Anmol Dhaliwal



Anmol Dhaliwal


Stoned Will And Determination

Stoned Will And Determination

19 mins

"You know my child we humans are also like these tipping stones" said Arya's father, skipping the stones on the river, during their everyday routine evening walk by the riverside. 

"What? But how Pa?" Asked confused Arya. 

"See child every stone's journey starts from the shore, some are privileged enough to get lifted up and ride the sea of life and some always remain on the shore but that does not mean that the shore stone is anyway less than the lifted stone. Now among the lifted stones, some stones can make their way to the farthest point, some reach somewhere in the middle but you know what's the most disappointing part, when the stone drowns at the very beginning even after being lifted up, it fails to start its journey and fails at the very onset. So, either stay on the shore or complete your journey but never leave hope and drown before time. Because it does not matter whether your end comes early or late because the end is destined to come but don't invite the end before time, let it come when it is timed to come.

So just like for us to reach our destination we must have the right direction and should begin with the complete force, similarly, you throw the stone with complete strength so that it may reach the farthest, but if you're starting itself lacks strength, then it may reach a certain distance but eventually, it will drown before reaching your desired destination. But again, this does not mean it makes its journey any less meaningful because, no matter what, it did not lose hope and despite the low start it continued its journey and did not choose to drown at the beginning itself.

But there is one difference between humans and these stones, and that is, a stone always needs someone to lift it from the shore and once lifted it is to walk its path alone. However, humans on the contrary have the potential to lift many other underprivileged after lifting oneself.

You should always remember this child that, the ultimate destination of every living creature is death and every stone is to drown at the end of the day but the difference lies over how much path you could cover. So, do lead your journey my child, do lead it despite the hardest circumstances!"

"Thanks, Pa! for always motivating me in your amazing metaphorical ways. You always get to know when do I need you and today I needed your words the most, I was badly hurt after what grandma called me..." 

"I know what your grandma told you today but don't you let her words impact your decision, because whenever you need that little push I am always there for you my child and now leave all these things apart and tell me, are you prepared for your tomorrow's entrance exam?" 

"Yes pa, but I am a bit nervous, what if I won't clear my CLAT? How will I face grandma and the villagers? Everybody will taunt you for pushing me for studies and believing in me." 

"It's alright my child, I know, in our village to educate girls is not seen a sign of progress rather marrying them off at young age is seen as a sign of respectability. But I know your potential and I believe that no matter what, one day, you will change the framework of this village. Even if you'll not be able to clear CLAT, never forget your Pa is always by your side." Arya, who's begun to well up, listened quietly to her father's words and determined one thing that day and that is, to never drown before trying. 

At night Arya kept preparing for her exam when in the middle of the night she was visited by her Pa, who asked her to take some rest and put her to sleep. In the morning Arya was awoken by her father, who prepared her favourite rajma chawal and after ensuring she's properly taken her breakfast, he's to accompany his daughter for her exam. But before leaving he advised her to go and take her grandma's blessing. Adhering to her father's words she went to her grandma but as soon as she bend to touch her feet, the words that blurted out her mouth were "I am still telling you Yash don't give this girl so much freedom, it is high time now get her married, no need for all this higher education and all, this education is not for girls but marriage is! So, settle her down as soon as possible because this girl is destined to doom you the day…" 

But before her grandma could finish, her father immediately stopped his mother by stating "Enough of all this Ma! If you don't want to bless my child then it's alright but don't you bad mouth her at this time of the hour and…" 

"It's okay Pa, I think Dadi has given me enough blessings" jokingly interrupted Arya to lighten the mood. Her father gave her a sullen smile and the duo left for the college.

The mere presence of her Pa was the reliving force for Arya and after reaching the college, with all the blessings and wishes of her father she sat in the exam.

On the day of the declaration of result, Arya who was clutching the side corner of her father's shirt was desperately waiting for results. But she wanted her father to see the result for her as always, because she believed she could never get hurtful news from him. And Arya was not disappointed in her this belief, till the very last breath of her father. Arya cleared the exam and was now all prepared to become a lawyer but what was both scary and amusing was the fact that for the first time she'll be heading out of her village, away from her loving father and her grandma. Arya had mixed feelings over this thought and it seemed that her wings are ready to take off for a long flight and she felt as if she was unstoppable in her pursuit of dreams. When all of the sudden she came back to her present she hugged her Pa as tightly as she could with one hand still clutched to the side of his shirt, as if refusing to leave him forever or like sending him the indications of not letting her go, maybe because somewhere she knew, that if she'll leave, then her return would result into his departure.

