Revival, inspiration, serenity and what not? Find all that ‘she’ experienced in “An unexpected journey!”
Everything appeared smoky to my vision. You might think it is because of the weary eyes and ageing. No! It wasn’t that. Not only for this old lady, in the winter, won’t the hill-side be dim for anyone? The bus was moving at a snail’s pace and I comfortably rested on the push back seat while the fresh breath of virgin oxygen cleansed my lungs. Travelling alone still continues to give me pleasure, as well as pride. You might wonder if it isn’t about seclusion or loneliness. But I call it as independence and confidence. The misty hills, the lush green vegetation, the vibrant dancing flowers, the dew drop, the serene cloudy sky through the window of my seat… what more should I ask for? I was hooked to this breath taking landscape and felt myself hugged by nature’s hands.
“Grannie…! Grannie…! you got to get down!” I woke up from my doze to the roar of the cleaner boy of the bus, at the top of his voice. I quickly reached at my baggage and carefully stepped down out of the bus. It was late in the night and I couldn’t find any rental autos or taxis. In about a few steps distance, there was a sodium street light sending its rays brightly over the place. Moving closer to it, I tried searching for the contact in my mobile. I didn’t know why I wasn’t able to gather strength enough to stand on my toes steadily. Out of the blue, I couldn’t conquer myself from falling down as everything around me started spinning. There came this young girl who saved me from an utmost adversity by giving her hand for support.
“Oh, Grannie, are you alright? Where are you heading in this icy cold winter night? Looking up to her, I told, “Thank you and… I’m ok… I am ok dear little lady.” I just grabbed a bottle of water from my baggage and started drinking. Water, the elixir of life, saved my senses. Looking upon that young girl, I continued, “I Just got down from the bus. You see, the journey these days is very tiresome… Can you… can you please arrange some taxi to ‘Nishabdh Home?” She responded, “Oh… it is a shelter home for elders’ right? Grannie… its nearly 20 kms away… I don’t think it’s safe to travel now as the weather is too bad.” Listening to it, I felt chillness through my nervous system and felt trapped in middle of the night, at a new place. “Uhh… then…now what do I do… Hmmm actually the bus was delayed by few hours. There shouldn’t have been a problem if it had arrived little earlier…” I wrinkled my forehead in worry. “Grannie!”, She called me gracefully. “If you don’t mind, can you come and stay with me tonight…I will help you to be in Nishabdh Home by tomorrow morning”
Her home was a tiny one, with all luxuries compactly arranged. It was seen that she stays single. She quickly prepared sizzling hot bread upma along with a vegan soup, which not only treated my taste buds but also keyed up my spirit. She gave me a woollen shawl compassionately and said “See, how you’re shivering, stay warm”. As I was completely feeling more composed and pleased, I told her “I’m more grateful to you little lady… you’re so kind and may you be blessed with all the good.” Followed by a magnificent smile, she asked “Are you staying in Nishabdh Home, grannie?, where did you go?”
Putting a smile on my face I answered, “No, little lady… I am coming from chennai. I am an educator and I have been teaching various vocational skills and was serving and helping the needy people since my young age. I didn’t find myself a family as I was immersed in the service. Now, people ask me to wind up my calling and to take rest as my hairs have turned grey. And its also my wish to spend my last phase of life in a beautiful hill-side. Nishabh home will be perfect for me. So that has brought me here.”
There was a beautiful drawing book on the table of her living room. It was a page turner that contained different pictures of dresses with alluring modern patterns. “Oh, they were designed by me, grannie… I’m a fashion designer” she remarked with pride.
While turning the pages, I saw a photograph inserted in the last page, I took it closer to my eyes and it appeared that the face in it was familiar. Threading back the memories, I recollected that the lady in the photograph as the one who was my domestic help in my young days. She was a devadasi and she escaped from her village once she found herself pregnant. She wanted to raise her kid to be self-reliant and successful. Later, she disappeared all of a sudden as she was chased by her villagers. Before I could enquire her about the details of the picture, she shell-shocked me.
“She is my mom; grannie… she looks beautiful isn’t it? But she is no more now. She has been my inspiration to become a designer. She has never been to school grannie. She was working as a domestic help for livelihood in the beginning. And, there was a generous lady, who educated and guided my mom to be independent and she had taught her tailoring too. Later, my mom happened to settle down in this place and pursued her only acquired skill of stitching and that’s how she brought me up with nice education and decent living.”
I hurriedly got on to the first bus to Chennai, while the young girl was still sleeping in her home. I never expected this journey back to Chennai. I never thought a small training on a skill can make huge difference on some one’s life.The morning sun briskly stood and sent its radiant beam from above the hills. I wiped down the tears rolling down,my vision appeared as bright as ever. Nothing was stopping me to get back to my place and continue to teach and educate the needy poor on essential skills of life which I have been doing all my life, but now with more passion and dedication. Never mind the age, the young girl’s success tale made me to feel like born again. !