A series of jolts that life served Parulbala, she lost all hope. But Vrindavan changed her perspective
Life is uncertain, that is true. It is a mix of smooth highways and bumpy roads, that is well known. But it will give you a series of ‘strokes-after-strokes’, that is not something one is always prepared for. And that is what Kolkata’s Parulbala Ghosh had to face unfortunately.
Parulbala was 16-year-old when she was married to a 20-year-old man. Her husband worked in a factory. The income was not much but sufficient for the couple to row their merry life. They were having a beautiful time of their life.
In the course of time, Parulbala gave birth to three children – two boys and a girl. The couple raised their children with a lot of care and warm love. It was a happy family of five. When the children grew up, they married them off in time, as pompously as they could.
But as they say, life is not all about ups. It has its fair share of downs. And downs come over unannounced – when you least expect them, in the way you can least anticipate. That is also what happened with Parulbala.
One morning, her husband suffered a stroke which he could not survive. And so a full stop was put to the life of Parulbala’s husband. An all-time smiling Parulbala went quiet, as though somebody sucked all happiness out of her life. The white of widowhood took all colours away from her. She started living a tasteless, monotonous life.
But that was not it. Life showed no mercy to Parulbala. Her younger son was ailing with diabetes for some time by then. The disease ate him up and one more member of the family left them forever. Sorrow clouded over Parulbala and her family, again.
But that was not the end of Parulbala’s troubles. Before she and her family could cope up with the loss of the younger son, Parulbala’s elder son also suffered a stroke and died. It was like a tsunami of bad days flooded the family. One of the greatest pain of a mother is to see her children’s dead body. Parulbala had to go through it, not once but twice. As if the sorrow of widowhood was not enough, that life took her sons away from her, one after the other.
Parulbala had tough time accepting her widowhood, and to top that, her daughters-in-law were also in white now.
“God has his own ways to test us. And sometimes the tests are tougher than we could have ever imagined, especially when the life were as smooth as they were for us. I was going through the same phase. Each time I thought that it could not get any tougher, any harder – there came up another tragedy, another misery. I started feeling that my life is made out of tragedies only and I am destined to suffer only,” recalled Parulbala.
“Each time I saw my daughters-in-law’s faces and their white outfits, it made me ache. I started questioning myself whether I am such a bad person that God took away my husband and my children away from me.”
Parulbala says that after these jolts that life gave her, she had become a lifeless person – more like a robot – who was just moving, functioning but had lost all sense of feelings, emotions and attachments. Even when her two brothers died after the death of her husband and the two sons, she took it as a normal phenomenon. She had accepted that life is all sadness and sorrows. No joy, no peace.
After suffering her share of pain, Parulbala a year ago came to Vrindavan. She had heard that this place has something about it that turns lives back to normal – or at least offers peace. So she started living in Sharda Ashram here. She would roam the streets of Vrindavan and sing bhajans in Lord Krishna and Radha Rani’s temples.
She realised that what she had heard about this holy land was true. The aura, the environment, the people and the devotional bhajans of Lord Krishna and Radha Rani – all give peace even to the most disrupted lives.
They say better late than never. Yes, normalcy took its time to return to Parulbala’s life but it did find its way back. Vrindavan helped it recover. Parulbala now lives in a Sulabh International Social Service Organisation assisted widows-ashram. She says that ‘Lal Baba’ (alias of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak – founder of Sulabh organisation) takes care of everything, and she and her fellow-widows just concentrate on chanting the name of the Lord.
After all, “everything will be left behind, and only your true devotion will take you throught the tunnel to the light,” she said.
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