Five years later, after completing her studies, Arya was selected as an intern by one of the Mumbai's biggest MNC as their legal advisor. All this while Pa was the proudest of Arya and on her this achievement he gifted her a new Alto car. It was a surprise but what surprised Arya the most was how her father got bulbar on both the front and the back of the car and she laughed hysterically on seeing that and said, "why did you install this 'rib-cage' on the car Pa, don't you trust my driving skills, did you forget I learned driving from you only?" 

Acknowledging the jibe of Arya's her father said, "That is only for your safety, God forbid if you'll meet some collision, I cannot risk with your well-being." 

"Alright, Pa! I understand your concern. Wait! and what are these window covers for?" 

"To protect you from the UV rays", said Pa. 

"Pa! I think you are being overprotected now."

All these years her father frequently visited her and every time he told her how she's become a new inspiration for the girls of their village. But all these years he never let Arya visit their home, he would always insist on her completing her internship first and then come back and so Arya did.

Finally, the day came when Arya was all ready to move back to her house; all these years she had greatly missed her Pa, her Dadi, and her village. Somewhere in her heart, she was also excited to meet all those young girls for whom she had become an 'ideal', as her father would tell her. While driving on her way, she was wondering how it would feel to live that moment when you've been idealized by someone! 

Finally, she arrived at her home and was overjoyed at its mere sight; she was staring so deep onto it as if absorbing every inch of it through her eyes, her eyes which were deprived all these years of her place of belonging. Finally, she opened the gate of the house, parked the car inside, and after getting her suitcases, she entered the house.

She didn't inform her Pa of her coming but he was aware of the fact that she is to come in a few weeks. Everything in the house was as usual; there was complete silence in the house Pa must have been to school. Dadi, who was taking her afternoon nap, woke up to the sound of the opening of the gate and as she saw Arya the first thing she said was "Ah! Finally, so are back again, have you shut the gate or are you to be reminded that if you open it you also have to close it. Don't you even know…." 

But Arya who could not control her emotions on seeing her Grandma immediately embraced her and Dadi's words got lost somewhere in the cosiness of that warm and tight hug. Arya told her how much she missed these scolding's of hers in Mumbai! 

"Fine, fine," said Dadi, "now go and shut the door and after that have something, you must be hungry after a long drive and I shall resume my afternoon nap." 

"Alright, Grandma", said Arya and after shutting the gate, she went to the kitchen, served herself the leftover food from the morning, and later that afternoon she arranged all her things in her room. From doing so much work in a single day she got tired and immediately dozed off.

In the evening when Pa opened the gate to park his car after coming from work, he was overjoyed to see Arya's car already being parked in the house and after parking his car and closing the gate, he immediately ran to Arya's room and on finding her deep in sleep, he softly closed the door and went to prepare her favourite rajma chawal for dinner. Arya awoke to the whistles of the pressure cooker and the delicious aroma of her favourite cuisine. She immediately rushed to the kitchen and both father and daughter talked their hearts out at the dinner table.

The next day, after coming from his job, her father inquired about her future plans. He didn't want Arya to pursue her career as a solo lawyer in their village but Arya was determined to work for the upliftment of women in their village. She was unable to understand her father's concern, especially when he'd told Arya all those stories of her being idealized in the village. But she didn't have to wait long to understand the entire situation. As in the evening, the Panchayat members (all male) came to their house to threaten Arya and her father not to indulge in instigating their girls against them through education and other such crap! Arya was shocked and after they returned, she realized that her father kept lying to her all these years, only to motivate her to complete her studies and not to worry about the situation back at home. She got to know that her father was constantly threatened by the regressive Panchayat members to bring her back and get her married but her father risked his life to empower his daughter.

After a few days, Arya's father decided to shift in the city in order to protect his family. And the day he was to inform them about his decision, the rumours begin to make around in the village that the Sarpanch's family, also tried to burn their fifth daughter-in-law owing to some dowry conflict. According to doctors of the government hospital, Sarpanch's daughter-in-law Rajjo's condition was not severe but she still got about forty-five percent burns. Although the case called for police inquiry, no case was registered against Ghanshayam, the only son of Sarpanch Tejpratap, because of their influence.

