The Solitary Bubble
I rose up into the world,
And smiled at the beauty around,
When I looked into myself,
I fell in love with ‘ME ‘.
Round, fine and glowing,
I gently floated along,
Enclosing a rainbow in my bosom,
How breathtaking was ‘I ‘.
The small ones around so silly,
I gazed down at them in pity,
How lowly and ugly are you,
And ‘I’ so very pretty.
‘MOVE AWAY ‘ I cried in alarm,
When they floated too near,
Eager to imbibe my greatness,
I swam away in fear.
They embraced me tightly,
Until we all became one,
The next moment a ‘ burst’ was heard,
And I dissolved into ONENESS forever.
LOVE IS DIVINE
He came bent with folded hands,
Oh Doctor, do help me,
In deep trouble did I land,
I will pay more than your fee!
It’s my dear little wife,
She is so tired and weak,
The love of my life,
It’s her health that I seek.
He took my hand in his,
And implored with tear laden eyes,
It is she for whom I live,
‘Heal her please’ he sighs.
‘Bring her in’, I say,
‘I will try my best.
Give her your care,
Let God do the rest.’
He brought her in her arms,
She old, wrinkled and small,
Had lost one eye and ear,
But a shy smile shone bright.
So deeply touched was I,
At this wondrous sight of love,
Love is not in waves of passion,
It’s in the divine recesses of the soul.
He was cute and naughty,
Played pranks a plenty,
Gelled with friends heartily,
Enjoyed life immensely.
Stealing the potted butter,
He shared it happily,
Smiled away the rebukes,
And fought with faith bravely.
Live life like me,
Do help those in need,
Love, play and live,
And be naughty too.
Laugh away your worries,
As you flow along life,
Savour , enrich and share ,
the butter of wisdom gained!
The Saga Ends
It was nearing the end of the year. Winter had set in. The land around was turning dry. Leaves were wilting.The garden needed regular watering. I told Prem, my driver to do this. He soon got tired of it..
I would be leaving shortly for a month long training at my home town. I hoped he would water the garden regularly. But given his temperament and lazy nature, I nursed some doubts within…
A month passed off and another without me able to visit that house again.
I was trying to move away from that town. Numerous problems were playing havoc and I needed a respite. That meant I would have to hand over my beloved quarter and leave the place once and for all.
My heart felt heavy but it was inevitable. I had to make repeated visits to and fro to Shillong and ultimately my wishes were fulfilled. I had finally got a transfer.
I completed all the formalities and ultimately handed over the papers of my quarter to the Superintendent of the hospital. I had lost my most prized possession.
I consoled myself with what I had come with and what will I carry back with me sayings.
The packers and movers were scheduled to come the next day to pack and carry off the Spartan belongings I had.
It was early February. I would not get to see the Jackfruits this time. They appeared in late April. But it was all right. I had spent some of the best moments of my life there. I would be eternally grateful for that.😔😔.
I said goodbye to my colleagues and friends, thanked my staff and all and made my way back home. I wanted to have a last look at my quarter before I left.
I climbed my way up the stairs when I gasped in surprise. Three trees towered high up….loaded with loads and loads of little jackfruits. I could not believe my eyes. The season was still a good two months away. Not a single tree among the hundreds by the roadside had flowered and here were they, hanging in couples, waving joyously.
‘ For you…you wanted to see us….we are here for you.’
My eyes fell wet. I went to each of them, thanking them. My amazement knew no end. Even the other two who bore only a handfuland that too on the top, were loaded from near the ground.
‘Leave joyously. Your time in here is over.’
I heard within me. There was not much breeze then but somehow the fruits seemed to be moving and waving in the breeze.
I came back to the front yard on my way back down. The trees in here stood stoically straight and unwavering. I locked the gate and started descending the steps when I heard, ‘ Good she is leaving. Does not even water us. Leaves us to die.’
I came to a halt and turned back. So true they were. Their leaves had dried up. Prem had not kept his word. Some managed while others wilted.
