Nakshatra - The Star
Nakshatra - The Star10 mins 181 10 mins 181
Thank you everbody for reading this story.
The cafe is contrasted in the combination of dark brown and deep cream. Brown marbled floor strikes with a dull glimmer, giving the walls a vintage look. Lights hang down through bottles of various colors besides the glassy doors of the cafe.
When I take a note closely, I find diyas instead of candles. Immediately, I am taken by a jolt of surprise. I've been a regular thursday customer to devor the Classic Indian Mango Milkshake - a special edition of this cafe. True to its name, the mango milkshake is the best that my taste buds could ever delect in its lifetime.Tradition blended with the spice of a morden tangent simply curls in the corners of this cozily small place.
The centre wall is antiqued with a large frame of embroidery, it pictures a girl twirling from one side in a graceful manner. The grace depicts dance which seems to be a merge of Kathak and Barathanatyam in a proportional mixture.
"Ma'am your bill" Ranga, the waiter who attends my milkshake orders in regular, hands me the bill. "Thanks Ranga Bhai" I say as I get it from him. Sipping the final drops of the shake, I take out the cash. Suddenly, an outpour of a rain drains my sanity. I'm grateful that I came by a car, but driving through the rain is not an interesting thing to do. Especially when it is getting late! I would never like to have useless banter with my parents.
"See you next thursday!" The cashier Vinudh, an old man with a child like laugh, comments after taking the cash from me. I smile half heartedly as my concentration is on the drive and the rain. Thankfully, I've placed my car in front of the cafe, I should be less tensed by that thought but I am not! "Bye Vinu Kaka" I run outside in a rush, I end up hitting an old lady. She falls down and let's out an inaudible groan.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry!" I mumble. Her glasses gets broken. Poor lady, she has to go through so much trouble because of me. What kind of a fool am I?
"Its fine my child.."
I help her in standing. I pick up her broken glasses then her umbrella and purse. She is claded in a faded blue saree, with a big bindi on her forehead, her hair is tied in a knot she looks around the age of sixties and the calmness in her face is different from other people I see. The rain grows heavy, dripping with soaking water beyond the shades.
"Oh the bus" she feels saddened.
Bus? In the rain? She cannot go with the broken glasses, also the rain seems heavy. "If you dont mind, I can drop you home, ma'am.." The lady looks at me with a wonderstruck expression which later melts to a pondering one. It is then followed by a deep gaze.
"It's okay dear...I can manage!"
"Manage?!" I exclaim. "Its raining heavily. Since I have made the damage, I'll try my best to fix some part of it. I'll drop you home" She looks on, stern with her glance and humble through her sight. She has the patches of thick grey hair rounding off her old age in the mark. She has a dusky wheat skin which is partially wrinkled and is further folded on the forehead due to the frown.
"This young generation I say.." she mutters under her breath, but I get to hear it.
Oh my god!
Number one- I'm trying to offer her a help.
Number two- She is complaining?
"Please ma'am!" I request nevertheless. I cant imagine her in a helpless plight under the rain. I may have the chances to behold a bigger role incase something goes wrong! She finally nods her head. As she does, I take her to my car and make her sit inside. I start the car, driving in the rain is not as hopeful as it seems, but this is the only option left for me to go home.
"So, you are working?" The lady asks.
I hum a yes
. Work and home is looped in a repeat, going on and on and it drains me, I feel like I'm stuck inside a black and white film tape. I turn the steering, taking a left from the main road, the flashing orange lights from the lamp posts provide the light needed for us to travel. But my road seems blurry on the go.
"You dont seem excited kid"
She is right. I am not happy.
"A woman has to go through a lot ma'am. I am still in the process of learning, my parents are ready to push me into marriage. I have to fight with them everyday."
"You remind me of my younger self" the lady becomes nostalgic. The outpour bargains a demanding cost, bursting water showers with a stronger vigour, this is testing my patience. "Really?" I tease as I shift the gear.
"I was 20 when I got married" "I didnt want to get married. Though I didn't a have degree back then, I completed only till my tenth-I had dreams"
That is pretty painful. It is frightening to crash our dreams for the sake of society. How will it be to depend on somebody and leave our desires crumbled in the corner of our heart? They once would have been our greatest hope!
"My marriage was the only hope for our family. I ended up doing it. Soon I gave birth to two kids." That sounds more scary.
"My husband didnt respect me, he worked for hours and had bundles of complaints for me.I couldn't speak fluent english.." She smiles, a deep dimple implants on her cheeks.
I slow down the speed, gripping my fingers tightly on the steering. "Since he provided all the facilities, my kids were more fond of him"
"From here, to the right" She says. "Hmm, Then?" I turn the car to the right, waiting to hear more from her.
