Allright! So here’s another one of those original writings. Although for this one, I’ve taken a few hints from some other topics, but the sum total of it resulted in this yet another short story. Unlike the other story, this one is very ‘Indian’ in nature .Read on and tell if me what you thought about it down below in the comments!
A MOTHER’S SACRIFICE:
As Shilpa stared out the window of the speeding train into the inky blackness outside; with her four year old daughter, Ria sleeping beside her, Her mind flashed back in time- The excitement she had felt on her wedding day, her husband’s dreams of making a huge success in the sugarcane fields, the beautiful green meadows and tilling the sugarcane fields until evening. The first three years of her life had been wonderful. Five years later Ria was born and the Shilpa’s happiness knew no bounds!
But all of this changed a year later when tragedy struck and Shilpa’s husband fell sick and passed away leaving her with a young baby and fields to manage on her own. For the next two years, Shilpa struggled to make things work but her stars seemed to be against her. The rains failed and the sugarcane yield was poor. She shuddered remembering going to the moneylender to beg for money and the debt she knew she had to repay later. With a sigh, Shilpa brought herself back to the present. She was determined that she wouldn’t give up and that nothing could stop her from giving Ria the best of the world.
She was on her way to Mumbai -the city of dreams! Her cousin brother, Amir had had told her how she could easily make a living there. He had promised to let her stay with his family and help her get a job. So, plucking up the courage, Shilpa put together her few belongings and decided to go to Mumbai.
The next day, the train came to a screeching halt in at the VT station in Mumbai. Shilpa was startled out of her dreams when she looked out of the window! Never had she seen so many people all at once! Shilpa and Ria hesitatingly stepped out onto the platform wondering how they would find Amir in this sea of people. After a few minutes of searching, they managed to spot him. He was amused to see their astonished faces as they looked outside at the fancy cars and the tall glass buildings around.
“Come on! You’ll get used to this this soon! Let’s go home and get you settled.” , he said.
‘Home’ a little run-down house in a crowed suburb in Mumbai. A string for drying clothes separated the tiny kitchen area with the living area where Amir’s family sat or slept on mats layed on the cement floor. Shilpa and Ria made themselves comfortable in a corner of the room, trying not to get in the way of her cousin’s family. And so began their life in the city!
Amir got Shilpa a job at a construction site where she worked the whole day carrying cement and stones. She would get extremely tired by the end of the day but she was happy that by the end of the month she would have saved up some money to pay back her debts. She really looked forward to Sundays when Ria and her would go exploring in the city. Every evening, she made time to teach Ria the alphabet and how to count. She told herself that she would do whatever it takes to see that Ria was well educated. Next year, she had planned to enroll Ria in a small municipal school.
The days passed by and soon summer crept in. Shilpa worked hard under the scorching sun. At times, she almost fainted under the load of the stones. She knew this was partly because of not eating her breakfast which she had been giving to RIa as she wanted to make sure Ria would grow up to be strong and healthy. Just a day before, the supervisor had yelled at her for resting a while. Nevertheless, things were starting to settle down and Shilpa was happy that life was finally peaceful again.
And then disaster struck! One Sunday, as Shilpa and Ria were strolling down the road, Ria’s eyes fell upon a beautiful doll and she shrieked with delight and said, “Look mummy! That’s such a beautiful doll! Can I please have it?” She looked at it so lovingly, that Shilpa saw a lady’s purse sticking out of her purse and on an impulse she grabbed it and tried to run. Before she knew it, she was surrounded by people who caught her, beat her up and dragged her to the nearest police station. She tried to apologise to the lady, explaining to her that she had never done such a thing before and to give her a chance for the sake of her daughter who was sobbing loudly in the corner. But her apology fell on deaf ears and the lady said that she was an irresponsible mother to teach her daughter how to steal and that she would make sure that she went to jail for it.
And so, Shilpa was sent to jail for six months and Ria was sent to a foster home. Amir refused to see her, no wanting to get into trouble with the police.As Shilpa tossed and turned relentlessly in her narrow bed, her mind flashed back to her village and she realised that life was much peaceful over there. Everyone knew each-other. She had been a fool not to realise this sooner. And with these thoughts passing through her mind, she spent six months in jail.
Soon she was released. She earned a little money by weaving some baskets. She had decided that before picking Ria up, she would buy her the doll with whatever money had. With the doll wrapped up in colourful paper, she went to find her daughter. At the foster home, they told her that a young couple had come to take Ria and wanted to adopt her, if possible.
Shilpa was shocked! She found the address and at once rushed there, determined to take Ria away. She stood on the roadside outside the tall building where her daughter now lived. She stopped and asked herself what she really had to offer her child- a lifetime of love, but nothing secure like this family. With a heavy heart she decide that if she wanted a wonderful dream for her daughter she had to give her up.
She turned back and with tears in her eyes, she took a bus to VT station.” A single ticket to the village please”, she told the man at the ticket counter.