An Activist and the Last Rain

agriculture,social evils,sacrifice,activist,rain,superstitions

The curtains yielded flowers, white, yellow and red but anything beyond those drapes only had barren brown to offer.

The earth is cracked and dry with no rain to heal. Sometimes lush green is a temporary illusion. It has been three years since it last rained. Children of my family have shrunken with bones stuck out and eyes bereaved of moisture.

The ladies walk miles everyday for the water. It was the worst drought of the decade. And I still think I’m lucky for none in my family have ever complained about it. But today my oldest daughter came in with a face that spoke of drained energy, ailments and dreaded life I pushed them into.

“Father, can’t we leave this place and go find a job in the city?” She pondered.

“And what skill do we have to survive there, my dear? I know how to yield, plough and gather weeds. Nothing beyond it.

“Mother and I can weave,” She sighed and picked up the clothes for cleaning the floor.

I took her near me, she was merely ten, her deep brown eyes had lost the moisture to even cry. Her dusty hairs weaved a story of strong winds and dusty land. Her darkened shrivelled skin made me wonder if she had grown older than she is.

” Where shall we live then, my dear. We have no relatives who would help us. There is no land in the city to plough, only tarred roads and plenty of vehicles. But there, it rains!”

We both knew that we understood life beyond it offers us the chance to realize. But I had to instill the lost faith in her. We were waiting, waiting too long for the last rain. It would make them believe again. Of miracles and life and the moisture in the eyes.

My beloved wife prayed day and night while I stared into the vast skies. And one day, there was a new sparkle in my family’s eyes. A sparkle that was lost. I hurried outside to see if it rained. No, but my family said they heard of a rumor. The rain god had asked for a sacrifice or so the village priest said.

I was taken aback. A sacrifice? For the rain. Pitying their false hopes. It was a social evil.

“Whom are they to sacrifice? A chicken, a goat or a sheep?” I asked her as I munched over the last morsel of rice and potato curry.

“That is to be decided tomorrow, at the panchayat” She smiled.

I felt something fishy. An urge to move out of the village occurred. Later that evening another rumor spread. The family that the gods decided for the sacrifice was ours. It seemed so that we had sinned. The gods came in the dream of the village head-priest. Both our families were rivals from decades.

I  had to leave. It was time. I packed the rugged clothes, picked up my three year old son, woke up my wife and my two daughters. They were all in musky in their sleep. We fled that night.

I had set my own home on fire when I left and put in some bones of the goat that I had sacrificed.

Now that the sacrifice was done, not of my child but of the whole family in their eyes. I fled to the city, where superstitions and sacrifice were dormant. There we made a living. My girls weaved while I helped in construction.

Now, over the years, my first daughter is an activist against all these superstitious beliefs and she stages street plays in many villages. My second daughter whom I spent more time with opened her own classes of organic farming to the city folks. My son helps me in the market, selling seeds and pesticides. My wife was the change.

She met an activist when we fled to the city, and since then, she tried educating my kids, not on the various subjects of physics and mathematics but on what is essentially required to sustain and enrich lives. I fell in love with her again for I had never come across her beautiful and brave mind.

The last rain did occur in my village. It has rained since then, sometimes like a wrath, sometimes soft on the petal. Today my family are returning. My daughters with their powerful voices to change minds and my son’s tactic to a better agriculture will save us. Finally I hold my wife’s hand, she smiled beckoning my thoughts. And I knew, for an instance that I have won in Life:)

That one activist changed the way we live and how we perceive our lives else we would have been weaving on roads or spent my old-age being a mason on construction sites. She was barely seventeen and she worked for the society. Hoping to meet her again, the one who inspired my daughters to fight, the one who filled my wife to stand as our biggest support. Let her live in peace!

photo credit: roseannadana P6030012.bwsm via photopin (license)

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And Maybe We’ll Be Friends Again

I thought of you as a friend

The one that showers love from heavenly end

Bliss are the moments spent with you,

Why not stay as the promised you

Despising you shall not make me bad

your tantrums are of such atrocity,

Your other shade was unknown of

Capable of ripping people off their homes,

You are no Robin Hood,

Forget not that,temperamental not your trait,

ra

I love you when calmness prevail,

Oh dear rain,dare not do this again;

Hurricanes and floods make you look scarier,

The dark ghostly shade not yours,

Bring back the spring that flourished under your rein,

Vow to make them smile again

And maybe we’ll be friends again…

Never Ever Rain Again!

