Sarah was walking down the road to her deserted house in Paridhapulam, a small town around 5 km
from Manali. It was late in the evening. She had been working overtime in her office to make both the
ends meet. She didn’t even remember for how many days she had been skipping lunch to accommodate
for other expenses. If it wasn’t for this house that she had inherited from her parents, she would be on
She looked up towards the sky. The crescent moon was playing hide and seek with the clouds as if trying
to make fun of her inability to reach it. Stars seemed to have descended down the valley stealing the sky
of its ornamental beauty, shining dimly like her much coveted distant dreams. Suddenly, the valley
disappeared. A thick sheet of voracious fog now stood in front of her consuming everything tangible. It
wasn’t the first time she was traversing this path at this hour.
She had often walked down this road as a child. But that time her father would accompany her. The
moon seemed to be a distant pal then, waiting with his stars for her to reach him. The fog didn’t seem to
be hiding ghosts that would come out of the shadows any moment to grab her. Even the scariest of the
nights seemed less scary than today’s. She was 9 when her parents departed in a brutal accident. She
didn’t have any siblings or relatives except for her father’s cousin, uncle John.
Sarah was too small to understand the loss. She grieved for a while but then found solace in Uncle
John’s explanation, “God has sent your parents on a sacred mission to eradicate all evil from the world.”
“When would they return?”, innocent Sarah had asked.
“He would return them the moment they succeed in their mission.”
Ten years passed since then without a sign of her parents. The truth gradually dawned upon her too. She
knew her parents were never going to return. Even if she still believed in Uncle John’s explanation, she
had faced enough evil in her small age to understand that it was going to take more than a lifetime to
eliminate whatever was wrong from the society and that she herself would be joining them someday in
their holy crusade.
Uncle John proved himself a competent guardian. He owned a decent place with a single room and a
petite kitchen in nearby village. He took her there with him. He provided her with everything that a
young girl would need. This even included consultation with an old lady in the locality to help her with
her early teen age years. He arranged for her studies in a nearby school. But his petite income was
unable to support both of them. So her parents’ fixed deposit had to go into it. Her parents had left
enough in their accounts for her to complete her studies. Uncle John never touched even a single penny
of her money, but still that amount wasn’t inexhaustible. And the day their deposits went dry to the
bottom, she proposed to him,” Why don’t you sell their house?”
“That is your house. You are going to need it someday”, he replied.
“But why am I going to need it? You will always be there to take care of me,” she argued.
But John was adamant,”I will do whatever it will take to take care of you. But this option is
inconsiderable. You have already lost enough. You are not loosing this last memory of your parents
How right and wrong he had been simultaneously in that moment. It was a cloudy Sunday evening when
Sarah had gone to make an errand to the market. Normally, Uncle John would accompany her to the
market but this time bad health or rather ill fate had kept him inside. When she returned late in the
evening, the house had turned into a pile of ashes and with it Uncle John too had gone to her parents-
lightening had struck her home while she was away. She had to shift back to her parents’ house. She got
the job of a typist with the help of an acquaintance in an office in Manali. She lived alone and the
income was just enough to support her. A few guys had tried to hit on her in the office, but she was
smart enough to see through their demeanor. Or perhaps it was the fear of loosing someone again that
kept her from allowing anyone to get close to her.
A loud blow of horn snapped the chain of memories and brought her back to present. Only then she
realized that she had been standing there in middle of the road for a long time. With heavy heart she
began walking towards her dwelling when suddenly a thought gripped her feet, “What if I too could join
my parents and Uncle John in their fight against the evil? What difference would it make to the world if I
disappeared? What reason do I have to go on with this atrocious life?”
She dragged herself towards the trench. There she stood alone, lost and detached. At a place where
guardian angels seemed to be dwellers of fairy land who didn’t fit the real life odyssey. At least not the
life she had known. If any speck of light existed at the end of the tunnel, then this tunnel was endless.
She could hear the river flowing down there, the churning of the pebbles below the icy water. She knew
it would be painful but this pain appeared nothing as compared to the hardships she had to go through
in her life. Life had rendered her all alone; at least death would unite her with the people she loved. The
river roared once again as if telling her to come hide herself in its embrace promising to wash away all
her sorrows. She looked up towards the sky. The clouds had disappeared and stars had appeared back at
its canvas. Just one more step and she would be one of those million stars. She smiled at them as if
greeting her new comrades. She lifted a foot to take that last step. But suddenly something began to
pull at her overcoat. She looked down. A small girl was standing there in tattered clothes, shuddering in
the biting cold. It was the orphan girl she had often seen begging at the stairs of a nearby temple. Sarah
stood there dumb fold for a moment, and the next moment she bent down to pick the girl in her arms
and began to walk towards her place. She had found her guardian angel, her reason to live. And also had
finally joined her parents and beloved uncle in their crusade against the evil!!