer to the north equator. I suddenly remembered Alicia’s bright face.

I phoned Alicia to come to our home. 

“You know. I do not have a car,” she said from that side.

“Oops!  Alicia, I will come and pick you up”  I said.

As soon as she stepped in, she exclaimed, “Wow, How beautiful is your house!”

I showed her the reclining chair stretching it back to resume and went inside to bring coffee. 

“Priya! You haven’t changed a bit all these six years! She said holding my hand, “Every time I come to you, I remember my mother.” 

“It’s a kind of heavenly pleasure, I enjoy being here as a friend of yours, and I long for it forever,” she said, closing her eyes.

“You can come and stay with me whenever you want,” I said.

“Why don’t you show me a job at your home, say like your house cleaner, or at least like a babysitter to your children?”

I laughed and said, “Why do you long for a job at this age? That too, you’re my friend, how do I allow you then to work for me?” 

“At least then show me something somewhere! I already told you what work I could do, I know my English is very limited. And this age, that age has no meaning in America. At any time, one should make both ends meet by themselves,” She laughed.

 Meanwhile, my phone rang.” I’m out of your garage. Will you open the door?”  It’s Jeena.

Jeena is our house cleaner. She comes twice a month and makes the house shine like a mirror.

Jeena is like a beautiful British lady in gorgeous white and clean clothes. She looks like a forbidden Princess of Spanish descent and unfortunately came down here! 

Hola, cómo estás? ” She greeted me and Alicia.

They two quickly spoke fluently in Spanish.

“When I saw the Mexican at your home, I thought I would lose my job at your house. But I was relieved when she said she was your babysitter,” said Jeena laughing.

I looked at Alicia dubiously and when I was about to say “She’s to me …” Alicia smiled and said, “Well, we both have  been acquainted for a long period” and when Jeena went upstairs she smiled and said,” She doesn’t believe me if I said I was your friend, so I said you’re your babysitter.” I think this girl is South American. Although of Spanish descent, there are no Native Indian similarities to her, she spoke excellent Spanish”

“She’s not a girl, She’s fifty years old,” I said. 

She widened her eyes in surprise and said, “Wow! How healthy and beautiful she is! I expected her to not be over thirty-five. I’m in my fifties, like a baby elephant.”  

“About me?” Jeena said laughing, coming down from upstairs. 

“Yes.” Alicia laughed too.  

Alicia said, “You look educated, why are such house cleaning things?  

“You know pretty well! I went only to high school. Can you expect in this country that we can afford a college education after that? Moreover, I was already pregnant by that time.

” Wow! then, You’re a Teenage Mom!” Alicia interrupted.

 “Yes,” she nodded, sighing, “four children, one after another, and three marriages, I’m tired of life”  She continued, “The responsibilities of the children were shared equally by their fathers. Now the children have grown up. I have been left alone since last year.  At the age of fifty, I work for a living in a dozen houses as a house cleaner. I won’t feel lonesome then.” 

I looked into her eyes and said, “Oh, Jeena, I’m sorry, I never asked about you.” 

She said, “It’s okay” laughing at me.

Alicia intervened saying, “You’re lucky to work in Priya’s house, She looks after you securely if any trouble comes to you”

“So, I’ve been cleaning ever since they bought the house,” she said.

“I came here to this country with my husband and three of our small children, another was born here.  Needless to say, no one went beyond high school, No… No… no chance of going for graduation.  And here they are, settled in various petty jobs like us. Hand-to-mouth lives. Only the better thing is that my husband is living with me. We both live together so we help each other and I feel secure facing any issue” 

“Don’t be so frustrated with this critical lifestyle, I’m living contentedly with what I have, but it’s important for people like us to have a happy day every day,” said Jeena.

 “Not for people like you, not for people like us. The same is important for everyone.  How happy we have spent this day is important,” I added.

 “I never take any issue to heart, I always try to stay happy and elated. I’ll help others as much as I can, “said Jeena.

Alicia smiled and said,” You’re another Priya then!”

“The culture here is more annoying than the economic status. Our children have grown up here. They get used to the conditions here and the culture of this country. The elder son went about his life without a little bit of concern for his mother and father. The elder daughter after taking divorce led her life with two children. The youngest became a mother of two children even before her marriage. The fathers of the two are different. None of them stood with her. As a single Mom, She suffers from a lot of troubles. The younger left the house recently with his new job and newly wedded girl.” Alicia sighed. 

“There are similarities between your country and ours in this regard. You think like the average woman in our country, Alicia” I said.

” I don’t know any other country. Before long, my Mom and Dad came to California. This is where my nine older sisters and brothers were born. I’m a girl from this country, but my Mom did not think like you and spoiled her health. Our mother and father are almost eighty years old.  Both are in good health. We grew up in this culture and lived our lives but we didn’t leave our mother and father in their old age. I, our sisters and brothers all keep them in our houses periodically”

Priya!  Is it the same in your country?

As I was about to answer, She began to say,” I thought You’re an original Spanish woman. All of your customs seem our Native American Indian,” 

She looked delighted and continued,  “But I’m not worried about simply taking care of my parents or not. America is said to be a very prosperous country. But people like us with low income are hardly living. The word future children are ridiculous. If I’m right, all the children who came here are settled in petty jobs like working in shopping malls, restaurants, and mostly as house cleaners and babysitters. Very few are in good jobs, one or two in crores. As we have no chance to afford good higher education, our children would also not have one. We have come to this country to offer a better future for our children. Nope! All those hopes have been dashed. All of our earnings are extracted in the form of rent. Besides, children are readying a separate family set up at college age. They are keener at family life rather than growing in the life, of course, they have limited opportunities too” Alicia said.  

“We have everything in our country, but higher education is not as high priced as in this country. So many will get higher education. As in the case of us, they could go abroad. In our society to settle down in life and find a partner when you’ve not got a job is not appreciated”

“True, this is a spoiled society, a wretched one, and the sparks in its outward appearance are absent in its core,” said Alicia.

Jeena suddenly began to speak, “I don’t like to speak about my country in such a way! But let me say one thing. You and your children are now part and parcel of the community here, and I hope you will never go back to your country, no matter how difficult it may be.  So you have no choice but to accept this society or peace of mind” she rose suddenly up. 

The morning rays spread in the hall now falling in the lounge splitting through the branches of trees. The light seems to continuously draw exquisite light and shade pictures playing hide and seek through the shady leaves on the floor. 

Hugging Alicia, I said with Jeena, “Alicia is not our babysitter, she’s my best friend.”

“Six years ago, no matter where I looked, everything was dark and gloomy in my life. At that time, like the girl next door, Priya came into my life and occupied the highest place. All my worries will go away if I tell them to her. We both are “Amigas para Siempre” and she laughed quietly.

“You mean, “friends for life!” said Jeena excitedly, looking at both of us with the admiration she said, won’t you join me with you?


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