Hello fellow bloggers and friends, this story, ‘The Peace Within’ which I am sharing here with you all, was sent as an entry for a competition with a prompt, the first para being the prompt. Of course, this didn’t get selected in the winners list, so thought it’s ok to share it in this platform.
The requirement was not less than 2000 words and not more than 3000 words. I think mine is somewhere in between, so I am publishing in two parts. As the whole thing would seem too long at one stretch. The 1st part today and the 2nd part tomorrow.
Do read and let me know your opinion as you all know I am much comfortable with writing poems, I do attempt to write prose like this story and the crime series I wrote in this blog earlier, I would surely value your opinion and constructive criticism are most welcome, which will help me to improve my writing skills. Thank you all.
The Peace Within
He is looking for a girl, who does not know he exists, or the story that has brought him here. He has no reasons to be discreet but still he has to be careful. He is standing near the doorway and surveying the golden banquet hall, which is filled with refined bodies in saris and jackets, and beautiful young women with straight hair who never make facial expressions. But they will, soon. Any moment now.
As he walked into the hall, he pulled down his cap a bit low, out of sheer habit as well as, not to be too prominent in the crowd. As such it was hard for him to gel into this crowd. He never was the type who felt comfortable in a crowd, that too such a sophisticated type of crowd for that matter. He reminded himself of the reason why he was here. For, he was here with a purpose and it had to be completed before this crowd dispersed. It was his choice, not to reveal his identity to anyone. Not that it was a compulsion, but some how he chose it to be so. He was anonymous to her then, and will remain so now. All he wanted was to get a glance. A glance of his long lost daughter, who didn’t recognise him nor knew of his existence.For that matter he too knew about her only recently. He didn’t deserve to be called a father as he left the girl’s mother while she was yet in her mother’s womb. He wouldn’t have known his daughter exists, if not for that newspaper article with her story and her photo with the mother. It was by sheer chance that he came across the newspaper.
He instantly recognised the girl’s mother, his young bride had developed some white hairs but did not loose her charming smile. The daughter had inherited it too, along with his dimples. Tears of joy had welled up in his eyes, when he recognised them. Emotions choked within him. Now thinking back, he regretted leaving them over a trivial matter. He was different then, more hot blooded and stubborn as a mule. How much his wife had begged him not to leave, but being a hard nut, he just walked out, never to return. But now things have changed, he is counting his final days, the doctors had warned him of the critical condition of his heart disease. His daughter does not know he is dying ,in fact the girl did not even know he exists.
All have assembled here to acknowledge her as the Women Ambassador for Peace for the activities she did among widows, single mothers and the less privileged ones with broken homes. “Who better would know their pain than me?” She was quoted in the newspaper and this broke his heart. The disturbing pain, the throbbing pain was more than he could handle. He wished he could experience the peace which was lacking in his life, that peace which she was proclaiming, peace that goes beyond logic and understanding He did not want to die, no, not anymore, now he wanted to live just to see them. But he knew he didn’t deserve that, especially when he had deserted them when they needed him the most. Even though it was a part of the past, it has the power to affect everything including his present.
He never did anything for the girl or the mother when he could , and he didn’t deserve the recognition as her father now. But before his final day he sure wanted to see her, and what better time than she being honoured by the Governor with an award. All the women with their fine attire and sarees will look pale in front of his girl, he was sure. And all those expression less face will have to change as his daughter climbs up to receive the award with that charming dimpled smile. And he stood behind in the hall just behind a less illuminated pillar like a shadow, just to see the girl, his little girl, now all grown up.
He was tensed, all his muscles had tightened up, he knew this first ever meeting of his daughter even from far, will break all the hell loose and emotionally he will crumble down like a house of cards. He was profusely sweating in spite of the centralised air conditioning of the hall. He was warned by his doctor not to strain much, mentally or physically, to avoid a collapse. Sweating was not a good sign too as per his doctor’s advice. But he couldn’t help it. He was shivering from head to toe. Whether others noticed all these, he didn’t know but inside he was melting slowly. Voices inside told him to let go of what he was clutching too hard, dismiss them all, look the other way, the better way. “Believe in what you love and hold let time decide what is bad or good”, he told to himself. Besides, what more could go wrong, than what has happened to him already.
As the meeting started, his eyes were busy searching for his precious one, she would be among the VIP’s as she was getting the award. The seats on the Dais were still empty. Probably they will be called from the crowd and be introduced to the audience and then may be called to sit among the VIPs on the dais. He had to be alert, as he had just seen her in a newspaper photo, so his eyes searched for her frantically. Then it suddenly struck him may be even his wife, also might accompany her as it was a big day for her, as she as a single mother had successfully brought up their daughter to be truly a respectful person in the society. Heart in heart he told kudos to his wife for her brave achievement.
He stil remembered his young coy bride from the day of their marriage. To think she had so much inner strength inside her, still surprised him.
Then, the hall came alive with the sound of announcement through the mike asking those who were still loitering around to be seated, as the meeting would be commencing any minute as the Governor had arrived at the venue. This announcement woke him up from his memory drive. His mind was in sync with his heart by now. Both were running at a high pace as the minutes passed by. Did he even know where he was headed to? Over a cliff. That’s exactly where he was headed to, as that’s what his mind told or at least what’s left of it.
He wanted to feel like a feather, just to take away the stone like burden he was carrying inside his heart. Did any body have any idea, what was happening to him, how did he change, how did he become such an emotional person, when exactly did this metamorphic transformation happen? Was it when he saw his family once again in the newspaper photograph? Was that the exact moment? He didn’t know, but he knew one thing for sure, he did change into a soft person with categories of emotions flickering ever like a butterfly. He felt like a void anticipation. The enduring memories lingered
To be contd…..