This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 04 Jan 2014 and won INR 500
This short story is selected as Story of the Month December’2013 and won INR 1,000
This story is selected as Editor’s Choice
The wind blew past her kissing every inch of her body. Her long skirt danced with the rhythmic pounding of the wind. She was walking barefoot on the wide stretched seashore leaving her footprints on the wet sand. The rolling waves erased her footprints from the sand as they stretched forward to the shore, and then rolled back to the vast unfathomed tunnel of the sea. The Sun was melting in the lap of quivering sea and the sunrays gleamed on the water. She carried her shoes in her hand and waded along the isolated beach up to the sunlit rocks.
She had spent uncounted hours for the last few years sitting on those rocks feeling the cool, salty sea beneath her feet. She stared upward into the sky and watched the colors of the sky. The setting sun had painted the canvass of the sky with orange, pink and gray shades.
Everything looked so perfect. Everything looked so beautiful.
Beautiful, She murmured the word to herself and turned her head down to see her reflection in the sea.
A face floated on the surface of the water. An ugly face it was.
“I don’t want to go to school.” She declared one day. She had just come back from the school with wet and swollen eyes.
Her mother gazed at her with a worried look in her eyes and then she hugged her tight.
She knew the inevitable had happened.
“They call me the ugly duckling in the school” she paused. “Why am I so different from the others?”
She cried hysterically.
“Its ok honey. Everything will be fine.’’ Whispered the worried mother. She offered a silent prayer for her.
Asmi was perhaps the ugliest baby that one would have ever seen. Doctors diagnosed her with NPS syndrome, a rare disease which causes accelerated ageing, decreased fat and wrinkled skin. Her head was three times greater then that of normal child.
She looked worse then her grandmother.
“Nobody wants to talk to me. Nobody!” She cried. “Nobody wants to be my friend. Why do they all bully me Maa?”
“They will.” consoled her mother.” They surely will.” Mother paused. “One day you will be the best of them all.”
She had sobbed in the arms of her mother till she fell asleep.
Days passed, seasons cycled periodically.
Her life became unutterably hell with each passing day. She lost her hair .Her eyesight faded.
Her appearance was getting uglier day by day while her soul was becoming more and more beautiful.
She could hear the whispers and the giggles behind her back. She could notice pairs of eyes staring at her on the roads, in the bus, in the school, in the market, in the restaurants. She was followed by inhuman comments everywhere she went.
“How horrible she looks!” She could hear people saying behind her back.
And that moment she would feel tired of life.
“I want to escape these sufferings Maa.I am miserably hopeless”. She confronted to her mother.
The next morning she felt the warmth of soft lips on her forehead.
“Happy birthday, my child.” Wished her mother.
She had turned sixteen that day.
“And this is your birthday gift”. Mother handed her a beautifully covered box as she kissed her on her cheeks.
“Thanx maa.” She smiled wryly and began unpacking the gift. A book and a diary with a pen was her birthday present.
ASHTAVAKRA,she read the title aloud. The book was about an Indian sage who was physically disabled with eight deformities in his body. The book depicted his journey from adversity to success to final redemption.
“These are going to be your best friend. They will guide you whenever you feel defeated. They will listen to you whenever you want to burst your feeling out. They will talk to you whenever you feel alone.” She was listening to her mother, dumbly.
From that day on wards books became her sole companion. Her romance with books kept on increasing as she read about other people who enlightened their lives with their mental strength and will power.
She read about the life of Helen Keller, John Milton, Beethoven and many more. She got to know that she was not the only one.
She started writing stories and novels. Her personal experience reflected in the characters of her story. As in one of her book, the protagonist says:
“..I too want to have a fairy tale love story..I too dream of a prince who would sweep me off my feet and hold me in his arms…”
She would burst her feelings out in her writings like one of her character says: “…. For God sake, I AM HUMAN..I have the right to live a dignified life…”
She had turned thirty-eight this year. She had become a respected name in the field of literature and a famous motivational speaker.
Her book ‘When everything turns dark’ had won the prestigious noble prize. She had made the country proud of her. She was being applauded everywhere for her courage and her appetite for life.
She was still staring at her reflection in the water. A winner’s smile kissed her lips.