By A Firefly’s Glow
By A Firefly’s Glow3 mins 550 3 mins 550
”Is it painful, mumma? For the firefly...” a little voice asked from under the thin, white blanket. Nalini looked up from her phone screen. There was indeed a firefly in the room, most probably flown in through the half-open windows. It was quite unusual for fireflies to fly this high but Nalini believed in miracles. She had to, her little daughter was one, after all!
”No beta, it’s not really fire. So, no No pain.” Nalini managed a weak smile and looked out the window. The fireworks were awesome in this part of town. Most buildings looked resplendent, adorned with coloured rice-lights or the latest LED flicker lights imported from China. The dark, moonless sky lit up every few minutes in multi coloured, psychedelic pyrotechnics while the cacophony of exploding crackers married with blaring horns and the incessant roar of traffic wafted up from the street below. Nalini shooed away the firefly, and closed the windows. Her little girl was already asleep; she never stopped marvelling at how she could fall asleep within seconds. Another miracle.
The faint notification tone heralded a new message. Nalini walked back to her uncomfortable metal chair and picked up the phone. It was her mother’s message, “Be practical, Nalini. You can’t live the rest of your life with Ram’s memories. And Alisha needs a father figure. At least, meet this new guy once.”
Nalini closed her eyes tight, trying to prevent her tears from falling. She didn’t have the luxury to shed tears. For a moment she was glad that her mom was living with her elder sister in her hometown, believing that being a single parent was her younger daughter’s only problem.
Nalini clicked open the little crowdfunding app on her phone again, for the millionth time today. It still showed a shortfall of one lakh rupees with only four more days to go. She couldn’t give up, not now, not today. It was Diwali after all; when good is supposed to triumph over evil. In the dim light of the zero watt bulb in the Government hospital ward, Nalini could see her little Alisha’s bald head and frail body, battered by chemotherapy. Staring at her daughter’s face, she almost missed spotting that little moving spot of light hovering near Aisha’s head - the little firefly was back. Nalini had almost got up to shoo away the persistent pest when her phone rang in a new notification from the crowdfunding app “Anonymous donation of fifty thousand rupees to little Alisha Sharma. Happy Diwali!”
Nalini looked at her sleeping child and the firefly still hovering around her head like a tiny guardian angel. She walked up and threw open the windows. The fireworks in the sky were still showering blessings like a million tiny fireflies proclaiming the victory of hope over despair. She let her tears fall down into the noisy street below. Finally, by the Firefly’s glow, she had found hope again!