THE GIFT (One Shot)
Mom nudged me gently. Oh, so it’s morning now. I have to get up. Well, then why everything around me is so damn dark? Isn’t it a fine morning? Realisation struck me. I am blind. Why do I tend to forget that? I try to ask mom how the morning is. But I could only split my lips. No voice came out. I am mute too. Have the birds got a choke in their throat that they are singing so feebly? Ufff! Why do I forget that I am half-deaf too? Leave it Rimpa, get up. Sitting on the bed I start remembering the last twelve months, which drained most of the happiness out of my life.
I was a real happy, daredevil and bubbly girl. On my birthday, I and my dad went to the market to buy my gift- Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life”. My idol. When we were about to return, we heard an ear-piercing blast and the people raising a hue and cry. I too started to shout in pain. Two hands protectively embraced me and I heard a feeble whisper, “My girl, you have to live and win. You have to live for me.” My father! We fell on the ground. I was so much in pain that I couldn’t even answer. Just then, someone drew a black curtain in front of my eyes.
I seemed to have risen up from the black hole I was in. But why is everything black even now? I could feel my hands moving slightly. Wherever I was, it must be a hospital, for the stingy aroma of medicines filled the whole vibe. Many things are attached with my body. Okay, I understand that probably I am blind. But a hospital is never a quiet place! Does that mean I am deaf..? My head starts aching. I found someone shouting on the top of her voice, “Dear, you are in a hospital for the last fifteen days. “ My mom embraced me and said as loud as she could, “Dear, you have to be strong from now. The explosion ate away your eyesight, voice, and half of your hearing ability and two of your right fingers. It has devoured your dad too. He is no more with us.” Now her voice broke. I too felt something hot streaming down my cheeks. I am crying! The world seemed to have slipped off my feet. I felt so lonely suddenly.
After some days or better, nights (for me), we came home. A huge gap has already entered our lives. We two have to fight and in this context, I remember what Ruskin Bond had said in “The tiger in The Tunnel” – “Life had to go on, and the living had to remain, and all the responsibilities now fell on”- My Mom. She got me admitted in a school for the physically disabled. I felt Helen Keller has become my life rather than my idol. The teachers there acted as my Anne Sullivan (Helen’s teacher and guide) and I started upgrading my remaining two sense organs of touch and taste. I now sometimes run my left hand’s fingers on the two gaps on my right hand. How I wish I were a plant! I could easily grow back my lost parts then!
My mom now has to rush away from place to place. She has to do her job as well as complete my father’s posthumous formalities and allowances. She brings me home from the school and makes me understand my Dos and Don’ts and buzzes off. My loneliness starts to sit tightly on me. I try to roam about my home and understand it once again. As if I am a two year old again! I try to visualize the beautiful earth before this darkness masked it. And I try to paint that. Painting is one of my hobbies. Sometimes mom helps me by telling and mixing the colour. And at other times, she keeps that in order and I just have to remember and use my imagination to do it. When she returns, she feeds me the supper and lulls me to sleep. We both hug each other tightly.
One day, she brought me home from my school, pecked on my cheek and shouted, “Bye” and left. I started to complete my painting. After sometime, I heard a faint noise striking my ears. I felt the noise is coming from the radio in the bedroom. I slowly and carefully reached the bedroom, felt the radio and turned up the volume to its fullest. A beautiful song was being played. Before I could hear the faint sound, I felt something striking me in rhythms. With elation, after a long time of sensing it, I discovered that it’s the wave of the music! I can feel so much! I start to resume my other love- dance. With happiness surrounding me, I stride the steps, stretch my arms, and move my body- all with the rhythms that I can feel and the tune that I can barely hear. I feel the rhythms telling me,” Dance, Rimpa, Dance! With all your might and beauty you dance!” I Dance! Tears again rolled down my eyes. After long hours, I felt someone hugging me in happiness. I understand these now. My mom. The very next day, she took me to my old dance class. She said she would explain my teacher everything.
After a few minutes, she took me inside. I was happily readmitted. I resumed my dance and went outside to perform too. My mom industriously made me practice for the All India Dance Championship too. It was six months past then. I too practiced day and night to do my best. Whenever music was played, I could feel it and those rhythms only made me dance my best. I always go into a trance all that time. My mom explains me how the performance was. I also studied through the Braille system. I take time to get in the things but once I can, none can stop me. Two weeks ago, I went to Delhi, as was told by mom, to perform in my dream Championship. I felt I performed my best there. All these while, my dad’s last words keep ringing inside my deaf ears, “My girl, you have to live and win. You have to live for me.”
It always gives me a kick. He is my inspiration who gave me birth in his death. My left hand gives me full support by forming the gestures and postures. The right hand tries to help me to the extent it can. Life has put me into a hard test. But I’m always positive and take that test with all my valor and might. Being optimistic is a key to success. I should never forget it.
I come back to reality from my world of contemplation by one more nudge. Mom again. Mom told me that today is 27th June, my birthday once more. O Helen Keller! I never realized that I share my birthday with you so much that I do it today. Mom is going to take me somewhere. We drove off. Maybe my gift. But you didn’t wish me today! I kept mum all the way. I know I am. But she always feels that I can talk! Well, again I am in a hospital, lying on a bed. Why? Before comprehending anything, something pointed pokes inside my body and I felt again I am going into a trance.
Again I wake up from my trance. What is that huge flash of white light burning my eyes? I hurriedly close my eyes back. Wait. What did I say just now? LIGHT?! How’s that possible? I am a bl…! That means? Cutting short my thinking an unfamiliar male voice crackled, “Try to open your eyes once more dear.” I try to reopen my eyes. This time a familiar shadowy female figure is standing, barring the blazing white light. I am seeing! O My God! I can see! My heart leaped with joy. One more realization. How could I hear the doctor speaking so normally? And what is that plugged inside the holes of my ears? I feel them. They are a pair of hearing-aids. So I can hear too! Great! Now my mom gave me a bear hug and said with mixed emotions, “Happy Birthday dear! Many many happy returns of this day!
How is your gift? Take this and speak!” she handed me a paper. I tried to speak,” How can I talk mom?” To my shock, it voiced this time! I can speak too! Suppressing my joys, I proceed to read the paper. My eyes widen with joy. I won the dance championship! I beat the physically sound people too! So many gifts for me! I feel that my heart will come out of my chest. I hug mom, “Thank You So Much!” My voice broke this time. I feel again some hot liquid streaming down my cheeks. Tears again. And this time it’s of joy. To get the best gifts of my life. Today is really my BIRTH-DAY! I am born thrice on this 27th June. The cold wind embraced us as my father always used to embrace our family. I again feel my father’s dying words ringing inside my ears. I won dad, don’t I?
So friends, this is my third one shot. I hope you will like it. Comment your expressions friends! And never forget that life will always put you into various tests. But if you are optimistic, you can win the darkest phase of your life!