When Arya came to know of the case, she was determined to take up the case and she was also supported in this decision by her father but Dadi disapproved of this act and asked Arya's father Yashraj to marry the girl off as soon as possible and not to indulge in Sarpanch's business. Since he was the most powerful man in the whole area. But Arya was not ready to let such heinous crimes against women to prosper in front of her eyes.

She immediately rushed to the Government Hospital and met Rajjo, who was lying all alone in her ward. Arya assured Rajjo of justice and even Rajjo was done with the injustice against her and since she had heard enough about Arya in her house, she knew, only a determined girl like Arya can make a difference in her life and fight against the village folk. Rajjo was ready to proceed with the case and also demanded a divorce from her husband Ghanshayam, in order to lead a peaceful and liberated life.

When Sarpanch Tejpratap came to know about this, he threatened Arya's family through every possible means but he was unable to succeed in his ways. In order to protect Rajjo, Arya took her to their house, and there Rajjo's condition begins to improve considerably. The case had begun in the court and it was going in favor of Arya despite Tejpratap's low tactics. Arya was sure to provide justice to Rajjo and because of Arya's solid determination, even the social scenario begin to change in her village. As the young girls and women began to claim for their rights and equal status. Arya had finally become an inspiration to many women in the village and the surrounding areas.

Finally came the day of the final verdict, the entire village was badly awaiting the day, as well as everybody at home. Somewhere Arya's father knew Tejpratap is not going to let the case slip off his hands so easily. As he was engrossed in his thoughts, he told Arya to take his car to the court today. Since he has to do some work, so he'll take her car. Arya was anxious and asked her father to go later and accompany her to the hearing which was about forty minutes later. Her father assured her to reach there on time and then, left on Arya's car.

In the meantime Tejpratap has made all the arrangements, he had hired a contract killer who was asked to keep a vigil at the movements of Arya and was advised to kill her before reaching the court, today. The killer was in his truck waiting at the turn of the road to Arya's house. As soon as he saw Arya's car coming out of the house, he started chasing the car. As the car was on the route to court and since the windows were covered with blinds, the truck driver assumed her father to be Arya. So after reaching on an isolated road he banged the truck into the car so hard that the car's driver lost all the control and it hit a nearby tree with such a force that on seeing its condition one could clearly assume that there was no way for the driver to have been left alive. The truck driver who was assured of his work and the damage caused, just ran past the scene, without even caring to check the condition of the driver.

After some time when some passer-by vehicles saw the accident, they called the ambulance and Pa was admitted to the Government Hospital near the village. In the meantime when Arya and Rajjo were preparing to leave for the court, suddenly she got a call that informed her of the entire situation. She along with Dadi and Rajjo, immediately left for the hospital. The doctors told her that her father is on a ventilator and is left with a few minutes of life. And that he only wants to meet her before his death. Outside the ward her Dadi was blaming her for this ill-fated incident and was constantly cursing her birth and for being a bad omen to their house. Her words were unstoppable, she kept on saying "from your very birth you are nothing but a curse on our family, at her birth, she took the life of her very own mother! And now she's taken the life of my son, as well. I always wanted a 'gem' for my family but was cursed with this 'stone'. My son never got married again just to protect her from the shadow of a step-mother and look, how she repaid my son! By taking his life, she took my son's life!"

Arya was crying and crying her eyes out, she went to her father and as soon as she saw her father she was inconsolable. She clutched the side of his father's shirt and started blaming herself for his plight. Her father asked her to sit next to him and told her not to blame herself. He told her "death is inevitable my child and it is to come sooner and later, but don't you get sad over my death. I'm glad I completed the journey of my life. I met your mother, and then we became parents to you and see, today you have made me the proudest father in the entire village. I got everything in this life my child and now I can die peacefully." 

"No Pa, don't say this I need you, I need your accompany, I can't win this case in your absence. Don't… don't leave me, father, don't leave me I beg of you! Nothing matters to me as much as you! nothing! nor even this profession. You were right we should have left the village at the first place but I wanted to take up this case. Dadi was right, you should have never educated me and you should have got me married off like other girls. I… I really am a stone in your fate. You knew that there is a threat to my life and you gave away your life to protect me… I was really born to doom you... I am so sorry… sorry Pa…. I am so sorry."

