Month: May 2016

Rain

He frowned and stared down into the city. The newspaper crumbled under his clutch. The report said “Rather cloudy across the region with heavy, showery rains.” The clouds got darker as they stood right above the busy city. He hated when it rained, the entire city would turn upside down. The roads got filled up and the city got dirty. His brand new BMW would get all dirty.

This came in the worst possible time for him, he had a high profile meeting today and he had to be impressive. The thought of his ARMANI suit getting wet made him frown even more. He immediately rang up his secretary and ordered her to ensure that the security was out with an umbrella waiting for him. He dressed up and slid into his BMW grumbling. Just as he had expected the roads were filled up, and the traffic was just intolerable. ‘The only thing makes the city look like one is the tall buildings and the pretty cars in the traffic but apart from these, this place is like a wretched village.’ he thought aloud. He sat there right in between honking cars all around and all he could do was curse the rain.

Quite far from him, in a deserted backward village a 9 year old girl ran with joy and happiness. She couldn’t wait to tell this to her mother, she knew it would make her happy. Her baby brother was playing with stones right outside their tiny house. Their house had only one room which was divided by a small piece of old cloth. The other side of the cloth was the kitchen. She dashed into the kitchen where her mother was cooking something with her baby sister on her hands. “Maa, it is going to rain!! There are dark clouds all over the village! It is going to rain!” she screamed with excitement as she held onto her mother. But without even the slightest sign of happiness she said “Where is your brother? Go and get him!” She left the kitchen with her head hung down in despair. She was confused, she had heard her pray to God a million times to bless her with a shower. Deep inside the lady’s heart, she was jumping with happiness and joy just like her daughter was a while ago.

She took the broom and all other cleaning paraphernalia and set out to work. She wasn’t a sweeper, she would have been more than happy if she was a sweeper. She was in charge of cleaning the ‘dry’ toilets of many houses in the village. The village people did not have normal toilets that functioned with a flush instead they have dry toilets and these had to be cleaned every day. This was her job, not because she chose to do it but she was ‘supposed’ to do it. She belonged to the caste who traditionally have been doing this odd job from ages, just because they are considered the lowest in the caste system. This job was hereditary. She is, what we call them in the city, a manual scavenger.

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Her daughter was right, the clouds burst and it started to shower profusely. Her heart was filled with contentment. For her rain meant purification, for her rain was a boon, a gift of God, sometimes rain itself is the God for her. She walked in the rain enjoying every single drop of it. Completely drenched in the rain, she reached the houses where half of her job had already been done by the rain. Without much complains and protests she went on to do her job with a smile in her face.

Manual Scavenging is a grievous job still existing in many parts India including cities and backward villages. In the cities, men are tied and roped down into sewage to clean them up. Many have lost their lives due to suffocation while doing this dreadful job. In the villages, dry toilets still continues to prevail over flush toilets and people of the lower caste are forced to take up the job of cleaning these toilets.

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The people from this caste are not given any other jobs in the village other than this. They are seen as untouchables. They have to get their own glasses to drink tea from any tea stall in the village. They are not permitted entry to any of the temples. Not even haircuts are given to them in any of the saloons in the village. We are not talking about pre-independence India here, it’s the 21st century India. All though the constitution of the country have set rules against such acts, the governments who have been in rule have failed to ensure strict implementation of the same. It is very disturbing to know that human beings are forced to do such odd jobs only because of the villagers are being ignorant to sanitary advancements.

 

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Empty space.

The parathwala was done for the day and was cleaning up the place just before he shut it. He sat in the bus stop watching him clean up. The silence around filled his empty heart.  The memories of that place killed him quicker than the cigarette he was smoking. The thought of a life without her presence weakened his soul. He stared into the sky and blew the smoke out. As the dark smoke cleared up, he caught the moon staring at him. He smiled at it thinking about a story he would always tell her.

It was a full moon night, so were many nights when he was with her. They would always look at it together. Today he sat there staring at it alone. Unknowingly he reached out for her hands but all he found was an empty space beside him.

