As fate would have it
A story scripted by destiny where individuals hardly matter
Deep inside the gorges of lively mountains wherein steadfast succession one stone replaces the other throughout centuries and where sanctuaries of a vast diversity inhabit, a cluster of nomadic clans procured a niche to survive. Undergoing a huge transition, these tribals changed with their settlement and gradually demonstrated the art of civilization highly governed by only the “super animal’’ creatures. Once again the green gold lost to the brutality of alloy weapons, the gurgles of the stream lost their voice to the filthy adornment of these dwellers, the land lost its virginity to ploughs slowly and steadily turning infertile with each passing day; but Nature never complained. She went forth to face these trails inspire of being innocent, silently paving way for regeneration of the forgotten treasures that humanity robbed Her of. She somberly filled the buttercups with milk, the glow worms with an incense of starlight, the lonely patches of dead farmland with agitating generosity of Her workers, the watchful wilderness with purity of thought, the hermit with belief, the fog with dewy odour, the night sky with buzzing planets and once again the thoroughfare of embezzlement by humanity was ousted by the caressing Fingers of Nature.
The regularity of human race was paced out silently by the sensible innocence of the children. They went about their own, not really absorbing what is around the routine of the elderly life. Vandalism of the rules and regulations brandished by the older folk was their duty; lost in the maze of time and never determined to listen to political or economical hopelessness. Around the sticky wastepaper’s of inexpensive candies, the amazing sluggishness of earthworms, the overwhelming vivacity of an automobile that ran far away, the short noisy plays about weddings and funerals of toys, the fidgeting done to a poor dog in a wet lane until it barked and all were scared, the constant berating got by parents on picking noses or eating mud; rotated the ease of these special beings of Nature for whom She had suffered the innumerable tufts of poisonous thorns that ruptured Her bosom but instead She rejuvenated the sores with compassionate understanding and patience. But time ticks on, touching lives as a feather kisses the earth and in due course wafts away as if it had been here for a fraction of a second but changed course of the creatures forever, as age cannot be reversed. Children grew to maturity but inside they were still innocent of fate, insane we can say of what has been decreed upon them by the supreme Ink.
A family almost similar to every other grew besides an old walnut tree; the father a meager woodcutter and the mother its homemaker. The family dwelt in a two storey mud house with a thatched roof and scanty furnishings. It had four daughters and two sons who bore the brunt of poverty along with their parents. A woodcutter earns hardly enough to sustain himself and his family but the ever increasing demands of the growing children added to the sky rocketing prices of the market made life difficult for each member. On top of that being a father of four daughters added to his misery not because he was biased but of the fact that marriage was a custom that needed gigantic leaps in the vociferous society both for finding a suitable mate and for decorating each daughter with immense substantial commodities which would help allure both the mate and the gossip mongers. Nature alone knew his state of mind when he fell from a tree and broke his left knee leaving him crippled for life. Inspite of being disoriented, he never lacked courage and perseverance and supported his family, running errands. He married off the eldest daughter with fanfare though she was only 16 but he had his compulsions. No one, absolutely no one came to help, in fact his own relatives inhabited his house like ticks, though they were much well off than him.
Something else was in store for him. His wife who had been his sole support and manager of the kids fell ill; not bodily but mentally. She was disturbed deep inside her mind; her soul was shattered by some unknown force. An orthodox man, he went pillar and post to the shrines in the catchment and also outside their district for invoking the blessings of various saints and their followers for a cure to his wife but all in vain. He had no other option for he could not see his children suffering under the tumult caused by his disturbed wife nor could he act a blind man against the atrocity done by vagabonds. He had to take this extreme step. A family far away in another district wanted a household help. He could send one of his daughters there. Not knowing about the climate or the society he prepared his second eldest daughter to earn for the family. She was 12 and named Sheehan.
Sheehan was not a teenager; she was but a small girl child who against all odds had decided to wager herself for a family which had provided for her, though not always were her tantrums addressed to because of their ill mother. She was a spirited young girl who crossed all barriers to bridge the huge abyss of poverty. Shehnaz entered a new dimension in childhood; that of being fend and fending for others. She found a loving family who treated her as their own child; she found peace, she found food. Gradually time passed and she transformed into a dame, a damsel who was the envy of all in her remote village. Helping her father financially, she gained a respectable dignity amongst all other children; now she was the sustainer of the little ones, their guardian. Her ill mother was now treated in a well known hospital because the family she was staying with was a doctor’s. Medicines for free, regular checkups and proper settlement in that hospital were all financed by the generous doctor. After treatment her mother was boarded home with her husband .Sheehan was now at ease about the situation of her family. As fate would have it, her mother died few weeks after the return and the family lost one of its supporting pillars.Shehnaz was heartbroken but maintained her poise as life in a big town had modeled her into a self substantial person. She guarded her siblings and comforted her bereaved father. One chapter in her life had completely turned over and now she started another one as an engaged female. Her father had tied another one of his daughters to a distant relative. She could do nothing but accept.
After a year, the father during one of his errands felt dizzy about his health but ignored. It happened many a time and when he reported this to the doctor his world was undecided. He could not believe that Nature had put him to yet another test. He feared to disclose this to his underage family but symptoms show. On one of his visits to the doctor’s house, he choked and the disease was known. As fate would have it, he was suffering from throat cancer.
One year passed and away he went to his wife leaving behind his small heartbroken family. The daughter elder to Sheehan was married to her cousin during his lifetime but the other four were too small to get engaged. The doctor’s family married Sheehan to her fiancée with as much pomp and show as every family would in that town. The younger sister of Sheehan was brought home to replace her as their new daughter while the two little male kids aged 6 and 8 were admitted to a nearby religious school started by a Muslim preacher.
Now the boys have reached heights in learning the scriptures and are well cared by both the school and the doctor. The property their father had left behind in their village has been well marked out and the necessary documents and formalities dealt with legally. The new daughter of the family although is of help to everyone but is embedded into her stuttering world of ‘autism’; as fate would have it.
(Adeela Hameed is from St. Stephen’s College Delhi)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST
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