‘May you get a proper resident this time around who stays here and takes care of you all. I can only bless you if that is of help.’
I said and turned back.
The North east states get rain fall almost round the year. I seldom remember my home state Maharashtra and think how tough life is for farmers there. The charred earth gapes open, the Sun blows fire and farmers toil hard in this land with their sweat and blood. Here the perennial rain does that. How blessed are the farmers here.
Even vegetables and fruits grow in the jungles and have to be just plucked and sold…
Yes, I had neglected the trees and blessings could never really take the place of food, isn’t it?
Unfortunately no one applied for that quarter after I left. I hoped someone did so and prayed regularly for it. Then nature intervened. It rained heavily through out the year. Trees became lively again. When I visited it after a year, grass as long as two feet had grown all over. It seemed like a dense forest.
‘ Do not go up. There are huge snakes in there. ‘😟😟
Somebody yelled at me as I was about to climb up.
‘Your trees miss you. No more fruits this year.’ The neighbouring friend yelled from her window.
I kept quiet.
They needed rest, to rejuvenate too..🙂🙂
How time flies off…Days turned into weeks and months to a year and it was the Jackfruit season again. The last year fruits had gathered a lot of accolades. I had a request list ready for this year again. But I was wary this time…
There were two other trees too but I was an unkind stepmother to them. They were at the farthest end of the backyard on uneven hilly terrain. Besides, because of being on the higher end, torrential rains had decamped with substantial crust of the earth, making the thick roots
jet out on the surface. Balancing myself on them was a feat. I loved myself too much to risk having broken bones. Besides, they were huge trees who did not need care. Grownups, whether trees or human beings, don’t need all that love or affection like kids…Or do they??
Probably it only seems so… Many times tough exteriors hide a soft, vulnerable spirit yearning for love and care…When this is deprived, resentment, anger, hatred, depression and diseases follow….
Is it because of the rampant landscaping…around ? Landscaping of land, of children and their spirits too…everything to be done in a particular way so that it looks beautiful…….but when beauty does not uplift the spirit.. is it worthwhile?🤔🤔🤔🤔
An uplifted spirit which has found its roots sustains itself.
The roots sucked out whatever needed from the depths of the earth. They bore only a handful of fruits and those too remained beyond reach ….dangling menacingly from the top of the trees.
‘ Be kind enough not to fall on me or my children’s head.’ I seldom told them silently.
I hoped, this time their fruits would be accessible for distribution.
I spend sometime admiring my favourite tree everyday. Little bees flew in perhaps drinking the white sap.. the valleys spread as far as eyes could see. It was like a beautiful green gown adorned with white fluffy clouds and sparkling ribbons of streams… As I sat on my chair admiring the beauty around, doing absolutely nothing, the universe flowed through me…water, air, earth and the ether..
I took all of this in everyday but it never had occurred to me how deeply was I a part of them all. Housed in a body made out of things taken from the earth, daily sustaining it by its produce, and drinking off its springs, I still thought of myself as different, unique from the universe around….when all the time it was within me.😇🙂.
My trees flowered late as compared to others in the town. Probably they prepared themselves better… late April would they start flowering and fruits would be ready by June end lasting up to July..
I patiently watched them grow. I clicked photographs at regular intervals.
One such day as I stood near the tree, ‘ Take some more pictures of me.’
I almost heard it clearly.
‘But I have already taken many.’ I thought to myself.
I can take home at least a few fruits once they reach their potential. I will not take all, of course. I was thinking as I stood there.
‘This time my fruits are not for you.’ I heard loud and clear within me.
My imagination is running too much amok these days, I thought as I dismissed what I heard. It was as if the tree will decide who eats its fruits.
It was as if it will go about distributing it’s produce. I went back inside my house in disgust.
In a couple of weeks time, the fruits had grown almost to their full extent. I was thinking about starting the harvesting.
The next day, the driver Prem came running to the Out Patient Department of the hospital.
‘ Madam, all is lost. Your quarter gates have been broken into.’ He said with deep anguish.
