About A Girl

“I stood there smiling at him. Tears were flowing endlessly but, he couldn’t see them. You see, with the first tear that I shed, it started raining. Covering all those tears, making him believe, I didn’t care. And, I guess, that’s how I wanted it to be, I didn’t want him to see my suffering, didn’t want him to know that I cared. No, I just wanted him to move on. “Why?” you ask? We couldn’t be together and, with every minute that I stood there, getting drenched in the rain, I had a minute less to live. As soon as he was out of sight, I could take no more. I fell down on my knees and cried, cried until, all my tears dried. I looked up at the darkening sky, with tears in my eyes, I asked a silent question, “Why?” And, I heard a faint reply over the winds, it said, “You’re needed, that’s why.” The last thing I remember were the spinning surroundings, as I cried out loud, “Not now! Oh God, not now, please!”
The next morning, I woke up to the thundering. The rain still pouring. I smiled, finding peace in knowing that even those up there were crying. I was in that oh-so-familiar hospital room when I heard the doctor say to my mother, “I’m sorry, she hasn’t got much time left.” So, I pumped my fist in the air and let out a fake whoop, shouting, “So Cancer, you’ve finally won, eh?”

This was the last entry in her diary. It was left under the hospital bed, I currently lay on. It dated 21st January 2012, “Not too long.” I thought to myself. My nurse came to check up on me and when she got done and was ready to leave, I asked her, “Do you know what happened to the girl who was here, in this room, a week back?” She looked at me and gasped. “How, oh-h-ow d-do you know about her, son?” she stammered. I held up the diary and shrugged. She let out a sad sigh as a tear escaped her eye. I wondered what was it about this girl, what was so fascinating but, the nurse finally spoke, pulling me out of my thoughts, she said, “She wasn’t any ordinary girl, she was a very special child, just like an angel. I’d known her all her life, the most beautiful and calm girl I’d ever met.” she had a spaced out look on her face, as if she was picturing her very features. With a sad smile, she turned to me and conyinued, “I guess, that is the reason God took her back to him. Son, she passed away on the 23rd.”

I held the diary tight to my chest and looked at her with a longing, she siged again and nodded, indicating that I could keep the diary. I gave her a small smile before she left. I was flipping through the pages of the diary, when something fell from it. On the back was written ‘Qayra Kanush Kashyap’ in the neatest handwriting. I turned it and gasped, it was a picture of the most beautiful girl I’d ever laid my eyes on. I felt a tear trickle down my cheek and fall on the photograph, that was when I realised I’d been crying this whole while. Something was similar about her features, almost as if I’d seen her somewhere but, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I had cancer too and for the first time, I wished, I desperately wished that it would kill me, it would take me away and send that angel back on earth. If I could exchange my life for her’s, I’d do so willingly. It was only wistful thinking. With this thought in mind, I clutched the diary and the photograph to my chest and fell asleep.

Next morning, I woke up with a smile on my face, only to notice that the photograph was nowhere to be seen. I looked to my left and there, on the table lay a long stemmed white rose with a note that read, “Thank you!” And, just as incredibly as the photograph had appeared, it disappeared too. That was when the realisation hit me. I was in love with a girl who now, lived worlds apart from me. She truly was an angel in disguise.

With the realisation still weighing heavy on my conscience, I stood up from the cot and walked over to the open window. I was lost in my own tangled thoughts when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see my doctor standing there. I was stunned. She was the grown-up version of Qayra and now, everything seemed to fit in place.

She was Qayra’s mother. I shook my head and questioned her, her sad sigh and nod were enough to prove my instincts. There was a pregnant silence hanging in the air and after a while, she spoke, “The nurse told me,” she hesitated so, I nodded for her to continue, “Qayra was special, she was gifted though, some might prefer saying cursed. She used to have premonitions through her dreams, more often than not, they turned out to be true.” again she looked up at me as if asking whether she should continue, with a nod I indicated that she could. “She knew about you. You’ll be perfectly fine. She’d told me so.” with that said, she left.

It’s been 3 months now and, just as Qayra predicted, my cancer was fully cured. The irony of it all was that I was in love with her and I hadn’t ever really met her. Her usual appearances in my dreams were the only things I looked forward to these days.

Not so Independent India

15th August 1947, Indians achieved freedom from the evil clutches of the British East India Company. Yeah, I say Indians and not ‘We’, because we got freedom but, the Indians back then, they achieved it, they fought for it. They were Indians in every sense of the word. They were the true blue Indians. Honestly, I can say, “I’m proud of my nation” but, I cannot ever bring myself to say, “I’m proud to be an Indian.” Why should I be? The only ones who really can say that are our soldiers- the jawaans, the naval officers, the air force officers- not us, never us. And, these Indians are the only ones I’m proud of.

We Indians are honoured to be protected by such dedicated soldiers. They give up their lives to protect us and what do we do? We mock them. Yes, that’s right. The Sardars are the ones who form The Indian Defence Forces majorly and it is them who we make sick jokes on? Why? You sleep soundly at night because you know that there are Indians at the borders who’re giving up on their sleep just so they could protect you. You don’t have to worry about dying in the middle of the night by gunshots or grenades, it is them.

No, we’re not Independent. We’re dependent on these jawaans and above all, we’re dependent on ‘The Government’. The Government which does everything but govern. It collects taxes and promises a better India. Where is the better India? It is in the houses of these ministers, it is in the houses of corrupt officials. India is just India for us commoners. Indians still are slaves. We’re slaves to these government officials. 65 years of Independence and racism still exists. We still live in an orthodox society. The fight for freedom still isn’t over. Remember the ‘Quit India Movement’ of 1942? The two eyes of India (The Hindus and The Muslims) united to fight against The British. Why not today then? Why can’t we unite to fight against the government? To fight against corruption? Is our pride so important that we disrespect our nation’s biggest strength- unity?

I cannot speak on behalf of all the Indians but, I can speak for myself. I pledge that I will strive to bring about whatever little change I can bring in our society, in our nation. I hope all of you do too. I’m proud of India and I’m proud of those true Indians who die to protect us but, I cannot be proud of all Indians. I cannot be proud of myself as an Indian because, quite frankly, I have done nothing for my nation, I probably never will but, I vow to try. It is the thought that counts people! It is our right to freedom, fight for it. Happy Independence Day!

A salute to the tri-color and a salute to the Defence Forces. Jai Hind!

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