Dated: End of 2002 ( B.Tech. 1st year)
It had just stopped raining…the air was still heavy with the smell of the sodden grass. Almost as deftly as a cat, Brishti stole her way up to the terrace…careful not to awake her parents. Was it past midnight? …She had no idea. The entire locality buzzes with life throughout the day…now it was a reign of death. An unknown enchantress had cast her magic spell over the entire world…everything was serene, silent, tranquil…. .The sweet music of the water droplets dripping down the leaves of the monstrous trees occasionally broke the calm of the hour. Brishti flung her arms up in the air casually …it was a rare sense of absolute freedom….” O my sky, my dear friend…will you too turn your face away from me?”, she whispered.
Brishti was groping for herself…. her restless eyes pierced through the darkness. Who was she? Where lay her real self? Year after year, she had looked at herself from others’ viewpoints; she had meekly slipped into the roles designed for her by her “well-wishers”. She had been burdened with the dreams of her parents, she had secretly groaned under its tremendous weight…but she kept on running and running and running, without the minutest complaint…. emerging as the school topper in each and every examination held in the past five years. And now that she had faltered in her steps for the first time in her life…why, the world around her seemed to crumble to pieces. Her entire life was rendered to a bundle of nothingness. Even the familiar affectionate faces had become so unfamiliar…
Was she angry? Who was she angry on? Her parents? The entire world? Herself? Brishti didn’t know.
“Brishti, don’t you have your own eyes to see things? Don’t you have your own heart to dream?”, she asked herself for the first time in her life.
“Brishti, what do you want out of life? What have you been running for blindly throughout your fourteen years of school life?”
“What makes you happy Brishti?"
“Why are these foolish tears trickling down your cheeks?”
“What have you lost…and what have you gained through all these years?”
Brishti found herself so hollow…so empty, like the darkness of the night. Something raged within her; it was a tempest of questions…. peculiar, foolish, “out of syllabus” questions. She didn’t know how to get rid of them…. neither did she know how to solve them.
"What do you know Brishti? Do you know yourself at all?”
It was the wrath of a stormy sea. The raging waves lashed against the rocky shores. A small wooden boat was being tossed about by the furious waters…would it soon capsize? Brishti closed her eyes in fear…for the first time in her life she felt so helpless, goalless, rootless…
And then, suddenly, Brishti could feel those eyes appearing in the dark…those warm, friendly eyes that had been her best friend since her very childhood. Brishti called them Diya…. the lamp. As a small kid, whenever Brishti felt deserted or hurt , she used to steal to their little lofty verandah and sit alone for hours, waiting for those eyes to appear…. and they never took too long. Not the sort of beautiful attractive feminine eyes you know, but simple and plain…. but the eyes could speak volumes…. and there was such a loving, reassuring look in them. In a moment Brishti would know that she was no more alone…
After how many years had she met Diya again? Brishti couldn’t recall…. she hadn’t even noticed when she left her Diya back in the long rugged journey of life….the study pressure was increasing, and above all, how could her parents see her growing into a “peculiar, unsocial being”?….before long, sitting alone in the verandah was restricted for her……
“Do you still remember me, Diya?” Brishti almost cried in joy.
“Can I ever forget you Brishti? What am I without you?” Diya replied …through the silence of her eyes.
“Then…then…where had you been through all these years, Diya? Why did you abandon me like this?”
“ I have always been with you Brishti…. Its only that your eyes had been blindfolded…errr, are you a bit puzzled Brishti?” Diya asked with a mysterious smile.
…. And soon, Brishti burst out with all her ever-subdued emotions and complaints, pool of confusion and frustrations…. just like the old days…and this is how she finally concluded.. “…Diya, I am nothing today…I am not what I used to be…I am not what my parents wanted me to be……I am nothing but a worthless burden for everyone…..I have been a complete failure in life……why did I have to be born Diya?”
Diya listened…with a ocean of patience and compassion in her eyes….and then, finally she spoke….”Don’t be so hard on yourself Brishti, you are what you have always been .Nothing can die in you as long the roots are alive. You can again achieve every bit of what you have lost…and even more than that.”.
“Roots, Diya…what are they?”Brishti asked.
“Roots are what sustain you Brishti…..they are what you draw your strength from.Look inside you heart Brishti….look through the dreams, ambitions imposed upon you by the outside world….look at the pure, innocent ,uncontaminated ‘you’…ask her what she wants out of life. Discover your roots …and then march towards your dream…your ‘own’ dream”.
“For whom Diya? Who needs me?”
“The one who is in search of you Brishti. The one who will accept you as what you are….and be with you to share your sweet and bitter moments….”
Suddenly the first golden ray of the rising sun touched Brishti’s forehead…the night had passed and the world was getting back to life…..as Diya’s eyes disappeared fast, Brishti noticed a beautiful light in them…she was not sure what her last words meant.
It was the new year.The locality looked so fresh and green in the faint light of the dawn….the sky was so clear…within a couple of hours the world would rise to celebrate a “happy new year”.Brishti would soon steal back to the warm comfortable mess of blankets and pillows in her room.
For the last time, Brishti looked at the rising red ball in the east. She decided to pray for a grand success in her exams in the New Year…but somehow, she was amazed to find herself praying for “the one who would….” [ By Antara Kundu ]