Moon fell in love with our Earth. Of course you can’t blame the moon, Earth was unique. There might be queens and princesses but Moon liked Earth the most because Earth wasn’t like everyone else. There was something about Earth that always attracted the Moon. Earth became the centre of Moon’s life. But as fate has it, they were meant to be apart forever. So, all Moon can do is watch Earth from far and dream that one day a miracle would happen and they would get to be together. But that won’t be the end of Moon’s miseries, there will come the Sun and the beautiful Earth will shine in the Sun’s brightness. The same brightness that will shadow the Moon. But the moon will never give up, every night moon would come out and admire the beauty of the earth. When he was done, she would laugh at him and he would fall in love with her all over again.

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He never knew that it would be the last time he will be seeing her. Every night before he went to sleep a tiny part of him hoped that maybe tomorrow he would be able to see her again but it never happened. And now he has run out of time, and still she never returned.

Far away, she sat next to her window staring at the full moon, smiling about the story he always used to tell her and she reached out for his hands but all she found was empty space beside her.

Drowning yourself away…

The eight year old wept looking at his father’s disfigured body wrapped in whites. His father was his hero, but lately it all went wrong for him. He still hasn’t figured out what had happened to his family. For the past several weeks no one has laughed or even smiled in his family. The nights haven’t been peaceful like before. His house wasn’t the best place he knew anymore. It was screams and cries that had replaced the laughter; the nights were dreaded and his house was shadowed by pain and fear. He just stood there with watering eyes not knowing what to do and not realizing what was up for him next.

She screamed and cried in agony. The pain was excruciating and her world was collapsing around her. The soil beneath her was swept away by a wave of unfortunate play of fate. All the tears that she had shed for him weren’t just enough. Now he had presented her with something that she can cry on for the rest of her life. The hands in her shoulders failed to console her, the soothing words that flowed from everywhere did not even reach her ears. All she could think of the memories with him. The good times and the hard times. Somewhere she found herself responsible for what happened to him. And yet all she could do is scream and cry beside him.

She held her small weeping brother, with wet eyes she looked at her mother in deep pain and agony. She knew things were bad for them but she didn’t see this was to happen. Her father was strong, wasn’t he? He had tried this before and it was she who saved him. How could he leave them? How could he take such a decision so fast? Somewhere she also found herself responsible for this. She looked at her father and cried.

“He did it, brother. He left us.” the man heard this from the other end of the line. He sat there with a shattered heart. The man who tried to save him from the clutches of the wicked countryside spirits. The man who took him beyond the seas to an entire new world. The man who helped him built a new dream and restore faith in himself.

A call from him the day before played in her mind. He had thanked her and her family for trying to provide him with a new life. He thanked them for being there for him. And he even said goodbye to them all.

Years back he joined a company overseas and over the years he moved on ahead. He left for a better company, and life just seemed so beautiful. Decent money was pouring in and family back home was just happy. But one tiny bit of him was rotten. His love for alcohol. Alcohol was the villain in his story. The villain who successfully wrote a tragic end to his story. The story which could have been bright and inspirational. The story where he was with his wife and his sweet little kids.

Over sometime alcohol took complete control of him. No one knows why or where it all began. But everyone gathered there has very well realised that it has ended. He did try to come back to his life. He took efforts, he took baby steps towards sobriety, rehabilitation and medicines. But it all failed. Alcohol was just too strong for his mind. The magical poison just wouldn’t leave him of its hold. His actions were dictated by alcohol. He was slowly losing himself. Every morning he woke up with guilt and as the day went by he would again start craving for it to drown his fears and worries. His mind left from his control. He hit his wife, and even almost killed her. His children feared him. They left him and wouldn’t come back. Everyone looked at him with disgust and hopelessness. He might have found no reason to live anymore. He had burnt his own world and he has nowhere to go now. The only place that he thought would end all his woes and sorrows was the railway track. One early morning waking up with extreme guilt and hopelessness he decided to wrap it once for all. Leaving behind the two small children and a grief stricken wife, he left the world in a rather cruel and cold manner. He did not just kill himself but he killed the wife’s hope and faith on him, he killed the little child’s belief that his father is a hero, he killed his daughter’s hopes of a better world and good times ahead.

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Alcohol could drown your pains or could induce happiness in you but we all must realize that all what alcohol gives is short lived except for our actions and words influenced by it. The moment you let alcohol take control of your life, is the moment your downfall begins. Alcoholism not only takes your life but takes lives of those dependent on you.