Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful4 mins 302 4 mins 302
A little girl was fascinated by the beautiful flowers in the tiny garden and went to pluck one of them. Before she could touch it, felt someone's strong fingers on her shoulders. She turned back shivering it was Sundari, the Aaya of the school. She didn't say anything just pointed her finger to the girl directing her to her classroom.
Sundari was in fact ugly with one side of her cheek burnt, protruding eyes, thick eyebrows, tattoos in both hands. She was long and lanky, were sarees covering her head till temple. She was in her early forties. She worked as an Aaya in the village school's primary division. After school she worked in the school's garden taking care of the seedlings, watering them, clearing weeds, sowing seeds. She never allowed anyone to touch even a leaf. The plants, the leaves, the flowers, the thorns, were all her babies. She talked to them like a mother, laughed and even scolded them.
Sundari's life story was a strong struggle. Twenty five years ago she had joined the school as an Aaya, at that time she was in her teens. Contrary to what she is today was a lot more different at that time. She was timid , fearful and a child bride. Out of poverty her parents couldn't send her to school instead got her married to a man of forty years when she was barely fifteen. She did her best and survived two years of torture at the hands of her husband and In-laws. She bottled up her pain, was called a barren for not bearing a child. Further more, one day her husband burnt her face with a burning wood from the mud stove where she was making chapatis, the reason she served him a slightly burnt chapatti. She howled in pain, ran out of the kitchen, out of the house to the well and poured water on her face. Her husband too came out with a whip and thrashed her. She pleaded for mercy, for help, the night echoed with her painful Cry's till she fainted. Not a single soul came for her rescue as it was a domestic affair.
She gained consciousness in the wee hours of the morning, her face burning, her body aching. She ran five kilometers to her parents house. Her mother opened the door was shocked to see her condition, hugged her, cried with her. Sundari narrated everything weeping. Her mother offered her water, put wet cloth on her cheek, turmeric paste on her wounds, fed her with her hands. Sundari told her mother she won't leave her parents and stay with them. Mother got up from her perch and warned her, " You are now married, your husband is your caretaker. It's your fate and you have to endure it. You can stay for a couple of days till your wounds recover. Nevertheless your husband's family is your home. Sundari was dumbstruck, wiped her tears walked out of the room, out of house with each step her mother's voice becoming fainted. She crossed her parents village and couple more and fainted.
Sundari regained consciousness when someone sprinkled water on face. She got up begged for water. An woman gave her water and few bananas, which she gobbled up quickly. The same woman inquired about her identity. Sundari in tears sighed she had none. The woman took her home, fed her and asked to take rest. Sundari was hesitant. The woman read her mind and asked Sundari not to worry. She then proceeded to tell that she was a teacher and her husband a headmaster in the village school. They needed an Aaya for their only daughter. Sundari's happiness new no bounds. She stayed there played with the little girl who called her Aayama, fed her, sung lullabies, washed her, dressed her, did the household chores and errands. In a few years the couple employed her in the village school as an Aaya where she was assigned a small quarter.
Sundari was startled when someone closed her eyes from behind but recognized the familiar fingers at once. It was of the same girl who had called her Aayama for the first time. Now she was an administrative officer. The girl innocently asked Sundari for a rose. Sundari smilingly offered her to take as many. The girl put an envelope in Sundari's fragile palms. Sundari gave a puzzled look. The girl happily told her that the school's garden was the most well kept and beautiful among all in the district and she was being rewarded for being its caretaker. Sundari's realized 'Life is beautiful' after all.