The Girl called life

9 08 2007

I am not Flynn and she is not my Anna, but yes, I guess, she did teach me many things which only an Anna could teach to her Flynn.

I met her in one carnival. She was seven years old perhaps, and she was lost, this I am sure. But she didn’t panic I don’t know why. Kids of her age are meant to panic even if they see their cousins, they are supposed to cry even if they are taken away from their mothers, but she didn’t cry. She stood near the ferry’s wheel with enthrallment. I just glanced her and thought with exasperation –“God, the parents of these days!”. And I edged past her to buy the cotton candy.

“Hey Mister, I would accept that if you offer me one.” Those words if came from a girl of my age, I would have been in the seventh orbit. But it was not from any teenage feminine voice , but a sweet tender voice of that girl. For a spilt second, my face was an index of all possible emotions a boy of my age could have. Disappointment, puzzlement, surprise and a whole lot of emotions, which I don’t even have name for. You see, there was this girl of hardly my half the age asking me a candy floss as if umm….well… her boyfriend??? But there was something on her face, and innocent streak, a sweetness which this guy couldn’t resist. I offered her mine one and bought another.

It was awkward. There was this girl of half my age putting me in a predicament, of what should I do next? Leave her over there for her parents to come back or stay with her till they came back. But there is one potential problem, I could be misunderstood by her parents. I asked her what’s her name. She replied “my parents call me Sharmu, but its Sharmila”

“Hmmm….”, now what next? I cant talk about weather to a seven year old girl, can I ?

“Its hot these days, isn’t it?”

“Huh?”

“Never mind”, I muttered…

“Okay Sharmu, bye…my friends are waiting over there, I got to go…bye”, I started inching out.

“Hey wait you didn’t tell me your name”, called out Sharmila

“Its Soham”, increasing the void between us even more…

“Soham, wont you show me your friends??”

I was puzzled. Come on, she was just a seven year old girl talking to a seventeen year old boy with such finesse that it was awkward…

I was standing out there for a second or two, thinking…no, not thinking, I was just doing something except thinking…

“Okay come on…”I waived her towards me….

She ran towards me and held my long fingers with her little fingers mustering all her might.

And that’s how we met.

 

I think she was perhaps too tough to even accept that she was insecure. I brought her home and despite my mother’s initial amazement and protest she stayed with us. The first week we waited for any missing report from local police. And then we waited some more. My mother tried convincing herself hard that she is a guest of a few days, but she and yes…providence made it sure nothing came up. As for me, she already jelled great with me. After the death of my father, me and my mom lived somehow from hand to mouth and managed to keep our two bedroom home. Sharmu came and she brought some headaches for my mom and some welcome change in my life. She came as a sunshine to our lives.

 

My mom, made it sure that she received her academic lessons from her and I finish my studies in time. She was intelligent. She grasped quick and learnt easily. In fact should I say she knew perhaps more than her age. She could really read minds and put seventeen year old guys like me in awkward positions.

 

It was in one of those times that I understood the real heart and mind behind that frail body.I was doing my work on the bench under the sole light of the beige table lamp and she was sitting on the floor solving, I think, a jigsaw puzzle.

“Soham, you need to stop chasing that girl ,you know”,

I was taken aback literally. Shell-shocked to mention the least. I have a crush that itself is‘confidential information’. This is an information which people know, as they say, “only on a need-to-know basis”. People like, that girl, her best friend, my not so best friend, but Sharmu? No she definitely didn’t really qualify herself in that list.

“What???”, feigning ignorance is the best defense against such unproved charges.

“Okay she does look good, but no, not of your type…”

“Hey Sharmu, what are you speaking of?”

“Hey Soham..”- no bhaiyya or anything else.-“don’t feign. You really need to do either two things, go propose her, she knows that only from her best friend, or leave her. You really shouldn’t be running away like this you know…”

She didn’t make any sense to me, but I was afraid that she did speak reality. Never could I bring myself to face the realities like a man, but I think she splashed it like a glass of cold water. She went back to her puzzle and I went back to mine.

