am all she has, he now went
on with difficulty. She is growing old and
is not at all well. The sannyasin turned his large,
glowing eyes back to Madhav, but remained silent.
see, sir, Madhav said, even
though she is not dependent upon me financially, her emotional
dependence is very deep. What can one do?
He asked the
question in a flat tone, not seeking an answer, for the answer was
obvious. One could do nothing; one was trapped. He felt within
himself the anguished cry, the futile beating of clipped wings
belonging to some once powerful being meant to fly forever upward.
Yet at the same time that anguish created and intensified another
anguish the anguish of his mother, the pain of all creatures old and
is a very wonderful woman, he said.
the sannyasin replied.
owe everything to her. She took care of me when I was a child. Now
she is old.
And before you
were born, the sannyasin asked, there was no one to care for
her? Or is it that God has relegated the job to you? No doubt He is
depending on you. Well, it is, of course, very noble to serve
another, to devote one's life to satisfying the emotional needs of
others. God need not enter into that arrangement at all. Very good.
May He, however, bless you both.
The sarcasm of
these words was not lost on Madhav. He blushed and looked down at
his hands, which he found were twisting with a life of their own. He
forced them to come to rest.