|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|THEME||And He/She Changed Forever|
I was sitting on a wooden bench enjoying the cool breeze. The seawater was calm and poised and so was the ambiance too. The sands were sparkling like gemstones as the evening sunrays were kissing their surface. My eyelids almost touched each other, when I heard a humming sound. I turned around.
I saw a woman gently giving momentum to a cradle and singing a lullaby. However, the cradle was not a conventional one. It was made of an old and worn out overcoat. At one end, it was tied by the sleeves to a lamppost and fastened tightly by a cable, with a tree at the other. It was tattered here and there but was strong enough to hold what it was meant for. The woman had an ill health. From her face, it was evident that she had a tough day. She had a packet of food, all mixed together by her side. May be she had saved it for the night. A sack was leaning by the tree. It was in a condition that the things inside it were visible to me. It was full of refuses, broken glass bottles, tin cans, cardboards, some broken plastic containers etc. I think she might have got the overcoat while collecting the refuses. I became oblivion of my surrounding by that sight. It was just a few feet away from me.
In the mean time, the baby in the cradle woke up. I could hear him cry. She cuddled him with her arms. May be his mother’s arms were a more comfortable place than that fancy cradle. The baby was not obviously like the one that comes from an over caring, healthy and wealthy family. However, all babies look cute and adorable. She understood that he was hungry. He at once became mum hearing the sound of the toy that his mother made with the seashells, hanging around a cane by strings. My eyes became wet watching her, breast-feeding her child while rotating the toy in one hand. He was gazing at the toy with curiosity. It was a blissful scene for me. However, she was unmindful of my presence. The only thing that mattered to her at that moment was her child’s happiness.
He played with his mother for some time. Perhaps, the breast milk bestowed him the energy. The smile in the child’s face rejuvenated her. She got relieved of all her tiredness by the touch of the magic wand. While he was playing with the sands, she untied the cradle. May be it was time for her to go. She had to hand over the refuses to the “master rag-picker”. She laid him over the overcoat and fastened it around her shoulder and waist. She picked up the sack in one hand and kept the packet of food inside the overcoat’s pocket.
I smiled at him while they were leaving but he stared at me like a stranger. May be his mother meant everything for him in this world.
I was feeling more relaxed now sitting at the beach, which was gradually getting crowded. But something was hammering me from inside constantly.
I have seen rag pickers earlier in the sea beaches while I came with my friends and family for refreshment and enjoyment. However, I never felt like that. May be I was naive of that behind the scene story or possibly I was blindfolded by all the luxuries and amusement of life that I was blessed with.
It was the wakeup call for me. That moment of life has given me the experience, which utterly changed my perception towards life. It had implanted the seed of a large banyan tree in me.
Ranbir once shared the encounter with me while we were strolling by the seashore of the same beach. It jerked me as well. So, I chose to play his role.
He is now a businessperson by profession but spend most of the time in his foundation named “Udaan”. It works in cultivating the dreams of the ignorant and underprivileged children.