I was taking a walk by the river when I saw this little girl sitting alone all by herself. She had a small and fragile body. I think she must have been somewhere approximately seven years old. She was still a kid; adolescence was yet to touch her body. I felt curious about what might have brought her here? Though deep within me I feared the most dreadful, I walked up to her and touched her shoulder. She looked up with clear, bright eyes. It was an exact mirror of her, an accurate reflector of her pains.
She chirped, “What are these birds? They are so colourful, their voices are so melodious. And these, flowers? What are these? I have not seen anything like this for ages!”
She looked so pretty with her wide eyes jumping with each word that she spoke.
“Is this heaven?” she continued, “Ammi used to say everything in heaven is pristine, is colorful. During those evenings, when we went to bed empty stomach, my Ammi used to say: ‘If you can tolerate pain with a smile, one day you will be bestowed with all the joys under this sun. My child! Always remember to smile in whatever situation you are. God is looking at us. He blesses good kids with loads of love and he takes them to himself after death.’
My Ammi always smelled of fresh mud, burnt woods and cow dung. I loved that smell. It is long since I had that smell.”
I sat close to her, “Were you in a hospital?” Few seconds passed by but came no reply. My mind started racing and her few seconds of silence killed me. But, she sat stoically looking at her feet. It was too overburdening on me and so I had to poke her thoughts, “have you lost your mom to any ailment?”
She jolted back to reality! “Ammi! Oh no! She is alive. Yes, she suffers a lot, but she is a strong and beautiful lady.”
Suddenly she looked up at me and said, “Can I call you didi? You look like the lady in my neighbourhood”
And even before I could acknowledge, she continued,
“Didi! Just a few minutes back I was feeling an intolerable pain in my body. I was sleeping on a bed of needles in a dark room. But now I don’t feel anything.”
She paused as if trying to recall the day which might have been just yesterday, and continued spurting out her unspoken thoughts
“Like any other day, I was in the fields with my goats. The goats were grazing happily, but I was feeling hungry, very hungry. So, when that uncle with a beard came up to me and said that there was food in the temple, I went with him. Ammi had always forbidden me from going with strangers. But, I was famished and he was taking me to a mandir. A mandir is a place of worship, and there they give food to the beggars. So, I went. But, then, he took me somewhere deep inside the temple to a part where no was visible. It was so dark and it stank. I was there for so many days. I cannot count the number of days as I had never seen daylight there. Didi, it hurt. I did not know what was happening to me…I think there were other men also as I could hear many voices. They were laughing, eating and drinking something stale. They were constantly hurting me. This pain was not like hunger pangs. It was something which I had never felt before. I felt like peeing but I could not. It was so painful. I could smell blood. I think it was my blood. There was not a single part of my body which did not hurt. They had even bitten me harder than the cat in our house.”
She was in a trance and she might have continued if we were not interrupted by Nandi.
On Nandi’s instruction, I took her to that part of the place where Neelkanth mostly sat with his lady.
The ever pristine voice of Parvati welcomed us, but the radiance was missing today. In the last few years, I have seen this couple grow old, but their presence always brought solace to me.
But, today was another day. Today, Neelkanth’s throat had lost the blue colour and he was sitting with his eyes closed, meditating. Today the meditating Neelkanth didn’t have the smile on his lips; instead, there were tears in his eyes.
That was a moment of realization for me… the moment when I could feel hope was dying out. I apprehended that they too have given up hope. Just like the way when a man’s created robot goes out his hand, he realizes his mistake; they had also started realizing that their creation was no more in their control and the only way to normalize things was: ANNIHILATION!
It’s not about any religion or any belief… it’s about a heinous crime like rape, which has no mercy yet it’s such a common crime all over the world. Why is it like this? Why? And, more so ever in a place of worship….?!!? Where is the world heading towards – with no fear of men, no fear of God, and no fear of karma!