Everyone who knew Subha had only one piece advice for her, don’t be so kind and simpleton. The world we live in, is so devious and finds pleasure in taking advantage of the clement. She always smiled when she heard those words and ignored them. She felt she need not change her behaviour because someone asked her to change and she always thought she was right. Whenever she helped others who were in need, she felt a happiness and fulfilment, which no one understood. She could never say NO, to those who asked her something. But now, she understood, she was all wrong and others were a hundred times right.
Subha sat on the wooden recliner near the window. Her eyes reflected the tinge of pain her heart bore. She looked at the newspaper she was holding, and gaped at that news again and again. Her classmate Rita has won the award for the most promising writer that year. Beside the news, was the photograph of Rita, receiving the award from the acclaimed writer of the nation. Subha read the comment of the jury. “Talented young authors like Rita give much hope to the world of literature, which shows that the cyber world hasn’t yet killed the interest of young minds in literature.” Subha sighed. The news was followed by a short interview with the winner. Subha thought she was reading one of the greatest white lies she had ever known.
“Q: What was your inspiration to write?
Rita : You know, writing was my passion right from my childhood. I used to write something, whenever I got free time, either a poem or a story, and if I don’t, I felt I would die with a heart suffocating with ideas. I always knew I had those instincts to write, and I had determined to become a writer. To put it simple, I would say, writing gave me life, than Oxygen.”
[Subha knew Rita from her school days, she never wrote a story or a poem, she never sang, she never drew or painted, she never danced. She never had an ability at least to enjoy arts or literature. Subha remembered that Rita was always absent, whenever they had a Youth/Arts festival. Deep in her heart she was jealous about everyone who was gifted in one way or other. Subha might be the only one who knew this truth. Yes, she would have died suffocated by that terrible jealousy, but never because of sprouting ideas! ]
“Q: How do you see this award? Yours’ is a rare case, with just one work you have become so famous..
Rita : Ahh, as you can imagine, I feel happy and honoured to receive such a great recognition, at this early age, that too from a great writer. It inspires me to pen down my still hidden splendid ideas. My fans expect more from me, I can’t disappoint them in anyway, and that gives me much responsibility. And, I would like to disclose my other plan, I am thinking of donating the money I got, to the mid day meal programme of that village school.”
[Subha jerked with contempt. “Yuk, your achievement? How did you get it, u crook? You asked my story to read, some seven years back. I gave you. You said you need to take it home, as you couldn’t finish it at school, I agreed (I do curse that moment! ). When I asked for it, you said you haven’t completed (Completed what-reading or copying?). I asked again, you gave me that back…but you cheat, who thought you would have copied it and now applied for the contest! When you gave me compliments and asked explanations, I never thought my classmate would deceive me someday, taking over the authorship of my work! How could you fake everything in front of the world? And is it you, Rita, who is going to make donation? You have never given a penny to the needy, though you were wealthy. You believed money is something which is never to be parted or shared. “If I have, I enjoy; if others don’t have, let them suffer, that’s their fate and all should accept their fate!” I remember, that’s what you said to the girl who asked to contribute to the ‘poor box’. U cruel!”]
“Q: Can you share something about your next work?
Rita : I don’t want to kill the suspense now. But, you can hear about it very soon”.
[Subha disrelished her inability to say ‘no’. Yes, you might have already snatched some one else’s work and may be busy copying it in your own hand or typing it, who knows!]
Subha felt guilty for believing others. It was her work, her creation, her effort of many restless days and sleepless nights, her sweat, her pain and when completed, it was her joy ! Now, it gave her a lasting heart burn and pleasure for the undeserved! How mean is this world! A tear dropped from her eye rolled onto the newsprint. The news she read, burned to ashes, under her eye.