"Please stop drinking so much," his wife had said. "You are going to risk your life!" He never listened. And now she was no more, he thought, in a deep state of depression and agony, still drinking on the beach. The roaring waves of the sea woke him up in the morning. He realized he had a daughter waiting for him at home. Shame overcame his hangover and he marched towards home, a new man. It took a life close to his own to make him realise the importance of his own. .
"Dad, is this the place we are going to?" asked my kid as I showed her the picture of my hometown. Lush green trees swaying with breeze, the freshwater lake and the children of all ages getting together was a rare feat these days. Two and half hours of flight and a taxi ride later, when we reached, my daughter said, "Well, is this the same place?" more disgusted than disappointed. "Nope," my head hung in shame when the I saw a dried-up lake filled with numerous polythene bags and plastic bottles..
The doorbell rang. It was the delivery man delivering my 3-year-old son's Ipad. As his mom answered the door, my son left his 5-day-old tricycle and ran towards the door. It struck me how little value even big things have these days. Meanwhile, I saw a shadow of a kid longingly looking at the tricycle.“Or maybe the big things have become little things now,” I smirked, realising that the shadow was the little me who couldn't afford a similar one when I was little..
“Om! Om!,” he chanted numerous times as he performed his temple tasks devotedly. The priest was busy collecting flowers from his garden for his puja, when the gardener stopped him from crushing the fallen flowers with his feet. “Sir, please do not mind. I would like to prepare a garland out of those for my daughter," she said. “Ok. They aren't of any use to me anyway,” he proudly replied, mocking her of being unaware of the worship rules. “I wish somebody had spared me,” cried his daughter's soul beneath the very same ground..
The art exhibition was a huge success and she couldn't stop beaming as she signed autographs. During closing time, one man just kept staring at a picture and would not budge. The guards summoned the artist. She smiled as she watched the almost-blind man.
Hugging him gently, she asked, â€œShall we go home, dad?â€
"Congratulations, my girl,â€ he said, acknowledging the hug. He then pointed to the picture and asked, â€œIs that...?â€
â€œYes, it is Mom. I glad you recognised her. Isn't she beautiful?â€ she asked. He nodded..
Beep, beep, honked the ambulance for the umpteenth time. The cattle rampage on the road wouldn't stop; her heart sank, worrying whether they would reach the hospital on time. Her son moaned in pain with the burns. She regretted sending him with food for the calves. She couldn't blame the cattle for the ranch was in ashes. She cursed the person whose greed caused all this. Back in the city her husband just got off the phone smirking. "Now I can start my new factory, now that I got rid of the ranch.".
â€œYou carry on, Mira. Hope you know the way from here,â€ said her husband and she nodded. Mira was returning home after a whole year. Her excitement knew no bounds when she reached the path that led to her village. Everything felt the same; the trees dripping water during monsoon, the muddy marsh soil under her bare feet still felt the like heaven. She did not realise when the wind drifted her umbrella just as her thoughts had drifted away and she played in the mud like a child again. After all, she was just ten. .
They were summoned again. The landlord had died and the rich family needed them for mourning. She was new to the troupe, happy that she found a job soon after her drunkard husband's death. The older ladies said. "Look ,don't mess this up. If we are good then we will have enough money to last us another month or so." She nodded, imagining the thought of her son finally in a school uniform..
"Tomorrow I will get rid of them," thought the shepherd, remembering the generous offer the butcher had given him. With the setting sun, he realized that the disease had overtaken him again today; he forgot the way home. All he remembered next was waking up to the bleats of his herd in the morning. Feeling foolish yet thankful, he went and returned the advance money to the butcher and said, "I am sorry, Saahib! I realized I need them more than they need me.".
"Are you happy now, my dear ?" asked Mirchand, and nobody replied . With teary eyes, he continued, "I am so sorry I did not pay attention to you earlier. I did not realise when my thirst for money took such a big toll on you, that you lost your life. The mansion we dreamed about is of no use to me now. I feel close to you here. I did not fulfil my promise then. I will fulfil it now." He curled back to sleep above his wife's grave..
Eighteen-year-old Anil was happy that he had sold 20 copies of 'One Frame Stories' just today. He wasn't educated but the city streets had taught him to thrive alone. A scared, ragged-clothed little girl approached him .
"What do you want?" he asked sternly, realising she couldn't pay.
"Bhaiyya, can I have that book?" she said innocently.
"What are you going to do with it? It's not a kids' storybook."
"The book has my village pictures. I want to go back home. Can you take me there?" "Sure, sister, I will," he said, his heart melting..
"I need to get her back!" cried Muniyyappa, after he woke up from coma 5 days since the destructive flood. He had lost everything including his only granddaughter to the cruel hands of nature. Alone, he dragged his boat to the shore. Nobody dared to say anything to him as they did not want to crush his last ray of hope. A while later to everybody's surprise he came back with a small girl and said enthusiastically, "Look... I found her!!" He found a new life, she a new home..
Today is my last day of college. These four years have been very tough but great. My friends and me are happy; yet I can say I am a bit more happier. It's a day of emotions and achievements. I have a well acclaimed degree and a secure job for my future. Tomorrow I can fly back home and eat my mom's home cooked food. I can finally tell my dad, "Enough babuji, it's time you take a break from making pani puris." Today is the threshold between ambiguity and lucidity..
Two school friends sat on the bank of the river as they gazed at the reflection of the city in it . They never thought they would be separating ways some day. Bidding goodbye wasn't easy. "City of gold, here I come," thought Jatin, with mixed feelings. "City of fire! I am glad I don't have to go there," thought Raju as he dreaded his friend's fate. Jatin was the son of a goldsmith. Raju was the son of the gold mine worker..
"Yippee! A camel ride for free! Raju bhaiyya, you are so kind" said Rinky, thanking the camel guy.
"Aren't camels supposed to be in deserts, their natural habitat?" asked her curious elder brother Sohan.
"Well, I already feel like I am in a desert," chuckled Raju, the camel guy, wiping sweat off his head from the day's hard work.
"Me too. Man sure knows how to convert a perfectly good beach into a desert," thought the camel..
"The picnic was so much fun," thought Dincy the van excitedly as she trotted along the park just before sunset. The troupe she came with was gone and she was left with a long lonely load in front of her. "Did they forget about me ?" thought Dincy, unable to believe her own thoughts. "I will go along this road and see where it takes me, they must not have gone too far. After all I am a van, I can catch up." I wonder how long would it take for her to realize that it is 'just a toy'..
"Please! don't go," shrieked his little sister. Thirteen-year-old Madhav's heart cried at the thought of leaving his sister alone. Just a few days ago, theirs was a happy family of four. The quake had destroyed most of the village and devoured their parents. He had to find a new home, a new place for them. There were so many unanswered questions he had to ask himself. Yet, he knew he had to take the first step. With one last look at his sister, he taught us love, sacrifice and courage. .