Alarmed, I told the patients to wait and ran to my house.
The gate lock was lying on the stairs below. I ran to the front gate of the house. The lock was intact.
I turned to the driver.
“Only this front gate lock has been broken open! I thought the house..’
He interrupted me,
‘The Jackfruit tree!’ He said, pointing towards the backyard.
I ran towards it.
There it stood quietly, devoid of every single fruit….literally stripped of all it had….
“Such nice fruits Madam. How I wished I could take atleast five of them.”
Prem held his head low as he said this.
‘They must have brought a big vehicle. How else can they carry more than sixty of them, each weighing more than ten kgs each?” He said.
” It is all right.” I said.
I wanted to add, “Let’s respect the wishes of the tree.”
Of course I did not say that. I did not like the risk of losing my mind, in his eyes.
As I made my way back to the hospital, the truth of ‘ DANE DANE MEIN LIKHA HAI KHANE WALA KA NAAM’ ( Hindi) reverberated in my mind.
It meant that ‘ON EVERY MORSEL OF FOOD IS WRITTEN THE NAME OF THE ONE IT IS MEANT FOR.’
Who does this writing? 🤔🤔🤔Is it God or the tree itself?
Heaps of fragment mangoes lay open on either side of the road, ready to be sold to the next customer.Some seemed to be separated too young from their mothers, others were ripe and full and some lay old, wrinkled and a little black. If the latter were not retrieved at the earliest for delighting some human being, they would perish.
Did that possibility make them sad? Can’t say for sure. Do they really have a weakness for us as we have for them? Again can’t say for sure….
I had a beautiful hill top quarter a few years back. Thirty steps lead to it in a gradual incline. The lower part of the hill was covered with varied flower plants on all the sides. Some I knew by their names and some I did not. I did not even feel the need to google and find out.They were wild and lent a certain untamed touch to the hill which I loved. I delighted in the wilderness and uncertainty of the forest. Isn’t life not like that too, surprising and untamed? We know not what lies in the next bend round the corner. But we carry onwards with faith and hope.
The top of the hill had a small plateau like structure which housed my quarter. The rocky garden out had trees of many types. The Bouganvillea shrub rose taller than 20 feet, spread it’s branches far and wide and formed a huge crown of purple flowers on the roof of the house. Between its branches grew intertwined two huge berry trees which borefruit perennially. In Summer, the ground became laden with brown berries and purple jamuns and purple Bouganvillea flowers and they all smelled like Jackfruit together. It’s overpowering, ripened smell spread everywhere and did not give a chance to the others to assert themselves. So they all smelled like one.
I loved the three Jackfruit trees in the premises, especially the one near the kitchen window in the backyard. I watched it quietly every day as it lost all leaves and turned into a skeleton, then small light green leaves sprouted out and then as the leaves became bright and shone, flowers sprang forth. A small thunderstorm raged every night and I watched the fallen flowers in dismay. This meant lesser fruits. This tree had the best fruit of all. Each grew up to ten to twelve kilogram, mostly crowding towards the lower part of the trunk. Watching them grow steadily filled me with pleasure. This one for Mother in law, that for my neighbour, that for my friend etc…..I earmarked them all for someone. I wonder retrospectively, now if they ever felt antagonized by my marking them as such.
Why does this remind me of child marraige?🤔🤔
The fruits grew big and ripe and were all plucked and sent packing to the persons designated.
The season of it was nearing an end too. The tree stood stoically depleted of its last fruit….I know not why it looked dissatisfied. Probably a figment of my imagination. I brushed aside the thought. I had always felt a certain connection with plant life right from childhood….as if they reached out to me…as if I was somehow an extension of them……just being in their vicinity put the scales back to where they were supposed to be within me…
Is there a reason why Saints and Sadhus head towards the hills and the mountains for delving within themselves? Is it only because of the comparitive quietitude that the forests afford? Or is there more than what meets the eye?🤔🤔🤔🤔.