“How did she know??”

That night I double checked my diary but it was not moved even an inch. It was safely tucked away in its solitude under the pile of old books of the drawer. That night I really thought, I refused to believe that a few words of a girl is making me think like this. I really cant run away from anything. Thinking ten years from that day I think she taught me one of the most important lesson in my life. I cant run away from my problems.

 

What followed that night was hilarious. I went upto her(my lady love) the next day and proposed her. And the entire school laughed. I laughed too, but it was not from embarrassment but it was that of satisfaction. I did face my fears, so what if they turn out to be true. I didn’t run away. She was supposed to turn me down, and she did. Strangely, very strangely I didn’t get upset. I was far more happier that I was a man at last.

 

Did I ever mention that she was a chatter box at times, chattering away incessantly while at times she used to remain silent as if she is contemplating on the very meaning of life itself.

It was one of those latter times that I got my second lesson. I was reading away merrily the newspaper and she was seated in the yogic lotus position. I don’t know from where did she learn that, but yes she was very serenely calm in her expressions. I did peek at times from the cover of the newspaper but found a petite little girl serenely sitting in the lotus position contemplating with her eyes closed. Sometime her brows used to flinch but it relaxed in its own way. I did find it very amusing but nevertheless feeling lucky for the peace, Sharmila has agreed to bestow on me.

 

“Soham, do you believe in God?”, she posed that question suddenly.

“Err…umm.. yes why not?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why do you say so? I do go to temple and pray over there, believe in the rituals, yeah I do believe in God”

“Hmmmm….” She got that gesture from me. Wonder how much does a human imitate the people around him.

“But you know, even the rats stay in the temple, do you think they believe in God?”

Bam…there goes the hammer of logic. Sharmila could be probing and incisive with her cold logic at times that a person if didn’t know better she would have been suspected for being an hedonist.

“Ummm…err… I don’t know, I don’t think that qualifies as staying in temple strictly for spiritual sense”, I am speaking to a nine year old, mind you. (It had been roughly two and a half years since Sharmu came to stay with us).

 

“Soham, going to temple or doing rites doesn’t mean that you really believe in God, if you believe in him, one whom you haven’t seen , then how cant you believe in his creation. In the fellows human’s pain and agony. Don’t you think we need to give them our helping hand?”

 

Double whammy. “That’s right. I do give alms to the first beggar I see on the way to college.”

She let out a smile, which just made me feel that, I cant run away from somethings. Lesson 1. Two years ago. She could really make people feel small.

 

She gave me the third and her final lesson before even I was old enough to understand her first ones.

She was coming from school one dusk when a truck came and ran over her petite ,weak body. She died thirty six hours later with plastic pipes going inside her to support the life which in many ways strengthened my family. Her vitals were dipping and her once lively eyes were hovering around that fine line which we all are afraid to cross. I sat beside her for those entire thirty six hours. During her final hours she returned from coma and spoke to me these final words-

“Soham, you know the prayer of St. Francis:- God give me the will to change things which I can, grant me the strength to accept those things I cannot change, and the wisdom to understand the difference”,I nodded in frustration. I realized what she meant but refused to understand it.

 

And then she was gone.It has been ten long years since I saw Sharmila, but those words of her are still fresh, as fresh as the sweet fragrance of roses in the springs.I think those three lessons of my life came at times when I was least prepared to hear them, but the right time to make me understand their importance. In many ways I feel I didn’t bring her home, she always knew where she will be going. I didn’t help her that evening,it was she who chose me.

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3 responses

9 08 2007
The times gone by « The Soul and The Witness

[…] The Soul and The Witness My Soul is my witness,my words are my dreams « The Girl called life […]

1 09 2007
Magsearch :)

nice story..the three lesson are too good..

20 04 2008
Anna

This was incredible and gave me chills. So well written.

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