"I decided, my daughter shouldn't have the life I suffered, being ignored and left out is so aching you know?"
"So gave my best I can as a mother. When she grew as a person, she searched for a better life in a different direction..my opinion, wish didnt matter."
"I thought being a woman is the struggle, but my husband found other women attractive.."
The sound of the rain clatters down with the wipers fusing a rubbing noise which is alone heard after her voice. I switch on the air cooler to mist the screen so that I can wipe it up for the clarity.
"I dropped that idea when those women gave him the signals back" I widen my eyes in shock. She is a woman whom I met about half an hour ago, she is speaking her heart out to someone like me, someone who doesn't have a clear idea about life, someone who feels insecure about marriage and its after life. Is it justifying to hear her without any judgements? Maybe she would feel at ease if she hands her pain to a stranger? I called for it. What bothers me more is the intense pain that I can feel for her as she unfolds her life in parts. Will marriage sublimate my dreams too? How far will everything stay in our control? She has gone through a lot, which only piles up the burden regarding a marriage. Why does a woman struggle all the time?
"Its like a driving a car my dear. When we know the path, we drive at ease..when we are unsure, we have the fear of getting lost" I hear her taking a gasp, gaining more composure with a smile. She is smiling through the pain. Does it numb the roots?
"Then I knew why was I struggling." She says.
Her words begin to confuse me. "Because the real struggle was the fear" "Fear of being left out, fear of being mocked, fear that my respect was withering, fear that I was a woman who got married under demolishing circumstances and sacrificed my life for nothing but my fear!...uff" she explains with a whirlpool of heating emotions, in the end of the sentence she gives out a deep sigh.
I can feel through her words. It tears my heart, plummeting the parts which makes me want to pull out her pain and replace it with a smile.
"Then?" I whisper my question.
"I decided I would live for me, for the dreams that were once broken"
"I lived, I went out with nothing but just a few drawings and embroidery I did as a young woman. I learned many things.."
"I broken down all my fears." "Slowly, my work was recognized. People saw my talent...it was magical" Her eyes shine brightly.
"Stop here" I stop my car in the street that she mentions.
A moderate house charmingly welcomes the street, the grilled gate in black closes the entrance. I can see many plants hanging from the verandah. Many pots and flowers decorate the garden.
"You saw the embroidery work in the cafe?" "It is my work" I widen my eyes with a proud smile. She did that? It was so creative and different.
"It was beautiful! You're so creative uff" I loose up for a bit. She is so inspiring that I want more of the warmth from her.
"I didnt say all this to give you crazy ideas about me. I want you to know that when you face your fear, you will find to love yourself."
"Now my husband and children listen to me. That's not the point, there is nothing called as weakness."
"Most of them advise you about how a woman needs to be independent of everybody..how marriage will blend your life, will give you a family etc, etc.."
"Let me be honest my child, be independent of your fear. You cannot be independent of anybody, we are bound with love. We need each other to live, but not with fear."
"You cannot explain a single thing to anybody with hatred. You can explain them, when you have love for something" "Love for something?" I question. They are ready to explain their point, but not listen to mine.
"When you choose to love your work, you become the artist of your life..." "They will listen, when your love for the work shines more than your ideas regarding it...every struggle will then turn into a challenge"
"You are the master of your life"
"Thanks" I mutter.I needed her words, I was aching for somebody to let me know where I am and What am I doing with my life! "Thank you beta" she smiles.
"Thank you for dropping me home. If you need any help just take this" She pulls out a card from her wallet and hands it over to me. I take it from her and watch her go out. She opens the umbrella and looks at me.
"Thank you for being a regular customer" She smiles and closes the door. She puzzles me in the end. I look back into the card.
My eyes pop out from its socket. She is the owner of The Nakshatra cafe! The Thursday edition, the embroidery, colourful lights, diyas, Ranga bhai's orders and the cashier's cheerful talks.The customers are always satisfied with the place. She looked so simple and humble.
Oh my god! I suddenly remember her speech through the radio.
"There's nothing called a gender belief, both are equal bereft of the beliefs. The world welcomes us with open arms, it is our perception that blocks our vision"
"I named the cafe Nakshatra because we all wish to be the stars of our life..wanting to shine inside out"
I smile and look outside, the rain has subsided out of the blue, letting clear winds to take the guards. Fresh breezes in the calm surroundings appreciate the glee of nature with coolness. She chose to be a star. Every woman needs to be one.
As she said, each soul is a star of their life! We fix our situations in certainty and when it comes down with a thunderbolt of changes, we don't have the mettle in to endure it.
Maybe if I give a try and make my parents understand, this bottled feelings will evacuate. So what if they dont understand? I need begin, as it should be from me.
What I need to do is to perceive the world without judgment.