His father was visiting them after a long time.He decided to call upon all his siblings-older brother and younger sister over ,along with their families for the weekend.He wanted the whole family to be together so that they can cherish the quality time with his ageing father who had decided to devote his life to the senior citizens hence he was willingly staying there (despite all the kids wanting him to stay with them)but he would often pay a visit to all his three children …

His wife was little reluctant as she felt that she would not have any respite over the weekend..considering that she is a working woman…who has a tough 9-8corporate job….

All the winter goodies were ticked on the menu…food was prepared as per his father’s desi taste buds…kids were asked to not create any fuss and demand their usual pizza n pasta feast….

Everything seemed to flow smoothly as planned…
After the lunch was winded off…they all decided to sit out under the warm arbour of winter sun…in their garden..

A tray full of moongfali,gajjak,Gud and revadi was already arranged in one corner…….
They all sat down to satiate their desire to have a hearty conversation with each other….this was a rare occasion when all the family members were together…

His father had gone very frail….he looked the shadow of his former self…yet he demonstrated a very positive attitude with his soaring spirits…

“Beta….the food was really nice..reminded me of Rawalpindi …the good old days..how we used to relish saag,roti,gud,shalgam ka khattameetha sabzi with home made gobhi gajar ka achar……..thank you beta….only one thing is missing…..”his father said lovingly looking at his daughter in law…..
She barely smiled….,she knew how hard she had to work her way out to organise such an elaborate lunch….
She looked confused when she heard him saying that something was missing……
“Papa….tell us…we will arrange it”his son was quick to barge in….knowing well that she might not…..

“Adrak and saunf wali chai….,that will be the grand finale of this sumptuous lunch organised by bahu….”he said with a hint of an authority..with a sense of pride……

She got up reluctantly…….
“Sure dad….in a moment…”she forced a smile…
His older brother’s wife n his sister-both the ladies also followed her to the kitchen…..
All the three ladies were chit chatting…while the water was put on the stove to simmer …the crushed ginger and other spices were brewing well….filling the kitchen with a divine aroma……

She opened her crockery shelf….carefully pulled out an old box…it had the most exquisite tea set…that was passed on to her by her great Nani….it actually had the real gold work done on the saucers..n the rim of the cups….the beauty of this tea set was unparalleled ….

She arranged the tray with élan…
Then……she picked up one cup and saucer…replaced it with a very ordinary long and cheap glass…the ones you typically find on road side tea stalls….
It looked like an eye sore…perhaps this glass didn’t belong there…it stood like a sore thumb in that tray….

Both the ladies were left confused…..but they refrained from asking…didn’t want to ruin the seemingly perfect afternoon…

She poured the tea in the cups….
Everyone seemed to be appreciating those exclusive cups n saucers….nobody paid any heed to the unimaginable aroma of freshly crushed spices n herbs gushing out of the steaming kettle

His father was desperately waiting for his bahu to offer him the cup…as he was the one who asked for the tea…..

She picked up the ordinary glass ,poured in the tea..n handed him the same.

Suddenly the flavour of the pleasant evening turned bitter….
Everyone noticed that….
His father noticed that too…..but he just smiled gracefully…n placed his hand over her head….almost like a gesture of blessing her…

She looked at him n smiled back…

It seemed like a mysterious conversation sans words between the two…

His daughter couldn’t bear the hurtful n insulting action of her bhabi…so she offered her own cup to the old father……
But he refused…n settled with the cheap glass n started to sip his tea….
His eyes were moist….he looked away…
Now his son just couldn’t hold back his anger anymore….
He snapped at his wife….
“Are these cups so precious that you are reluctant to give one to my father….fearing that he might break it….am sorry you just demonstrated a very low stooping attitude….you work hard to organise this lunch..this family get together but one …just one action of yours took away all the sweetness….the real flavour…I.e the flavour of love n care is missing from your endeavour my dear…..am sorry the whole thing seems so bland n tasteless now…you are impossible…”
He felt bad doing this to his wife but the pride of his ageing father was also precious to him..

She didn’t react..she just smiled….n lowered her head….looking at her toes…

His father intervened ……
“Stop,,,please do NOT utter a single word against my daughter in law…”
She …looked at him n gestured him with her eyes to keep quiet….
Everyone sipped the tea just for the sake of finishing it….nobody spoke….After some time…the old man said that he wanted to sleep for a while…n he headed towards the guest room..
They all got up but she asked them to sit for 5….she wanted to talk…
“Well…you all are quick to judge me…I wonder how could you not see what I see …how could you simp,y ignore how frail your father has become…did u pay any attention to his trembling hands …how could you not see how self conscious he gets while holding a glass plate or even the toys of children….he has started avoiding certain things because I could sense that he is losing his self confidence….
I do not weigh materialistic things like that damn tea set with emotions….for me comfort of an ageing father is far more important …n paramount ……had I given him the heavy cup n saucer ,he wouldn’t have cherished his chai…he would have been all the time worried about his trembling hands n shaky saucers…….you all could notice that I gave him tea in an ordinary glass but you didn’t see that I had my tea in the similar glass…just to make him feel comfortable………he understands….I could see it in his eyes…sometimes we don’t need to say things….we need to just do the right action….I may not be very expressive with my words while expressing love n care…but I do it with my actions…n nothing else matters to me…not even what you think….I shall do my duties with sincerity  and clean conscience …and yes….please be vigilant with ageing parents…like we do with our kids…observe every minute changes in their behaviour……if we do not address them it might lead to bigger worries.” she concluded…

She left everyone speechless……….ashamed…embarrassed….and introspective..

Right outside the room…..near the door..stood the ageing father….who had just heard the whole conversation…….

His eyes were moist….his legs were shaky….emotions had almost choked him.

His daughter in law had already exchanged the language of loving care while passing on the so called cheap ordinary glass to him…..they had exchanged a moment-a moment of acknowledgment ..a moment of silent understanding….a moment of love….a moment of…saying-everything will be alright…….
They both had smiled…she had succeeded in conveying……n he had acknowledged with grace.

He murmured to himself….”love is all about doing things…expressing them in your own sweet ways….some people use words…some show by actions….both are fine…as long as they flow in sync with each other….in harmony…
He felt like a very proud father….all his children cared for him….some by not liking the fact that he was given tea in a different cup…n someone by actually serving him tea in her grail of love……priceless-both the emotions……

He realised his hands were shaky again…but this time it was not due to any weight he was holding in his frail hands……it was the weight of love that his hands were loaded with.-

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