The first drops from monsoon greeted me at the dim lights of the dusk on this day, rain has always been my love, it had kept my secrets, hidden my tears, soothed my fears and always had made sure that I had the brightest smile on this planet.It was such a treat to meet this very first drops,like a mother, it cradled and hushed the winds to hear my secrets.

“I stole a few flowers from the flower shop on my way here” I gleed and showed the sky the bright red roses in my hands.

The winds caressed the delicate flowers, the rain dripping it with love.

“I know you’ll like it” I splashed around the puddle,I was alone, my solitude is a way to put it, not far away from home but an abandoned alley, normally no people would come across the street into this lonely alley, fearing the dark or the evil but I had been to this place from ages,I knew every corner of this place except that I was too self-obsessed to notice a different eerie change in the area.

Locals had warned me of the night screams from this alley but I had never stayed too long except for today!

Today was special,today I had found my dreams, I had a achieved a gold medal in archery today and had been selected for the national sports, INS(Indian National Sports),hence to show my gratitude to my lucky charm ,I had stolen two red roses, got myself a rain-drop shaped pendant.

I sat on the metal support, a ruined set of ladders to the first floor to an empty house, It was spooky to anybody but I never had been specifically feared ghosts, even if such a thing existed, mere lie hovering in the inhabitants brain,I was a cold hearted person, few of my bowing acquaintances defined me thus!

But they never knew this part of me, where I would appreciate the colors, befriend the wind and fall i love with the rain.I drenched sitting there as few hours passed by, it was almost 9 pm when I realized that I had caught a sneeze from the drenched dress,I quickly wiped myself off the extra water that was pulling me down with the drenched dress.

A few set of footsteps lingered around me, heavy quick advances, the power from the dim street lights blacked out, load-shedding ,I hissed,I had left the cell-phone in my apartment, ghostly shadows played in the dark , there was a creak from the never opened window beside me, the alley turned haunted.

“It’s just anxiety, mere anticipation of the non-existing danger” I calmed my instinct,the fact that I was not frightened by the lurking darkness but the heavy husky voices near me.

The next moment, I was hauled, stripped off my bag and another shadow ripped my gold pendant from my slender neck, I had a cut, bleeding from the neck, the shadows even tore my ear probably to snatch the ear-ring, damn that wasn’t even valuable, the load-shedding had me robbed, I prayed to be only robbed and cursed my love.

Where was the protective instinct? Why am I bleeding in the familiar alley , unknown shadows had just robbed me off my precious lucky charm,my pendant and also a bracelet that had rain charms!

The sky thundered , the lightning striked my alley and I could get the glimpse only of the robes of the robbers and only their demise was of the fading running footsteps.

Tears rolled down my cheeks and the only witness, rain aroused the feelings of helplessness and anger.

“Are You happy now?” I whispered and slouched.

A few more minutes there, I stood up, staggered along the alley, the rain had my screams filtered,none had come to my rescue,I had to reach the hospital.

There was a screeching sound from the main road, it was a heavy downpour and again another accident by a dimwitted driver, I raced for the pedestrian help only to find blood and my ornaments,in his hands!

I gasped aloud and leaned on the car for support.rain

“Maam ,you are hurt”

I remember the cold hands around me and me taken to the hospital! That Familiar cold and damp voice!I never spoke with my love again!

Never Ever  Rain Again!