Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Night After The Storm


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 45; the forty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Photo taken from Google Images

Parul was the first one who saw it. She had been waiting outside their hut the entire day, hovering around their calf in the hope that it would give a bit more dung to make into cakes. But the calf had been strangely nervous that day; tossing its small head and moving around the post to which it was tethered.

After finishing her morning chores, Parul hung around the tiny stretch of land before their house, collecting flowers and spinning out a game to pass the time.

She was a ‘Phool-wali’ that day, a woman who sold flowers. At the same time, she was also the ‘Memsaab’ down from Kolkata who was in search of beautiful flowers untouched by the pollution of her city. Varying between the coarse, local language used in her place and the polished Bangla she had seen Heroines speak on Gopi Kaku’s black and white television, she had great fun playing the roles of the two imaginary women.

She paused in her game only to make faces to her neighbor’s kid who purposefully came to show off his school-going status every day. On asking why she wasn’t allowed to go to school anymore, she had received a slap in answer. Her dreams of going to school had gone with her father who had taken his life when his crops failed two years back. Parul had been 8 then.

Her mother was never the same after the incident; she relapsed into long stretches of inactivity and silence frequently. The tiny piece of land in their village Dumardari they had leased for cultivation was their only income.

The daily inventory games were not too bad but Parul missed school. Just as she missed her Baba. As she was wrapping up the day’s play, she felt a cold, wet thing hit her face. She blinked in rapid succession, and lifted her hand just in time to catch another one on her palm. Her eyes widened at the size; they were as big as 2 Rupee coins. She glanced up then, to see clouds as black as soot rolling in.

“Ma!” she called excitedly, rushing in. She announced her find and started dancing, “Brishti hobe, brishti hobe!” unable to contain her joy. Her excitement on the possibility of rain was wiped clean at the sight of her mother’s face though; she had a look similar to the one she had sported when the news of her Baba had come. She tugged at her mother’s arm asking what the matter was but she never got a reply. Instead, her mother dragged her inside, collected all their belongings in one lump and waited, with a haunted look in her eyes.

Wind howled around their hut like a hundred handed monster that had come to rip their lives apart. Trees clashed as if in a wrestling match, intent to bring each other down. And it rained, Oh how it rained!

Parul wordlessly pointed to a stream of water that trickled down a small fissure in their mud hut. Her mother averted her eyes away from it, drawing her head into her lap. But Parul couldn’t take her eyes away. She was entranced by it- that small river that slowly crawled from the walls and seeped beneath the mat they were sitting on. When she next lifted her eyes to trace it, it wasn’t there anymore. It was replaced by two rivers much larger, much wider, much faster and within the blink of her eye, they were beneath her.

Everything became cold then, not a surface of their hut was dry anymore. When the first tree hit their house and shook her very bones, Parul started feeling afraid. It hadn’t been like this the last time. Last time Baba had been with them and his powerful build was enough to comfort her from all storms that came and went.

Parul hid her face in her mother’s damp sari, trying to gain comfort from her body smell but soon there was no smell except that of the earth along with the water that was spinning out of control to cleanse it. The next time Parul dared to lift her eyes up, there were no rivers anymore. The rivers had all conspired to swallow their house till it became one.

Bit by bit it crumpled, the hut her Baba had built so painstakingly year after year every time nature found its prey. By the time the roof was on their heads, Parul was shivering with cold, her fingers interlaced with her mother’s frozen blue.

She lost count of days it rained; it seemed like a night with no morning in its tow. Her mother’s prayers had fallen silent after a while so she picked up from there, offering all her rag dolls to all the Gods she knew in turn.

When the storm finally ended, night had fallen.

Her attempts to get a coherent action from her mother failed; the haunted look in her eyes on seeing the ruins they were left in wouldn’t just go away. Parul tried her best not to cry but the sight of their hut buried in the ground floating in water weakened all her resolution. She glanced one last time at her mother before leaving, her small steps hurrying her away from the place and she never once looked back.

