It''s all because of that marvel he carved out of that walnut wood
“Perhaps, the bad dream I saw that night was an alarm for an approaching storm in my life. I woke up suddenly, I was sweating profusely. I prayed to Almighty for mercy and prepared breakfast for Yasir.
“Zainab, take rest, I’ll prepare the breakfast myself”.
I was expecting and it was my 9th month. Yasir kissed my forehead and was about to leave for the day’s work.
“Don’t go, stay home today”.
He looked into my eyes with love, smiled, and before leaving said, “I earn to feed you, I will hear all the stories my talkative princess crafts on Sunday. Till then think of some good names for our future child, take care”.
That day, while I was doing house-hold work, my heart was getting heavier and heavier. I left all work and sat down. Only one thought was doing rounds in my mind, ‘Yasir should be fine’.
That evening, I sat down on the veranda stairs, waiting for him. I could sense bad-luck knocking at the door.
Suddenly, I could hear a huge blast, so I rushed out immediately. There was chaos everywhere, I saw Yasir in a pool of blood, I took him in my lap, he had already breathed his last. I went unconscious. ”
“Gull, today is the first day of your business, be like your father, honest, truthful, hardworking”. Zainab kissed him on forehead, tears in her eyes, she couldn’t move out of the bed.
Zainab gave birth to two identical twins-Gull and Nargis. She had to shift to her parent’s house. Yasir’s share of property was never given to her and his assets didn’t last long.
She had to do petty jobs to feed her family, she worked as a maid in the neighbourhood houses, but wanted Gull and Nargis to get formal education. In childhood days, while Nargis would stand first in the class, Gull would be seen sketching the walls of the school. Teachers would always give excellent remarks about the kids.
Zainab would spin the yarn throughout the nights. Her health deteriorated, she developed a severe heart disease and doctor prescribed her complete bed rest. After passing his 10th standard examination, Gull was compelled to work as a servant in a neighbouring house. He would work during the day and study at night. He passed his 12th standard examination in distance mode, but wanted Nargis to attend the school regularly.
It was Saturday morning, Nargis served tea to her mother, she had butterflies in the stomach, waiting for Gull to return home with her result. A knock at the door, she rushed to open the door, her heart in her mouth, Gull kissed her forehead, his joy had no bounds, “Nargis, you have qualified medical entrance examination”. He hugged both his mother and sister, but soon realized that he was not in a position to afford Nargis’s admission fee. All their hopes started to fade. Nargis could see her dream getting shattered, even before turning to reality. The money Gull earned won’t even suffice to buy him enough medicine for his mother. Nargis came up with the idea that she would leave studies and take care of her mother. Gull was helpless.
“Open my trunk!” that voice changed the air of the room. There was nothing in the trunk except for a cloth wrapped over something. Zainab asked Gull to un-wrap the cloth. Destiny had planned a surprise for him. He fell in love with it the moment he saw it. He hadn’t seen anything as beautiful as the wall-nut wood-carved jewellery box that he was holding in his hand. The marvellous design and intricate look of the jewellery box took his heart away.
“This is the only precious thing left with me, a token of love that Yasir had gifted me on our first marriage anniversary. Go to the market place and sell it to Mr Hameed. Your father was his most preferred apprentice. This jewellery box may fetch us good amount of money, so that Nargis gets admission in medical college.” Both Nargis and Gull took a sigh of relief. The amount of money Gull got by selling the wood-carved jewellery box was enough for Nargis’s admission.
Craft practised by his father helped Gull when all other doors of help had closed. Life changed due to the craft. Gull soon joined Mr. Hameed’s karkhana and showed him his designs. Mr Hameed was impressed and Gull earned good amount of money. He completed his graduation and soon specialized himself in the craft. His unique designs and innovations were acknowledged by a businessman, who was ready to offer him a loan to start his business.
“Yesterday a servant, today a craft entrepreneur. If my sister is a doctor today, it’s due to the masterpiece that my father had carved out of walnut wood. I’m proud to be son of a wood-carving artisan. Today, I have a big family of 50 artisans working with me.”
Gull was addressing his staff on the inaugural ceremony of his wood carving business.
(Maria Wani is MCME Student at CDI, Srinagar)