Coming back to the present, I brushed off the unpleasant thoughts. It
was it’s destiny, isn’t it? To be consumed by humans far and wide so that it’s seeds could be sprinkled for little similar plants to grow. I was after all aiding its life processes, I thought smugly.
I could not visit my quarter for a few days after that. I did not dwell regularly in it for I stayed in a joint family elsewhere in the town.
That day when I climbed up the stairs to it, I was overpowered by the fragrant smell again. How could it be?I ran towards the tree. Two huge Jackfruits lay on the soil, crushed open by the fall from the top of the tree perhaps. On it lay, sucking the sweet juice, hundreds of butterflies. Butterflies so breath takingly beautiful that I almost gasped. Light yellow and brown, purple and black, orange and golden, reddish and black. A huge celebration was on with little birds and fruit flys joining in. Birds chirped loudly sitting on the branches….the kinds I had never seen before. I stood silently absorbing the gaity around. It remains etched in my memory, as if it was only yesterday….
Mother Nature cares and bears fruits for everyone. We are just one set of her children. How easily we forget this….
She had been pulled reluctantly into a circle. The circle consisted of
closed knit family members sitting on the floor and staring intently in the middle. An old lady sat on one side, her face covered with the end of her saree. She seemed old and frail. All eyes alternated between her face and the ground in the middle of the circle.
Tanu felt very uncomfortable. She just wanted to leave the place. She was about to stand up when her mother in law looked at her with eyes full of disapproval.
“Once in here, no one can leave.”
The old lady said softly.
She then turned her veiled face towards the mother in law.
” Who is she?”. She asked.
” My daughter in law. The bride of my second son. She does not believe in such things as these. What do you make out of her?” She said.
There was a sudden silence.
The veiled lady turned slowly towards Tanu. Tanu baulked as the lady studied her minutely, her face still hidden.
Some moments of tensed silence ensued.
The lady seemed to break into a smile..
” She is just afraid of all this. She is good.” She said, with a sudden fondness in her voice.
The tension seemed to give away a bit.
” Close your eyes…all of you. I am calling him.” The veiled lady said with a sudden finality in her voice.
All did so at once.
Tanu watched everyone intently. The fear was now replaced with inquisitiveness. They had said that something would just surface in the middle of the circle.She watched carefully from her slit like eyes..
The circle was big. She watched the hands of all. They were all open with their palms stretched out. All windows and doors were closed. She checked out the ventilators. They were securely locked.
The room light was dim. Faint light of the setting sun shone on the ventilator glass.
She concentrated again in the middle.
” Give me…I say. Give me eight number of TAVEEJ. They need your protection.” The lady said.
” Uff…uff…too difficult. Its painful..manage with four…manage with four..” She muttered again.
” No way..I want eight numbers..one for each of my family member.” Mother in law insisted.
“Ok..Ok..I am trying. Give me..give me..uff..uff..give ..I said..give.” The lady cried and moaned.
Tanu was excited by then. She stared at the lady. Probably she will quietly put some in the middle.
” They are coming..yes they are coming.” The lady said joyfully.
Tanu looked at the ventilator glass. Probably it will shatter and they will fall in, she thought. She again shot a quick look at the lady’s hidden hands and then that of others. They all sat with eyes closed in anticipation with their palms stretched out. She looked at the ground in the middle and then her heart almost stopped beating! A handful of Taveej just sprang in there from nowhere! She looked behind her. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.
There was a sudden jubilation all around. The lady seemed exhausted. Mother in law was holding all of them as if they were a handful of diamonds. Tanu remained fascinated and excited..suspicious and fearful..
What was all this?
She had spent all her hitherto life in a city. Her scientific mind dissected the scene again and again minutely. Had she missed something?
A very important clue perhaps. But then they had suddenly sprang up right in front of her studying eyes…
She suddenly wanted to leave. Mother in law had more questions.
Someone had harmed them..had cast a black spell..
Tanu sprang up with a shot. She could not bear it any more. She opened the door and ran out. The others kept yelling asking her to stop.
