It was a full moon. The serenity of vivid moon filled the surrounding with a calmness and stillness. And in those moments Divakar looked at the still lake. He sat on the bench by the lakeside, fixed his gaze at the waters and went into some profound thoughts. He was around eighty but his wrinkled face sparkled like twenty. He was old yet dressed like a young. He was charming and handsome at his age but…
“Papa…I was looking for you all around and you are sitting here…” Ajay disrupted the momentum of his thoughts.
Divakar glanced at him for a moment and one more time turned his eyes to the still and cool silver water of the lake with a brief smile over his lips.
“Papa…” Ajay got worried, “are you all right?” and he placed his hand over Divakar’s left shoulder.
Divakar appeared to come out of a dream. He looked at his son and said, “Come, sit with me.” He shifted to his right to make room for Ajay. They both sat and set their eyes at the water sharing silence for a few seconds when Divakar spoke up, “Sarika…I can see her now.”
Ajay moved his gaze at his father’s face. He was staring into those vast waters.
“Papa…wherever she will be today, she will be doing fine.”
“She will be missing me.”
Ajay became quiet. He was wordless. He too turned to observe the serene and composed lake.
Divakar again started, “I still remember that day when your mother, Leela, told me that she is going to be a mother, and I was so energized and pleased. We both desired to have a daughter as our first baby because daughters bring that joy and happiness in life which no son can bring even though they live with us forever. Daughters at all times bring that smile which no son can buy us with his salary and gifts. Daughters bring those tears in eyes behind which lies a delight but when a son brings tears in eyes, they are painful. And even then everyone wants to have sons.”
“We were so keyed up and had so many plans for our baby. And finally the day came when my Sarika came onto the earth. We both were so cheerful and ecstatic. Our prayers were heard. But there were many who were saddened. Your grandmother was so dismayed on the birth of a daughter that she didn’t have food for five days and thereon she didn’t converse to your mother till the day were born. I struggled hard to make her understand that it’s not Leela’s mistake and in fact it’s a good fortune that we had a girl in our family. Nevertheless she was not willing to comprehend anything.”
“Time spent by and Sarika grew to a younger girl. It was a splendor to see her grow. Her beauty was fair, dimpled cheek enhanced by her curly brown hair tied into a small ponytail. Her lovely frocks amplified her charm and then wearing those small anklets which Leela brought for her small feet; she danced all around the house and spread happiness with her smile. It was an enchantment to look at her.”
“People were against me when I determined to send her to school. They thought it’s the wastage of money to spend on daughter’s education rather I should save for her marriage. However I went in opposition to everyone. I sent her to school and then to college for higher education. I wanted her to be self-sufficient. As she grew up, she became my friend and at times she was my mother as well as father. She cared for everyone not bothering what she will get in return. Her affection for all was selfless. She was pure at heart. Daughters are like this only.”
“My heart ached when I had to part her from me. But that is the society’s concepts that daughters have to marry and leave their parents home. I don’t know why they made such rules? Why daughters have to depart their family? Is it because they are females and weak, so people apply all rules and restrictions on them? Why not such systems are applicable for sons? My heart cried when I saw her leaving to spread happiness in someone else’s place. I cried in the bathroom for hours after she had gone. I felt envious of that man who took my daughter away from me but what I never knew that he is going to take her forever.”
“He took her to that place from where no one can ever come back. He and his family put my little angel with her little girl on fire merely because she gave birth to a daughter. Was that justified? Was his mother not a daughter of somebody? How his mother was not murdered when she gave birth to his sister? What did they get out of it now? What son had he got after carrying out this brutal and malicious deed? What heir of his property he had got now? They are spending their entire life in jail…those atrocious heads will never get peace anywhere even after they die. My Sarika is waiting for them. She was strong and valiant. She was my soul, my spirit, my strength, my smile, my angel, my full moon…”
Ajay found his eyes moist but apart from that his father who had not shed tears nor conferred about Sarika with any person in these thirty years since her demise. Ajay was as quiet as a statue. He could hear Divakar sob.
“Papa…” Ajay turned at his father and embraced him tightly.
“I miss her Ajay…” Divakar poured her heart out for the first time.
“Yes Papa…we all miss her…she will always be alive in our hearts. She is the glowing star…the full moon…”