aaji - my grandmother
by suyash bhardwaj
CHAPTER - 10
She was walking on a familiar road. She remembers it. This is the path she takes from school to her house. She continues to walk forward and reaches where the road forks into two paths. She takes the path which leads to the top of the hill. As soon as she reached the peak of the hill, she saw a similar landscape of the setting sun and a falling rock with a beautiful white trail. She stood next to the old tree and saw him.
The boy watched her and smiled. The girl watched him and returned a smile. The girl slowly approached the boy.
The boy did not say a word. They stood there and watched the falling rock. The sun was about to set.
“Did you find anything?” asked the boy.
“The diary was written to you by your mother.”
The boy looked eager to know more about what was written in the diary.
“From what I could understand, your father was not only a zamindar. He was a freedom fighter. He dedicated his life for the independence of our country. He funded the arms resistance against the colonial rulers. Your mother was the daughter of the chief revolutionary of a secret organization that worked against the colonial government. They married. They carried on their operations in the disguise of a wealthy couple whose allegiance lies with the colonial rulers. They loved you very much. Your mother kept this diary, in case they died, for you to know the truth about them. The last note in the diary mentions how they faced grave dangers from the spies of the colonial rulers.”
“I knew they never killed me.” The boy choked up.
“What happened to them?”
“I think the spies of the colonial rulers must have killed you and your parents because of the contents in the parchments. They must have burned the whole place down and concocted a story to explain the disappearances.” Said Shanaya
“It makes sense” replied the boy
“There is only one question that remains to be asked.”
“What is my name?” asked the boy
The premonition of the inevitable had come to pass and the reality is in the face of Shanaya.
She looked at him.
“The diary is addressed to you. It does speak of your name.”
The boy lets out his breath in anticipation.
“What stops you Shanaya? This is what you wanted. To know my name and set me free from our curse.” The boy looks at her.
Shanaya couldn’t stop her tears. The boy approached her. She looked up and suddenly felt the arms of the boy reaching for her. The boy embraced her. Shanaya lost all her control and embraced him in return.
The boy jumped in the air embracing her and remained floating above the old tree. Shanaya saw the setting sun. She knew their time was up. All the adventures she had in the past couple of weeks were about to end.
The boy looked at Shanaya.
“You were the first ray of hope who saved me when I was in despair. When everything seemed dark, all doors had closed, and silence filled me. You are the light that saved me from my curse. I don’t have the foggiest of idea what love is. My soul never knew. I never knew what warmth is until I met you. Your presence fills me with warmth. I feel that is the manifestation of my love. I love you, Shanaya.”
Shanaya held his hands in hers.
“I never told you this but Shanaya means the first rays of the rising Sun.” she teared up.
“It’s a beautiful name, don’t you think?” replied the boy
“I don’t know why I arrived here. I think it was the will of the Gods that I met you. I never could have understood what love could mean had I not met you. Our fates were intertwined just like our names. Shanaya is the first rays of the rising sun and your name is the Sun. I love you, Ravi”
The green flash occurred instantaneously.
Shanaya wakes up at Ravi’s house with a diary in her hand. She sat down and hid the diary in her clothes. The rising sun across the mountain broke the dawn. The first rays of the new day touched Shanaya.
The sun rose. Watching the sun, Shanaya sobs hysterically.
CHAPTER - 11
“Amor Omnia Vincit”
Love conquers all
Shumi teared up. She never expected a story to move her so hard.
Shumi asked what happened to Shanaya.
“The villagers found her in Ravi’s house. No one dared to enter the house, and no one let her parents enter the house. The priest performed a ritual to safeguard the people, who entered the house to get Shanaya and got her out, from the effects of the ghost. The people found the parchments lying over the floor. An archaeological survey team arrived to examine those parchments. They proved the existence of a secret organization that worked under the radar and played a pivotal role in the independence struggle. Shanaya brought the valor and bravery of the unknown heroes to light. Shanaya had slept the whole day. She finally woke up. Her parents hugged her and thanked God for her safety. Everyone thought she was kidnapped from the temple by the ghost of the village. Several priests were called to exorcise and cleanse Shanaya off the effects of the ghost. Her mother told Shanaya about the dilapidated house.” Said Aaji.
“As soon as you were brought out of the house, it collapsed. Nothing remains there now. You were lucky to have been found earlier otherwise something bad could have happened.”
This event caused a huge furor in the village. A council of elders was set up to discuss the events. Shanaya narrated the whole episode. No one was ready to believe her dismissing it as one of her wild imaginations but deep within every villager thought that she was telling the truth. With the passage of time, the legend of the Zamindar died and the place had been occupied by the archaeological survey team.
The day after the annual prayer festival was ordinary for Shanaya. She was unable to return to her dream ever again. She tried her best to close her eyes and return to the place where Ravi is, but she could never return. The place did not exist anymore. There was no place to return to.
“It is sad that they could never have the love they deserved. Ravi means the sun out of which comes Shanaya, the first rays of the sun. Both are inseparable from each other.” thought Shumi.
“Yes,” said Aaji.
“I will go out for a minute, Aaji,” Said Shumi with her phone as she dialed Vikram.
Aaji watched Shumi move out of the balcony. She made her way for her drawer. She returned to her chair near the balcony with an old diary.
She sat down to read tears in her eyes resurfaced as she looked at the setting sun.
CHAPTER - 12
The ghost was sitting near the window. He was happy that he could hear a sound other than his own. The sound of thunder and rain grew stronger. The rain had been incessant. A girl was splashing and jumping in a puddle along the road. She was smiling, dancing and did not care about the world. A lady came shouting from the other side of the road. She caught the girl by her ears and dragged her away from the puddle. she vanished beyond the thick rain.
"I wish I could meet her".
"Shanaya! Such a beautiful name," said Ravi