She did not look back and rushed up the stairs to her infant daughter.
” What’s wrong Didi? You look upset.” The maid said alarmed, when she saw her.
” Oh..it’s nothing. Do make a strong cup of tea for me with ginger.” She told her.
She wanted to be alone. Her child smiled warmly, cycling her little feet rapidly in the air. Caressing her in her arms, she soon forgot the strange occurings below.
It was after two hours that her Mother in law came in to the Shiva temple on their floor. The time of evening Puja has since long past. She was excited and brimming with information.
” You ran away from there. What not emerged from below the foundation of our four story building!” She said,excitedly, on seeing her.
Tanu stared in disbelief.
” How did they dig below the building?” She asked.
” So silly you are! She just asked
the spirits and they emerged in that circle. A part of my saree which I wore thirty years ago with my hair..and what not..” She added.
” What does it mean?”Tanu looked askance at her.
” It simply means that wicked people..our enemies have been trying to hurt us from so long. They stole these materials of mine to cast a dark spell. How trying times I had had all through my life! Today I have uprooted it completely. Of course, I have paid quiet a hefty sum to bring that lady here.” She said triumphantly.
Tanu knew not what to think. It all still seemed fake…
But she had seen it with her own eyes.
Was it real or was she hallucinating?
“You wear this Taveej and
tie this one around your
daughter’s right arm.” Mother in law’s voice brought her back to the present.
“I don’t need this.” Tanu protested.
” You will have to do as I say.” She said sternly.
Tanu remained adamant.
” This is for your own good. This is to keep your daughter safe. You know not what great harm will come on her otherwise. You have no idea about all this.” She said.
Her husband joined the rhetoric too. Sometimes Tanu wondered whether he really had his senses intact. Quietly, she slid the Taveej around her arm and that of her child.
It seemed like a weird thing sticking on her.
Oh God! Keep us all safe! What awful things goes on in this strange forested land. She thought of her hometown Nagpur. A sudden sigh escaped off her.
A week passed off awkwardly.
She felt as if she was being watched constantly… by whom she could not tell. She asked the others. All were wearing them and were at ease.
The nagging feeling continued in her. She brushed it aside as a figment of her imagination.
It was early evening that day. The orange sun had left mild traces of it’s colour in the far horizon and had slipped into slumber. The rest of the sky was bluish grey and dark. The temple bells were ringing. Chonch shells were being blown in the neighbourhood houses. Tanu who was watching all this from the terrace
rushed downstairs to her floor. It was time for evening puja. The rooms were still dark. Her daughter was sleeping peacefully. Little light filtered from the corridor tubelight. She bent over to wake up her daughter.
It was then when someone bent on her… Strong arms encircled her from behind towering over her…gripping her tightly…
Terror stricken, she tried to shout..but could not…her feet seemed frozen…Oh Shiva…Oh Shiva…please help….she said repeatedly within her.
He suddenly let her go…the grip loosened. The next moment, she clasped her child in her arms and rushed off outside…into the lighted corridor. She jerked both the Taveej out of their arms and threw them on to the floor.
Her daughter clung to her in panic as Tanu watched the two Taveej dancing with great energy on the floor in utter disbelief.
When they stopped, her heart was still beating wildly.
When she emerged out of the adjoining Shiva temple, her mother in law seemed furious as she stood near the fallen Taveez.
” You cannot even..”She started saying.
Tanu interrupted her.
” Why have you built a Shiva temple in your house when you have no faith in him? If you have faith then, why do you call in dark forces to watch over us?” Tanu interjected.
Both fell silent at this sudden recognition.
PROTECTION BY DARK UNSEEN FORCES!
Tanu handed her child to her and then took the two Taveej and threw them far off, into a distant pool of water. The splash seemed to calm her down.
She had learnt a hard lesson. She would need it to survive in this strange land.
“I do not need you any more. Do you understand? I do not need you any more. I can see now. I CAN SEE. I DO NOT NEED YOU. I CAN SEE..” He was filled with wrath. His eyes flashed. He was dancing in anger.
