The old radio in the ‘junk room’ was testimony to the years gone by. It has a close association with my childhood. I convinced my wife against disposing of it, merely telling her that it held sentimental value for me.
When my surrogate family bought a new radio with enhanced bandwidth, they discarded this old one. I found a companion in it — it was always willing to talk and unlike people, was free of mood swings. Although its primary role was to talk, it also swallowed up all the secrets that I kept in its wooden cabinet. In a few years, it got so filled with my secrets that it went mute.
No one suspected that the little money I had or my not-so-very impressive report card lay safely in its cabinet. ‘Her’ photograph too lay there. It was only recently that I took it out of hiding.
That evening, my phone rang.
A stranger began cross-checking certain references and after being convinced that he had called the right place, he broke the news of ‘her’ demise. “It was her last wish that you should perform the last rites to help her seek salvation but we couldn’t trace you.” The colour drained from my face.
I was three years old when I saw her for the last time. She had promised to come back, but didn’t. The wait that began then has ended now, on a sad note, contrary to the happy occasion I had always imagined it to be.
My heart and mind were at war and questions and counter-arguments began to hammer within. A wave of the loneliness of the last four decades swept over me in a matter of minutes. The news affected me more than I had expected it to.
The hands that must have rocked the cradle were gone forever. It was time to leave behind the secrets of the past, so I took out her photograph and put it inside a frame. The cabinet, too, just like my soul, was at last free of the burden of its last secret.