Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Story for the New Year 2009

(This is a story of four old women living in an Indian village. May be there is something in their story that makes our lives positive and sensitive. Have a great year ahead)

Blessy, Lucky, Grace and Angel lived in a small village somewhere in central India. All four of them were of sixty years old. They had well settled lives with daughters married off to rich families, sons married to beautiful girls and husbands happily retired from government services. They lived in the same locality in beautifully decked houses. They were friends for a long time.

When their doctors suggested that they should go for morning walk to keep themselves fit at this age, they decided to do it together. So they chalked out a plan- meet every day sharp at 6 am at Angel’s house, which was last in the row of houses in the same street and go for morning walk in the play ground which was almost half a kilo meter away from the street. Almost one year ago, they started going for morning walk.

While walking they talked about their lives, about their happy marriages, well settled kids and apparently satisfied lives. But one day Lucky said, “We are lucky but how unlucky we are!” The other three ladies were shocked to listen something like that. “Why do you say we are unlucky?” they asked Lucky in unison.

“We were born in some other places. And we all were married at very early age. We left our villages and came here to settle down. But what do we know about life? What do we know about the other places? We come to know about people and places through television programs. But have we ever thought of going out of this place to see the world?” Lucky asked her bewildered friends.

For the first time, they doubted the quality of their otherwise happy lives. Then onwards they started talking about places, where they had never been, or people, they had never seen in reality. They wanted to go out of that place at least for a day and experience how life and places looked like elsewhere.

There was a rich man in the village. With hard work and planned life, he had become immensely rich over a period of time. This man was not too old. He was in his late forties and had a good family and a mansion like home in the village. He had several business houses in several cities and he travelled all over in his own helicopter. The ground where the ladies went for morning was used as the helipad. When the helicopter brought the man back from his business trips, if it was in the morning, the ladies stood at the fringes of the ground, clutching each other’s hands in order not to be flown away by the menacing wind produced by the chopper’s fans.

“Why don’t we ask this young man to take us for a round in his helicopter? We can see the places and people from above and from there we can see a lot of places in one go,” Grace suggested gracefully. The ladies smiled to each other. “It is a good idea,” said Blessy.

One day, they were in the ground and they heard the sound of the helicopter. The ladies moved to one corner of the ground, holding their hands. The helicopter landed and the business man came out of it. His car was already there, parked in the other end of the ground. Grace walked towards the man and he stopped as the ladies approached him. He had a curious smile on his lips as he had seen them in the ground several times.

“Why don’t you take us around in this helicopter?” Grace asked straight away looking into the man’s eyes.

“Oh…errr…I didn’t get you,” he mumbled between his smiling lips. By that time, Lucky, Blessy and Angel had lined up behind Grace.

“We want to see the city and other places from up,” Blessy said.

“ I got it…You ladies want to fly…Ok…let me think….well please take permission from your families and meet me tomorrow here,” he said.

“We don’t need to take permission. We are our own guardians,” Angel said. The other ladies were shocked for a while to listen that from Angel, but soon they nodded in agreement to what Angel had said.

“Ok..then..let us fly tomorrow morning…same time…here.,” the man said.

Next morning, Blessy, Lucky, Grace and Angel reached the ground a bit early. They were in their best dresses. They gave different stories to their family members as they were questioned about their finaries worn for morning walk.

The man was already there and the pilot had already started the engine. The ladies came to him, smiled at him and he led them into the chopper one by one. He held his hands above their heads as if they could protect them from the strong winds of the chopper fans.

The helicopter took off from the ground, raising a lot of dust, which for while blocked the views from the eyes of our ladies.

“Look…there…the temple…..hey…the market…….the tailor’s shop, there the mehndi wallah’s shop, Amir’s tea shop……its beautiful…” the ladies were screaming.

The man smiled. His eyes were moistened.

After one hour of flight the chopper landed back in the ground. A rustic cricket game was already on there. The boys ran away, taking the stumps off the ground and they watched the chopper landing down like a heavy dragon fly.

Then they saw Grace, Lucky, Blessy and Angel coming out of the chopper. The kids started hooting and howling. “Hey…see our flying aunties.”

But the business man’s driver was already come to the ground to shoo away the kids.

“Are you happy now?” the business man asked them with a smile.

“Yes…but we don’t want a free ride from you,” saying this Blessy took out a five rupees note from her purse and handed over to the man. He was astonished. The other ladies did the same.

The man stood there with four five rupees notes in his hands and a stupid smile on his face.

“Hey…ladies, why did you pay me this?” he asked.

“This is what we pay in bus when we go to the town to buy clothes….” They said in unison.

The man laughed. The ladies too.

“You young girls are mischievous,” he said.

Blessy, Grace, Lucky and Angel, laughed and held his hands to say good bye. They felt that they had never laughed in their lives like this before.

The man, as he entered his waiting car, looked at the four ladies walking away from the ground. He took out the kerchief and covered his face. He did not want his driver to see him weeping.

“Where sir, home?” asked the driver through the rear view mirror.

“No…to my mom’s tomb,” he told the driver after putting his dark goggles back.

(I dedicate this story to a friend who gave me the thread of it)

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