I looked at his eyes. They were still white in the middle because of his cataract. He looked a lot slimmer but healthy. How could he suddenly start seeing again?
I woke up with a start. My heart was racing. It was cold but I was sweating. I fumbled for the torch and put it on. It was 3 a.m.
The dogs were howling outside in unison today. A chill ran down my spine.
I gulped some water to soothe my parched throat.
I tried to sleep…but it had flown miles away.
“Oh God! Please keep him well.” I said within me, again and again.
He had come to me about a couple of months back. Tall, dark, unkempt and smelly ,I had found it a little hard to hear all of his story. The smell seemed overpowering. I could see my colleague and friend making faces at me.
She shook a mask at me and said,
“Do you know what is this paper mask used for? To cover noses especially big ones like yours when such kind of people enter.”
I feigned acute deafness and continued talking.
Both his eyes had become nearly blind. He somehow managed to find his way around.
” You need to be operated as soon as possible. Do these tests and come back to show me the reports.” I said.
” Who will pay for this?” He asked defiantly.
“Its not much. It might cost you a sum Rupees 20 to 30. Thats it.” I shrugged my shoulders and told him.
“I have Rupees ten. If I give you that, what will I eat?” He asked.
I knew not what to say.
” Did you bring someone with you?”I asked.
” You need to go downstairs for these tests.” I added.
” I have no one in this world. I have…had a family but they threw me out of the house. I now stay and sleep on the roads.” He said.
I summoned the attendant and told her to accompany him for the tests.
” He neither has relative nor money.”
She took him along cheerfully.
Another three hours swished off…
” Take these reports. I am hungry. Give me food now!” I heard him suddenly again.
He had come back. ..
His reports were normal.
” Good. I will operate on your eyes next week. Start these..”
” Give me food!” He said angrily.
I summoned the attendant and handed over a note of Rs 100.
” Buy a plate of rice for him.” I told her.
He ate hungrily. I felt sorry for him.
Soon this became a regular affair. He just came and sat outside my room and demanded food. He left only after eating. Soon I started losing my sympathy. His sight started irritating me.
” Can”t you bring at least one person with you? I can operate on you then.” I asked.
The hospital rules required that one attendant should accompany one patient.
” I do not have anyone.” He said dejectedly.
I knew not what to do. Unforseen complications could arise on the operation table. Besides that, medicines and eyedrops needed to be put regularly after the operation and cleanliness had to be maintained. Without it, the operated eye could get infected and become blind and very painful for life.
I had serious doubts on that count.
Perhaps I could put him in some old age home first. They would take proper care of him. One such home agreed to take him after much efforts.
I informed him jubilantly when he came the next day.
He flatly refused.
“I do not like to be tied down. I love my freedom.” He said and went off.
I feared for his life. The vagabond that he was ..I ran into him everyday near my house begging for food and money.
He lost his temper on seeing me.
” You can help me see if you want..but you won’t. You are wicked.” He shouted at me, shaking his hand.
Onlookers stared at me. I understood his predicament and helplessness. My hands were tied too.
I went to the Superintendent of the hospital.
” Madam, do let me operate on this patient. He has no one.” I implored.
“Do you believe him? Can a person have no one at all? If you operate a beggar, there is almost a hundred percent chance of his eyes getting infected.” She said.
“Do you really think a person sleeping on the roads will maintain the stringent hygiene standards required after operation? Insist on him that he needs to be in the age old home for at least a month. If he agrees you can go ahead.” She said sternly.
Perhaps my face fell.
” We do not want to be in the news for the wrong reasons. As it is, every other day we make headlines. False and little things get blown out of proportion. You have good in your heart. If something goes wrong…relatives will surface from nowhere. I have seen it happen too many times. No relative will come to donate blood and then in the case of death they will all descend from nowhere. We have to be practical.” She added.
I went back thinking hard. I was feeling increasingly defiant. If I could do it cladestinely in some private hospital…but we were not allowed to operate in a private setting. What if the patient really developed the infection?
