HOPE: It was mid-October. It was still raining. Then I was part of a Red Cross Team which visited the interior areas of darbhanga district where there was an outbreak of cholera. We reached that village Maliabagh in the afternoon. We visited a house where a boy, all of eleven years, was down with cholera. Looking at him I was quiet sure that there was not much time left for him. He was quiet pale. “Will he be all right?” asked her mother. The doctor smiled and said, “Of Corse, just hope for the best.” After the treatment when we got out I asked the doctor why he lied, he just calmly answered, “I just gave her hope, and she has right to hope for the best as you do”. I was supposed to say something in reply, but believe me at that moment I was hoping that the boy would be all right.

LOVE:  Saranjit was in shilling after 5 years. This time around he came to work on a project of his multinational company. Five years earlier he had come with his wife Priya to celebrate their 1st anniversary. They had stayed with a Bengali family that time around. This time as well Mr. Chatterjee came to receive Saranjit.

On their way home Mr. Chatterjee asked Saranjit” why haven’t you come with Priya?” Saranjit didn’t reply. Mr. Chatterjee asked the same question at least five times, but the answer was always silence. Sometimes later he asked, “Is everything well and good between you two?” Saranjit replied that they had gotten divorced. “Did she leave you or did you leave her?” asked Mr. Chatterjee. “Love has left us” replied Saranjit modestly. A strong silence was only there to follow.

FEAR: When he was a child he had fear of ghosts, mother said “There is no need to be afraid of ghosts.” His fear vanished. When he was a kid he had a fear of darkness, father said,” there is no need to be afraid of darkness. His fear vanished. When he was a teen he had fear of swimming, his elder brother said,” there is no need to be afraid of swimming”. His fear vanished. When he was a young man he had fear a fear of marriage, friends said,” there is no need to be afraid of marriage”. His ear vanished. When he was a married man he had a fear of fatherhood, his wife said there is no need to be afraid of fatherhood, his fear vanished.

Now he is an old man and he does not fear of ghosts, darkness, swimming, marriage or fatherhood. But now he is afraid of just one thing…he has no fear at all. No one can overcome fear in his lifetime.

SOCIETY: She was walking down the street with her mother. Everyone in the market was staring at her. That girl, only of thirteen years of age was pregnant. People were laughing at her. Some even passed comments both on girl and her mother. She was the trending topic for that day in the small market. Everyone there was giving her a character certificate because of her pregnancy.

The little girl had stopped bothering herself with these things. She had stopped many things. She had stopped going to school, meeting friends, dancing like crazy. She was so lively seven months ago. Little had she known that, she would undergo something like this; she was scared to think about that night when she was brutally raped by two men thrice of her age.

After some days she realized that she was pregnant, and she couldn’t abort the birth due to some complications. She did not know what the society would think of those men after that day but she had definitely turned into a slut.

BEAUTY: Winter is terrible in Delhi.  I had visited Delhi in the winter of 2001 when I was 10 years old. I was there with my mom to attend the marriage of our family friend. Dubey uncle who was getting married was very fond of me. I remember a particular incident; I met Suraj uncle who had come with his wife. He was of the dapper type but his wife had a burnt face, and was very ugly (to me as a child). When she tried to kiss me on my cheeks, taking me into her arms I was quiet petrified because of her looks. She felt that, and left me with a pale smile.

That afternoon I was sitting right there where suraj uncle was talking to my mother. “Ruchi is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen”, said suraj uncle to my mother. Believe me I could not stop laughing that time because he was talking so about his wife. Suraj uncle had noticed it and smiled just like ruche aunt. My mother told me to go away. I also felt sorry for my deeds but I kept wondering as to why he was lying.

On our way back to home mama told me” Why are you so afraid of Ruchi?”. “She is ugly” I replied. My mother just patted on my head and said” Do you know why she has a burnt face. And do you know why? Because she was trying to save her sister from being teased, that’s why.”

“Now you may not, but someday you will understand that beauty is much more than a pretty face” mother told me that day. I was sure that I understood. Now after thirteen years I want to kiss Ruchi aunty and tell her” You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen”.

 

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