Rama had not slept or eaten properly for past few days, a fact evident from her sunken eyes and colorless cheeks. She felt her own spirit fading away. Perhaps it was the doing of her age which would be ninety next week. But she had never felt so week and helpless before. Despite physical limitations, she had made sure that her voice was heard by the family members while taking all the important decisions that included how to deal with Corporation people, what all saamagri to buy for the annual Kaali Pooja, what jewelery to be gifted to the new bride of the distant relative. But of late, things had changed drastically. Vasudha, her elder daughter-in-law had seemed to undergone an unwelcome metamorphosis. Earlier, she had been her source of strength, giving all her attention and occasional scoldings in order to make sure that her medicines are administered properly and exercise routine followed religiously. But these days, she rarely visited her room. She wasn’t sure if it was the horrible smell of helplessness looming in the room that kept her off. They had shared a very unique relationship for the past forty years. Vasudha had come into the family against everyone’s wishes. There was a huge difference in their social and economic status. But she had stood by her son and his new bride, despite the resentment at their alliance. With time and strong efforts, Vasudha had won hearts and a special place in the jamidaar family. The saas-bahu pair was admired and respected by all who knew them. It had gone on like this for years until the stroke which got her bed-ridden a few months back. She craved for her bahu’s company. She really missed the long chats they had on evenings while having their tea. She made conscious efforts to lure Vasudha back into the familiar practice under the pretext of showing her wedding jewelery, sometimes even giving her a few of those precious pieces. But loneliness never left her. She felt betrayed by her own love for Vasudha, developed and grown deeper over the years. At the end it was this very feeling of betrayal that consumed her life.