A thousand thoughts whirled away in the sea of my mind. I found no shore of answer.
He continued shaking a fist on seeing me much to the amusement of those on the road.
” One month in old age home only. After that back to freedom.” I requested him.
He almost pushed me away in anger.
I went my way. I hoped I did not run into him every day but I always did.
That’s life. One always attracts whatever one does not want.
They call it the Law Of Attraction.
Then one day, he turned quiet. I was filled with trepidation. Things had turned for the worse. His cataract had matured further. I and the rest of the world were truly fading away in his eyes. His end was nearing.
That day, I had just managed to push him away from a speeding car.
The morning rush always left me overwhelmed. I reached the hospital exactly at 10 a.m. The doctor on night duty looked relieved and happy on seeing me.
“Thank God it is over! What horrible harrowing duty hours I had last night.” She said, collapsing on her chair.
” Why? What happened? Ravaged by drunkards or drug addicts? Were they Medico – legal cases or deaths in the wards? ” I asked.
” No, accident.” She said.
“A horrible accident. The truck ran over a man near your area. His chest was crushed and his intestines were out. His skull…”
My heart seemed to be sinking.
” Was he a tall…dark man and somewhat stinking? Did it happen around 3 a.m.in the morning?” I asked, my voice trembling.
” How on earth do you know that?” She asked, her eyes wide with surprise.
” Where is he now?” I asked.
A part of me hoped it was all wrong. That he still lived … That some other tall and dark person had died. Of course, there was no dearth of them in this world.
” He is in the mortuary. You will not be able to see him and others there.Why subject yourself to suffering? Sit here and try to save the living. I will leave now.” She said and
Perhaps he was alive. This could not be him. Probably he was some other man.
” Oh..I forgot to tell you something. He had cataract in both his eyes. Poor man..” The doctor called back from the door before leaving..
My days were filled with agony and guilt. I saw him everyday yelling angrily ‘I CAN SEE’ in my dreams. This went on for more than three months.
Slowly ….I started finding solace in his words. The hand of God had restored his sight. I asked for forgiveness each time he appeared.
Eventually he left my dreams alone. He also left me wiser.
I now inform the local police station and get a constable waiting as I restore sight in blind eyes with no attendants, with the blessings of God.
Is he still watching over me? Probably …from a place where he has fathomless joy, sight and freedom.
A HILARIOUS HELPING HAND
It was twilight time of the evening. The orange Sun was about to sink peacefully into the inviting arms of the night.
I and Anuja wanted to reach the hostel too at the earliest. In our quest of shopping for local delicacies, we had moved a bit too far into unknown territory.
We waived our hands frantically at the running autorickshaws.Some turned a deaf ear and some a blind eye.
My heart drummed against me. It had turned dark. We knew not the way back and with no knowledge of Tamil whatsoever…we could not manage help. Between us we had one mobile phone which had no network at that time…
We had one word to our rescue.
The name of our Eye Institute.
We just yelled that at frequent intervals…
At long last, one autorickshaw halted near us.
We happily jumped on to it…
We soon resumed our cheerful ways, oblivious to the world racing past.
After some time, it seemed that the driver was paying more attention to us than on the road infront. His acrobatic driving was getting a bit dangerous. We narrowly missed a roadside drain and then a truck and a double decker bus.. My hair was slowly beginning to start rising at its ends..
He only laughed in return.
‘He is laughing!.Do you think he is mad or something?’ I whispered frantically in Anuja’s ears.
‘Chill! He is only trying to impress us.’ She said laughing.
I glared at her. 😠😠
If he is a crook…I must jump out. But will Anuja jump or not? And what if I get
some broken bones or worse another vehicle runs over me?
Not a very inviting proposition. 😟😟
I saw myself reflected in his side mirror.
I saw his face too. Thankfully he had stopped laughing and was only smiling..
My heart calmed down a bit…
No, it could not come back to its original calmness. How could it?
We were still racing in a maddening zigzag manner on the road.