"My child!" interrupted Pa "never you ever call yourself this. You are my brave girl. And never forget my child you are my pride, you are not any kind of hindrance in my life. Rather, you are the reason why I wanted to live… and now I am happy to leave... after seeing you as a strong, independent, and determined woman. You don't need anybody, Arya, your determination is enough to carry you on in life. I have completed the purpose of this life my child and now it is your turn…"

"No Pa, no, I am not leaving you and not going anywhere, I don't care for anything else, I only need you. Don't leave me… don't… I beg of you Pa." 

"Arya, don't be childish, go to the court, and win this case for your Pa! I know you are unstoppable my child and promise me that no matter what, you will never step back from fighting for justice, for fighting for truth. I know you will achieve the greatest heights and become a 'push' for the life of many more girls like you… always remember I am always with you, even if I am around or not…." 

"Noo….no…no… no wake-up! Pa … wake up… doctor! doctor! do something, bring my Pa back to me … do something for God's sake. I can't survive without him."

The doctors could not save Arya's father. Arya and her Grandma were completely shattered but Arya had to fulfill the promise to her father. She along with Rajjo immediately rushed to the court. At the hospital, some villagers who were accompanying Arya's grandma stated the preparation to take the body of Arya's father to the village. Arya and Rajjo arrived at the court about fifteen minutes late. Sarpanch Tejpratap was shocked to see Arya alive, he could not understand the situation since, according to his plan she had been killed by the contract killer.

Arya won the case and Sarpanch Tejpratap and his entire family were proven guilty of attempting to murder their daughter-in-law Rajjo. They were sentenced for ten years of non-bailable imprisonment under Section 307 of IPC. As well as they were found guilty of murdering the earlier four wives of Ghanshayam, so they were sentenced to non-bailable life imprisonment under Section 300, 303, and 304B of IPC.

After the court session, Arya rushed back to the house, all the way she was cursing herself for her ill-fate. Although, she was the one who promised her father to always fight for justice but unfortunately, she could not provide justice to her very own father. Since Sarpanch planed the murder in such a way that it looked like an unintentional and unfortunate accident and not an intentional act of murder. The memories of the collective time of her and her father begin flashing before Arya's welled-up eyes. She soon reached her house, she found her Grandma, her close relatives and the villagers awaiting her, so as to start the last rights of her father.

Who could have imagined Arya would cremate her father the very day she won her first-ever case! Life soon restored back but never became normal for Arya. Her relation with her Grandma became even more hostile, as her Grandma held Arya responsible for her son's death. Even Arya seems to have believed in the same, that's why she never refuted the allegations and always endured them.

But after that incident Arya did not shift to the town, she made her office at her village home and continued to live there with her Grandma and Rajjo, who also began to live with Arya and assisted her in her work and in taking care of her Grandma. Arya now became a famous personality of not only her locality but also of the entire state. She was seen as a fearless, empowered, and a strong woman.

She begin working with various NGO's, working for the upliftment of women and she brought a great deal of change in the status of women of their as well as the surrounding villages. Girls were no longer married off at a young age in their village and begin to be seen as having equal potential as a male child. Arya initiated this new waves of educating girls, through the assistance of the NGO's; and even opened a college of higher education for girls at their village.

The relation between Arya and her Grandma took a favorable turn from the inauguration day. As the inauguration of the college was done by Arya's Grandma, who broke down on seeing that the college was named after her late son, as "Yashraj Stone Will Girl's College". Because he was the first man of the village to actually initiate this wave. 

During Arya's inaugural speech, when she was inquired about what is the significance of the word "stone" in the name of the college. Arya paused; she fondly remembered her father and narrated the teaching that her father gave her one day by the riverside while they were skipping the stones. "That day" said Arya "I realized that although girls were traditionally and at some places still are, considered a stone of one's destiny and a bad omen. But what my father made me realize that day was that even a stone can have an another side too, where it is no longer seen as a hurdle but as a source of strength. It can change it's as well as many other destinies if given a proper direction. My father became the right direction for me and always remained my greatest force, until his very last breath. And before departing, he made me strong enough that I could become the same force for many more girls and so can you all! Because the biggest lesson that I learned from my father's life is that real empowerment doesn't come with making ourselves successful but it comes with empowering others. Struggle is in everyone's life but have the strong 'stone' will and determination and never step back on the path of change."


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