Story shared from my FB page


It was already 10 pm when she finally put away the heavy iron, sprinkled water on the smouldering embers and retired for the night.
For the last one month Rehana Bi had been working harder and longer than usual. The festive season was approaching so apart from the regular clothes there were a large number of curtains and bed covers also to be washed and ironed. By the end of the day, tiredness would seep to the core of her bones, after all she was not
 as healthy and energetic as she was in her youth. But she didn't mind the long hours and hard work because of the extra money extra work brought.
It had become very difficult to make ends meet with ever increasing prices. She had lost her husband two years ago when a firecracker shop had burst into flames in the nearby market. He had gone there to buy coal for their two irons and got trapped in the stampede following the fire and subsequent blasts. Some of her neighbors who had put up temporary stalls in the market to earn a quick buck during the festive season had also lost their lives that unfortunate and terrible day. The memories of charred bodies lying all around their dilapidated tenements and heart wrenching cries of the survivors still gave her the jitters, however hard she tried to shrug them away. 

Since the last few months however, the nightmares were gradually being replaced with some joyous dreams. Dreams for her children's bright future.
She would do anything to arrange enough money for the forthcoming festival. Last year she had not been able to buy anything for them but this time she desperately wanted to buy new clothes and some sweets for her three children. Her heart ached when they had to go hungry half the time though they had never complained. This year she was determined to give them at least one good meal and one set of new clothes for the festival, even if she bought them from the cheaper export surplus shop.
That day also she had literally fought with the '10 number wali Sharma madam' when she refused to pay her according to the prevalent rate for curtains' washing and ironing. She had pleaded with the '17 number wali bhabhi' to give her a bigger bakhsheesh on this Diwali. When she went to deliver the clothes of the 'paanchve maale wale bhaiya' who always addressed her politely by her name 'Rehana Bi' instead of calling her 'presswali' as others rudely called her, she had once again reminded him of his promise to give his old bicycle for her eldest son. With a cycle in his hands, they would save the bus fare to their school and he could also run some errands for her, Rehana Bi thought as she wound up her work. She could even request the teacher madam who used to give some old unused stationery and textbooks to her children, to teach the children how to converse in English. They were good at studies and would excel in their jobs if they learnt
Angrezi gitar-pitar, she liked to believe.
Squaring her sagging shoulders, she pressed her swollen feat as she lay down on her 'bed', still hot from the ironing it received everyday. With drooping eyes, the ageing widow saw the same dream again..... to provide the best for the three children Asheesh, Archna and Anil whom she had taken under her care after their parents and her neighbors Ramprasad and Rajni perished in the same fire which had claimed Rehana Bi's husband too. 
This Dhanteras, she prayed, would fill not only the hearts of children with the wealth of her love, but their shrinking stomachs with enough food too.

Wishing everyone A Very Happy And Prosperous Dhanteras.
May your lives be filled with the wealth of smiles. 


Popular Posts