Lost and Found
“Lost and Found” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Paarth Tripathi, India.
Lost and Found
It was the December of 2014 and my winter holidays have begun. My family decided to fulfil my mother’s wish of years to visit the Sharif dargah and pray for my brother and me there. We packed our bags, getting ready to brave the winter in north India. Our journey started towards the destination. From Singapore we went to New Delhi and then took a train to the pink city of Jaipur. After visiting some well-known places in Jaipur, we started moving towards Ajmer. The weather was very cold in spite the place being a desert. Interestingly, I could see lots of camels and sand.
My family and I were in a van making our way to the city of Ajmer in Rajasthan. The atmosphere was very jovial and we entertained ourselves by playing a game of cards called bluff. Finally, after a long and tiring ride, our group reached the destination which we wanted to explore. We always thought that Ajmer will be a less crowded place, but to our surprise, there was a huge crowd everywhere we went. My father held my hand as tight as I could bear.
We walked through the walls of the famous shrine called Ajmer Sharif Dargah. This monument was built when the great ruler of India Akbar along with his wife Jodhaa Bai went to Sharif Dargah in request of having a son and in return they would build this mosque for the Peer baba. This monument is an international waqf, an Islamic mortmain Dargah Khwaja Saheb act managed by the government of India. We stayed in a hotel for the night and in the morning we set out to explore the Akbar fort.
While we all were walking I was at the front of everyone. I thought my mother was infront of me so I called out to her but when she turned back I was in a shock because that lady was not my mother! The moment I was lost, a family was taking a dead body and because of that my family became more worried. I looked all four ways right, left, in front, back, in shops and on roads. What should I have done to find my parents? I shouted at the top of my voice for communication with my parents. Here I was lost alone in an unknown city. Then a shopkeeper saw me and asked, “What happened child? Why are you so worried?” I answered, “I am lost, can you help me find my way?” The shopkeeper came with me. He asked me where we were going. I did not know the name of the mosque I mentioned in the starting. I told the shopkeeper, “I do not know the name but I just know that it is a famous mosque.” The shopkeeper smiled at me and said, “I know exactly where to take you my child.” He took me to Sharif Dargah where I saw my parents worried. They were asking people if they had seen me by showing them a photo. My cousin brother and sister spotted me and told my parents about it. I ran towards them in happiness I hugged them as tight as I could. My parents thanked the shopkeeper and also gave him money for the progression of his small shop. We all toured Ajmer with all our excitement. We reached Jaipur safe and sound with a lot of information and happiness.
Of all the fond memories of the place, the most important one was me losing in the crowd and being helped by an unknown shopkeeper. The key lesson I learnt was to always be with my family when visiting new places instead of exploring the place on my own.