Story Contest 2016 #1 - Outstanding Stories » Waves of Life...
“Waves of Life...” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2016 written by Neeraja Gopakumar, Ernakulam, India.
Waves of Life...
I have never experienced true happiness or peace in my life. Maybe because I am not in search of it, it never happens in my life…
I am Yuki. A poor village girl. I live in Mathura. My mother and I make my whole world. My mother sells fresh flowers in the streets. We toil really hard each day to meet our expenses. I am not educated. My mother really wanted to get me an education, but sometimes situations of life are so difficult that one has to leave some wishes unfulfilled. I see all those children of my age walking to their schools, holding nice backpacks. I really hoped that I could also join them.
My mother was the greatest woman I had ever seen in my life. She suffered from blood cancer but still worked really hard and never let me know that she was sick. I never missed any opportunity to help her in her daily work, because that was the only way I could help her…
It was a fine morning in the slum of Mathura. I took a bath and got dressed up to go to the temple nearby, where I usually forgot all my sorrows in life. I called for mom who was still sleeping, but I left alone, as I found her tired.
As I reached the temple, the aroma of the jasmine flowers filled the air with sweetness. The idol of the temple was known to be of great glory: Even your slightest fears vanished there.
I came back home and started arranging the flowers that had to be taken to the streets for selling. I didn’t call mother because I felt she was so exhausted from the previous day’s heavy work in the fields. Suddenly I heard the screams from inside my hut. “Yuki, dear please come inside… I.. I... Can’t breathe…Yuki…”
I ran inside and saw my mother suffocating. “Ammi.. What happened… please wait, I will get you some water..,” I was scared. “Yuki …listen. Listen to me dear… please be near me … I am dying.. I want to see you in my last breath..,”and with that she left me. My greatest strength in life died in my own lap…
A few days passed and I was still in mourning. You know a mother’s presence not when she is with you, but only when she leaves you. I decided to go to the temple to offer some flowers in tribute to my mother. When I got to the temple, I felt really relieved, so I just wanted to stay there forever. I couldn’t take my eyes off the idol, because of its beautiful figure. I felt like a layer of positive energy enveloping me. I had my slippers on, and started walking back to my home, and then it happened. Something that changed my life entirely.
I heard the cry of a baby. I followed the direction of the sound and got near the old banyan tree near our locality. I saw a black bag; from it came the shrill voice of a baby. I opened it and was shocked to see a baby, maybe two or three months old. She was a girl. She was crying her heart out. Poor thing, who might be this cruel to do it,” I thought for a while. “What will I do now? Should I leave her here and just pretend like I never saw her? How can I!”
I was totally helpless. I wanted to take the baby but, I could not meet my own life expenditure and then how could I take care of her!”
The baby stopped crying. She stared at me with twinkling eyes. I couldn’t leave her, so decided to take her home. “I am just 16. What will others think of the baby? I don’t care.” I could see the helpless me in her. I named her ‘Alli’ after my mother. I started taking up various jobs to earn more and to bring her up. I wanted her to become what I once wanted to be.
Days passed and Alli grew up to be an intelligent girl. I sent her to school and helped her in various things. She captivated everyone’s heart with her sweet, respectful and helpful behaviour. She was extremely smart and won many prizes in many competitions. I was really proud of her and of myself that I could at least do this much. She called me ‘Ammi’. She never knew that I had got her from under a banyan tree.
I forgot every sorrow of my life with the presence of Alli.
But then also, my happiness was not for long.
Alli had a trip to a national park from her school. It was a very pleasant morning. I started collecting the flowers from my garden and then suddenly I saw our Panchayath president running towards my hut. As soon as he saw me, he dragged me in to my hut. He was sweating all around.
“What happened, Ramu kakka? Why are you so tensed?” I enquired.
“Yuki, listen to me with patience. The...the bus that...that had Alli and others…met...met with an …accident. And...and...”
“And…? And what Ramu kakka?” My heart was beating faster.
“We lost Alli…she is gone,” a sudden silence filled the air.
“No, I can’t lose her…I can’t be that unlucky. This is not fair… God can’t do this to me...He gave me Alli because he took my mother…and now what..? I am left alone again…”
I felt my heart was empty. The flowers lost their colours forever. My life became worthless. The waves of life destroyed everything…