Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - A Triumph Of Faith

“A Triumph Of Faith” by Mehak Priyadarshi, Jai Shree Periwal Global School, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Mehak Priyadarshi is a 13-year-old girl from Jaipur, India studying in IX th standard. She is a voracious reader and also writes poems and stories in english and hindi. One of her stories "The view outside my window" got published in Gobar times printed by Center for science and education. Her other hobbies include singing, playing synthesizers, guitar and is presently learning flute. She has also learnt Bharat natyam and other forms of dancing. She has a great interest in Indian mythology. Her favourite subjects are Physics, Maths and Sanskrit.

A Triumph Of Faith

Harish was standing on the balcony watching the last rays of Surya. The loud and angry voices in the street below distracted his attention. He ran down the stairs to see what happened. He stepped into the courtyard and opened the window next to the front door in anticipation. He saw the scene unfolding before his eyes.

He gave out a long sigh, another one of the stupid feuds that had now become a routine he was trying so desperately to get rid of. A man in a white kurta and Gandhi cap was standing near the beautifully adorned and decorated temple of Lord Krishna, located near the main street. A little kid perhaps his son was hiding behind him clutching the ends of his Kurta. In front of them a man wearing a saffron robe was giving intimidating looks and it looked as if a heated debate was taking place. Harish’s Baba was also standing in a corner trying to calm both of them, but apparently it was not working. His father’s usually calm demeanour had now changed into an exhausted look. He already had a lot of responsibilities as the mukhya purohit of the temple.

The mukhya purohit, Mahesh returned and a woman served him a cup of tea. Harish was no longer able to contain his curiosity and asked him the cause of the fight. Mahesh stood up, fighting his weariness and told him what had happened. Few days ago, Kashmiris had thrown stones at the police and all the countrymen were angry about this incident and rightly so. The man in the white kurta along with his son was going to the mosque which is located quite close to the temple to pray. His son smelt the fragrance of the Prasad that was being distributed and had run away into the temple followed by his father trying to stop him. The devotees who had come to the temple saw this and started insulting the man, owing to the present circumstances in Kashmir. The man in the white kurta bore this for a while and then when he couldn’t tolerate, he started blabbering insults himself. And that was all it took for a temple of love to become a battlefield, convening a war of faiths. Mahesh had asked those two men to visit his house in the morning where their problem would be solved. Everyone in their town respected Mahesh and the two men had agreed to Mahesh’s proposition. Harish hearing what had happened went back to his room and felt a burden on his heart he couldn’t explain. The sun had now completely disappeared from the evening sky but it was not completely dark. Hues of red and saffron were still scattered across the sky, sometimes hiding behind the clouds not ready to part yet. Harish was very sensitive to these matters and he couldn’t stop his tears after hearing another one of these incidents. His friend had died in mob violence during one such incident. The grief of his death had left an imprint on his heart that didn’t wash away with the years gone. He could still see his face, the one he saw as a child, when they were friends. Harish spent a lot of time contemplating the reason of the mob violence. A misunderstanding, hatred, a religion or just ignorance- he couldn’t decide. He believed that the Earth was shared by all and it belonged to all, then why the hatred which broke millions of hearts every day. He was usually silenced by his elders (with the exception of his father), when he expressed his thoughts, they said he didn’t understand what ‘they’ had done. Who are ‘they’ and who are ‘we’? He did not understand but he understood this much that this ‘they’ and ‘we’ had murdered many lives, hopes and dreams.

But he always had held onto hope and he always would. In midst of all these confusions he believed that one day, somewhere in the future we would get over these differences and accept them. There were people out there like he and his friend who didn’t mind existing together in one world. And with this hope etched in his heart he closed his eyes and entered the realm of dreams.

The sun rays caressed his eyes as he started to open them once again. He smiled at the sky, beautifully adorned with clouds. He saw a dove flying towards the eastern sky, fluttering its wings in the wind. This was a very good omen. He remembered what had happened the day before and he quickly changed into neat clothes and rushed to his father. He stopped by the stairs seeing what was happening in the courtyard below. There was a man in a white kurta and a person in saffron robes embracing each other like brothers. There was no hatred in their eyes just understanding and compassion. Apparently, the war of the faiths had ended with a peace treaty and both the sides were happy. Harish’s eyes met his fathers who was looking towards him with an enchanting smile on his face. Harish was ecstatic with joy and joined his father after the two men left. He wanted to say something but he just stood there grinning like an idiot. Faith had won and ignorance had to face defeat. Faith, belief whatever people call it, had triumphed and had showed that it was above the boundaries created by man. Harish’s father went to the temple for the reciting of the Gita and simultaneously the sound of the mesmerizing azaan echoed through the streets. And a few minutes after that, the temple bells joined in the chorus and there in a loud clear and melodic voice Mahesh sung

Yo yo yam tanum bhaktah shraddhayaarchitumicchati
Tasya tasyaachalam shraddham taameva vidadhaamyaham
In whatever form any devotee with faith wishes to
Worship, I make his faith unwavering

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