Dawn of Happiness

By Shobha Diwakar

The day had not yet broken, the stars, scattered along the Milky Way, dimly lit the silent, wee hours of the morn. The graceful moon too had not yet retreated and tenderly announced its presence spreading its radiant beams before the glowing sun rode into the sky saddled on its chariot pulled by ‘seven horses.’ The stillness of the morn was awakened gently by the twittering of sparrows that shook the slumbering environment out of its stupor, merrily stretching its arms to encircle the dusky morn. The farmers were ready with their bullock-carts to begin their hard work in the fields where the shimmering wheat was awaiting their tender touch.

Ramu was a hard working farmer (as all farmers are), but unfortunately this year the yield was not good. The unpromising produce had drawn lines of despondency across his forehead. He had toiled and moiled the livelong day hoping to raise a good crop and get handsome profit that would solve his daughter’s dowry problem. It is a biting itchy problem for those who live in the dread of a daughter who has to get married… but without a dowry, who will marry her? Ramu dreaded the worst, although his daughter, now grown out of her teens was a stunning village beauty; with no money in the house, he was aware no one would come forward to ask for her hand. Now what was he to do?

Nandini, charming and abounding in youthful coyness was unaware of her growing beauty and timid temperament.  Her father had once been to a nearby village and had seen a handsome boy and contemplated upon the idea of sending the boy’s parents a marriage proposal for his daughter, however, he had later learned that the boy was not a good character and so the idea remained un- hatched.

People, whether in towns, ‘kasbas,’ villages, cities or elsewhere are always more aware of other people’s grown up daughters rather than worrying about their own sitting idle at home. Perhaps such meddlesome, nuzzling nosy parkers have nothing better to do but poke their noses in everyone’s personal affairs but their own… so Ramu’s beautiful daughter was an eyesore, and for no rhyme or reason, he became the butt of ridicule and the laughing stock.

“What such a beautiful girl… not married as yet! Surely there must be some grave problem with her, which the father did not disclose, otherwise why is she still sitting at home?”

“Oh, yes, I am sure the girl is dumb because no one has heard her talk like others of her age,” chimed another.

“That is true. I feel the girl has a limp,” added another gossipmonger.

Have you noticed she never plays ‘pittoo’(seven tiles), or runs about with food for her father working in the field?” Said another voracious chatterbox, slyly batting an eye.

“I am sure she must have defective eyesight too. Have you ever seen her read anything? Surely, she is uneducated. Who will marry an illiterate girl?” Added a so- called injudicious ‘guardian,’ witlessly screening the others with an air of pride over the latest information he seemed to have provided.

Little did these barking men over the fence know that Nandini was a very talented girl who was adored by all the girls of her age not only because she was beautiful but also because her sweeping eyelashes, and round innocent eyes and a quiet pout attracted them all. She loved dancing and so when the men folks were busy in the fields she enthusiastically collected her friends and enjoyed dancing all sorts of folk dances until it was time for them to return. The men were unaware that the girls were preparing a dance performance for the harvest.

Amrit had met with an accident and was now out of the nursing home. His dream world lay scattered into tiny fragments of desiccated happy hours crumbled and blown away with the wind. He cursed himself and wondered how God could be so unkind and cruel to have punished him with so much pain and suffering. Only last evening he had proposed to Neena and now here he was with an artificial leg. Would any girl wish to marry a one-legged fellow? His world had sorrowfully collapsed. “Oh, God why did you spare my life?” He cried in agony.

His anguish worried his mother. She swallowed up her tears, put on a brave front and confronted her son with a brisk greeting, “so you are already up. Come let us sit down and have a cup of nice espresso coffee with your favorite snack. I was waiting for you to join me.”

The unshed tears trapped in her eyes gave away her sorrow, but Amrit did not perceive them, as he was lost in his own reverie thinking about the girl he loved but had now lost. Quietly the mother slipped out of the room leaving him to reconcile with his fate.

As days passed by Amrit showed no signs of recovering from his gloom. The doctors advised that he should spend some time in the lap of nature, away from the humdrum of life for quick recovery. The soothing effects of the undefiled environment would soon heal his wounded heart; so it was finally decided that the family would go to the nearest village, which also had a rest house and a few amenities.

One fine morning they set out for the venture. It was a silent journey since no one wished to disturb the cool fresh undiluted morning chirpiness and the brisk fresh breeze that seemed to whisper the morning glory into his ears; they enjoyed the calm and beautiful trees swaying in the breeze as though bowing down to the glory of God. Amrit was lost in the stillness of the morning and the virgin beauty of nature he probably beheld for the first time being always busy with office work. Certain calm settled on his face with the serenity of the bliss. For the first time he felt rested.

As the birds twittered and amused themselves by flying to and fro from their nests to gather something to feed their little ones, Amrit saw a lame dog happily chasing butterflies and enjoying the frolic. Amrit wondered as to how this little dog with just three legs could be so happy and enjoy his life while he was brooding over his loss. He sat up with a start and in a flash, his gloom had disappeared. “Why can’t I be happy when I have everything in the world?” He muttered and the next second, his mood had changed as he peeped out to surrender himself to the beauteous sight.

Just then the car stopped by near a green field where the tall maize swayed gently to the swinging, merry breeze. The sight captivated him as the golden corn peeped out of its feathers to greet the smiling sun. The restful environment, the wild flowers blooming in the edges of the farms and their refreshing fragrance instilled in him a restorative effect that acted as a balm to his dull spirit. Amrit was now a changed man and a smile crossed his face as his mother gently stroked his arm.

A clear musical sound greeted their ears as they strained themselves to catch the folk song that sounded ever so heavenly unlike the modern deafening drums that produced palpitations and deafened your ears. The driver sensing their interest swayed the car into a by lane and suddenly brought the car to a halt. The mesmerizing sight held them aghast as they visualized the beautiful village beaus dancing gracefully to the melodious folk song they sang in that enchanting ambiance. Lost in their thoughts, Amrit and his mother simultaneously rested their hungry eyes on the elegant belle who charmed them by her soft looks and emotional intensity as she swirled and twirled to the music. Just then the sun went down, the music stopped along with the dance and chirping gaily the girls left for their homes.

It was not long after that mother and son sped the driver to find out more about the girl who had caught their fancy. The devoted driver soon returned informing them about Ramu and his beautiful daughter. Not long after a marriage proposal was sent to the father and after much pros and cons the wedding bells greeted the glowing village and Nandini dressed simply soon got married to Amrit to live in a palatial house in the city. There was no question of a dowry, yet Ramu was bent on giving whatever little he had collected over the years for his pretty child. Happily, the simple village beauty had now adorned another family and left her virgin home and a happy father to lead a new life. She was now the crowning glory.

About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. Dr Diwakar  servers on the Advisory Board of www.writerslifeline.ca. 

2 Comments

  1. What a beautiful story it is!
    In an absolutely simple manner Ms Diwakar has given a very significant message… happiness comes not with money or any materialistic gains but with acceptance of life no matter how hard it is. The writer also points out that Nature is a great healer of all aches & pains in life only if we perceive it open eyed & allow it to take take over our
    mind & body. It’s a simple story with an excellent noteworthy message.

  2. Thank you ASB for your subtle interpretation…. . Nature nourishes and cleanses the spirit and heals the wounds

    Yes truly, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

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