The next morning, when Parul’s mother finally realizing her daughter was missing forced her weakened body outside, she was met with a sight that brought tears to her eyes.

Parul was patting the place where the wall of their hut had once stood with fresh mud, refusing to get defeated by the water that seemed to engulf her each attempt. Her hands worked with a feverish determination and her eyes told that she had been at her task the whole night.

Feeling her mother’s eyes on her, she looked up and smiled and that moment, her mother’s heart lit up with warmth she had not felt in years.

If her daughter could see a flicker of light in the darkest night after the storm, she had to be blind to not see the radiance of the morning after. She knelt down beside Parul and gave strength to her small hands working on their home and bit by bit they built hope again. 


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24 comments:

  1. awesome thinking, i cudnt have imagined that a girl like u cud have thought so much about these images of life!!!

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    1. My mind seems to be infested with all these thoughts to be honest, when I am not wasting my time on Facebook :P I have often wondered about the lives of the people who live beyond the glossy roads of my place and the cemented houses of my Locality. The fields I see whenever I travel from my college with the tiny mud huts in abundance, make me ponder a lot. I am just glad I had an opportunity to write this.
      I am glad you liked it :)

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  2. Nice one Kirti. Simple yet so touching .Your post reflects reality & truth. While reading it, somewhere I found the same girl within you as well. I agree with whoever commented above. Happy to see you this way. Would love to see such posts in future (In case you love to write..!)

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    1. Thank you Rishabh, it is great to have you commenting on my space :) I am sure you would find such Paruls in all of us! I believe that there is a side to us all that always believes in keeping the hope alive.
      I hope more such stories come out of my pen too :)

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  3. So deep, Kirti !! I can imagine the whole scene, and how difficult their lives will be... yet there's hope somewhere....and that hope keeps us alive, does it not? All the Best for BAT...:)

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    1. It does Sreeja, hope truly does keep us alive! I am for example, alive in the hope that my Hogwarts letter will come someday :D I am glad you liked my story Sreeja, I definitely loved yours :)
      Thank you so much :)

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  4. that's the only post which depicts the harsh reality of the night after the storm which takes away houses,people,trees,animals,etc away,other, very well written post

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    1. Thank you Cifar. I have wondered a lot about how the night after the storm affects the lives of such people, hence this post. I am glad you liked it :)

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  5. You know, my dearest kiddo Kirta, you are one of the best writers I know :) and this, this story of yours is my favorite to date. I hope you win, you certainly deserve to :)

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    1. Yay yay yay yay!! Can I please not stop Yay-ing?? I even forgive the kiddo and Kirta thing in my excitement of you commenting on my blog.
      And I am SO happy you liked this one, so very happy :)

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  6. It's kind of shocking how often small children are often the most wise ones and full of hope. An infant will fail countless times to perform an activity yet he will never give up. The strength displayed Parul is the thing that her needed the most in such times.
    Another beautiful post of yours Kirti. You came up with this in a span of 2 hours and yet you say you do not write well. :P

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    1. Children truly have insight into things in ways uminaginable to us.
      And yes, I did have my doubts on this way given the short time I got to write it. I am glad you liked it nevertheless! Thanks a ton Harshal :)

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  7. I could actually imagine this little girl.... You weave magic with your words... Great Work!

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    1. I am glad you could feel the magic Khushi. Thank you so much :)

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  8. Great story with vivid description.

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    1. Thank you Aativas. I loved yours a lot too :)

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  9. very nice Kirti ... a poignant tale with a message...wonderfully written :)

    All the best !

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  10. A very beautiful tale of living with hope ... loved it :-)

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    1. I am glad you liked it Amrit :) Thank you for the visit :)

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  11. Realistic and very simple. Loved your style of writing. Its reallyy brillaint. Waiting for more :)

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    1. Ah! That made my day Menachery! I am so happy you liked what I write! Keep visiting :)

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  12. nice story , infact a very motivating story ... nice work

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  13. hope i can meet u some time in HIT

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You read my thoughts. Would love it if you share yours :)