Anuja wore that continuous excited look on her face. I turned my face away.
I was filled with a sense of impending doom. We raced on to a lonely road rushing uphill when we were suddenly lifted off from the face of the earth. 😳
The auto had jumped onto a high speedbreaker …
Its fore and back wheels hung in the air and the base stuck to the top of the breaker..
It had turned into a see_ saw!
At that moment we broke into a loud laughter.Tears rolled down my cheeks as the driver sat acutely embarrased. A crowd had collected by then from nowhere and the driver had jumped out. The more they pushed and pulled the more of see_saw we enjoyed. It took me back to my school days.
The crowd dispersed soon. Now it was really the time to jump out. Anuja remained gigling.
I wondered what to do next. There was no auto rickshaw in sight.
It was then that I suddenly saw one coming from the opposite side. The driver gave a cry of alarm on seeing us suspended in the air like that. He rolled up his lungi to his knees and jumped out of his auto. Such was his haste to help us, so largehearted was he that he forgot all about his own. He forgot to stop his own running auto and jumped right out of it. The poor auto went on its own while we remained yelling, “Stop stop …Your auto stop.” until it slipped sideways into the roadside drain!
We thought we were nearing the end of our existence here, so helpless were we with our laughter. Why! We even thought we would die of it that day..😂😂😂
I imagined the headlines of the newspapers the next day.
TWO PROMISING LADY DOCTORS DIE OF LAUGHING!!
But we didn’t. We survived. Life had more adventures in store for us. That autodriver somehow managed to reconnect us with Mother Earth. Our auto found it’s feet again.
The other auto was retrieved from the drain. We thanked him profusely and started our journey.
Our driver had turned over a new leaf. He drove carefully . His macho attitide had taken a sad beating. What a respite it was when our institute came in sight! We handed over the fare to a now shy and embarrased driver.
‘It’s allright. Thanks for giving us one of the most enjoyable days of our lives.’
I told him as he left. I doubt whether he understood.
We came back to the listless life of books…presentations…admonishings..drab food..sleepless nights and more books…
Fifteen years on, the incident still remains fresh in my memory. It still makes me laugh. I wish the same for you, my dear readers.
What is this life if it is not spiced up with laughter?
The Innova snaked its way up the hills. The chowmein roads could be seen far below and up in the hills, highlighted by the dim lights of the vehicles in the smoky mist.Visibility was low and a sudden deep valley came into view when the mist thinned. It already seemed early hours of the night at 10 a.m. in the morning.
Way above in the hills, hung streaks of lightening seemingly frozen at regular intervals. Some were thin and some huge…🤔🤔🤔
We got down to have some tea.
Most shops were closed.
After some hectic searching, a small vibrant shop surfaced, hidden in
a corner behind a betel nut counter.
Sipping hot tea☕🍩🍪 flavoured with ginger and cookies, a shiver ran down my spine.It was chilling. 🎅🏻🎅🏻🤶🏻All my staff wore sweaters. I was the lone one without it.
If only I could buy one here…
How vain are your hopes…I heard within me…😔😔
We restarted our journey.As we continued upwards, the frozen lightening continued to intrigue me. The mist was denser and I hoped the vehicle would not ram against another in the frequent blind turns. I remembered my two kids back home. Of all the people in the world, they needed me the most. Life had become dearer to me after their appearence in the scene.
Suddenly the mist started becoming faint. Giant green hills sprang into view.🌲🌳🌳They were breathtaking.
I felt so small then.There are times when one realises one’s true worth. A speck in the universe. The ego seems to dissolve then. A speck of the universe and also one with it. One feels small and huge and joyous….all at the same time..
Milky froth gushing streams sprang out of the bosom of the hills. Some dropped down thousands of metres disappearing into the calm pristine waters of a river below. Others disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared, back into the hills. The frozen lightening mystery was thus solved. Seen through the translucent mist from the distance, they had appeared so…
This is Mawsynram in Meghalaya, the wettest place on the earth until….. MAN DECIDES OTHERWISE.
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