Beyond the horizon

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I walked for hours until I saw a light far away through the trees and the paddy fields. The walk was indeed tiring but it kindled a hope in me. The light that I saw knew would lead me from darkness to light. It’s been long since I ventured out of the match box that I rented out in the City of Joy. It’s been long since she left.

I never asked her for the reason, I never went back to her. It’s been a year and nothing has changed. But today as I am walking towards my new abode, far away from the City of Joy, I hope that this walk is towards the and end of what was never meant to be , if not the beginning of anything new.

An old man waited for me at the door step with a lantern. The light that I had seen from far. He seemed to be mighty pleased to see me.

Old Man: So  you have finally come!

Me: Yes.

I wondered if I could have replied in any other manner more suitable to the circumstance and in reciprocation to the warm welcome he gave me. But then there was no point in an afterthought. Many a times in life words once spoken cannot be taken back and the scar remains forever.

Old Man: I have prepared some rice and curry for you.

Me: I am not hungry and want to sleep.

He did not seem to be very happy with the fact that I wasted the food. However he left the room quietly. The house comprised of a bedroom, a kitchen and a verandah. I placed my bag in the bedroom and began to unpack my bag. Soon enough I head some murmuring outside the room. It was him.  I signaled the him to come in.

Old Man: I am going home. I stay across the field. You can call out for me in case you require anything.

He seems to have lost all his affection and warmth. I began to wonder if my ‘no nonsense’ factual reply is what prompted the change in his temperament. Well, after all that’s what all what life is about. You get what you give.

This time around, once the old man left I did not have anyone around to stop my thoughts from wandering away into the past. By past I did not mean years before and hence mentally I classified it as the ‘recent past’. The classification was as confusing as me.

The journey has been long. The room was smaller than the one I had in the City of Joy, but it had a window that helped me look across into the fields, watch the sun set and sunrise, stare at the stars. Every night I relived my past in my thoughts. This night was no different. I went back to the City of Joy- where it all began.

When it rained.

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Rains always brought me happiness. Love to hear the thundering in the sky when it rains like there is no tomorrow. Love it, when I get to hug myself against the cold air and the heavy downpour. It brings me closer to myself.

But today it was different. The car would take me only till the gate. I knew I had to climb up those steep steps uphill to reach home. It was raining heavily and Meenakshi was getting restless in my arms. She began to cry loud. Closed areas suffocated my little one, especially the car. I knew the reason and hence I decided to take the risk and walk it through the rains. The driver brought me the umbrella to the backseat. I managed to scramble out of the car, covering my little one with the end of my sari. She found it amusing and her smile took over her sobs. She began to play with the rains. Just like me, she loved the rains too. May be that’s what bonds us together – the love for rains. She splashed water on my cheeks and kissed them away with her little lips as she kept murmuring to herself –“mmm”, “mmm”. I wondered what she wanted to say, I wondered what’s in her mind. Meenakshi has always been a happy kid. But today she seemed to be ‘differently’ happy. She was giving me playful, naughty looks as though there was something she is holding back. I knew I might be reading too much into a child’s mind. But I knew her. She surprises me every day.

I was completely drenched by the time I reached home. Her grandfather and grandmother were sitting in the verandah waiting for their bundle of joy. They reached out to her. Unlike always she refused to go to them and clung on to me. I wanted her to go to them and not cling on to me since I was drenched. I was angry at her but at the same time happy deep inside. She didn’t want to leave me; she was accepting me as her mother – the mother who never gave birth to her.

May be nothing has changed – this time too, the rains brought me happiness. It gave me Meenakshi. I hugged Meenakshi against the cold air and the heavy downpour. It brought me closer to myself.