Flowers of faith

Devi Nangrani
Hindi story by Devi Nangrani
Translated by Barkha Khushalani

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, is commonly heard. Pallavi too thought that she had a bright future with her beloved Aakash and had started weaving dreams with him and was confident of making her wishes come true. They both had dreamt of their union and love was effective in binding them.

The yearning and the promises of those memories with Aakash kept ringing in her ears and pierced into her heart like a sharp nail. By now she had understood that there was no relief or escape from this excruciating emotional pain. She was trying to face this unbearable struggle but had to encounter failure at every step of her strong love for Akash. Probably it was her destiny. Pallavi looked up in the gloomy sky but found only dark clouds of disappointment and uncertainty hovering around. The beautiful loving moments spent with Aakash would loom large from the sky like stars shining up there. Meeting Akash and loving him was her only achievement. He was the same person who would feel happy at getting a glance of Pallavi. For Aakash, she was the intoxicating fragrance of flowers, the shimmer of the stars, the brightness of a full moon , the joy of the first drops of the rain. Pallavi's beauty was like a bud waiting to bloom into a colourful flower, delicate and wet with dew drops gathering on it. The drunkenness of her beauty attracted the bees. And her fragrance attracted everyone around her. But she remained untouched, safeguarding her virginity from the hovering bees like a pearl hidden in an oyster. That was her treasure and dignity.

Barkha Khushalani
Today she was facing a punishment for her innocence.Yes, if loving someone is committing a sin then she had sinned. Love is an emotion gifted by God and nature, which each one of us deserves. It is not necessary that every feel of love is reciprocated or successful. The fruits of love could taste very bitter or very sweet. Bitterness can be quickly spat but the poison of love is like nectar for the lover, and their madness in love leads the lover to swallow it and become 'Neelkanth'.

Pallavi couldn't believe it that Akash was ready to sacrifice her and her love to complete someone's life. In the name of sacrifice he would give up on one of them. He had told her that although he loved her he cannot marry her.So it was crystal clear that he had decided to sacrifice her for his elder sister Prarthana , whom he loved and respected for taking care of him since childhood. Prarthana was like a mother to Akash as their mother had passed away at a very young age. The responsibility of bringing up Aakash fell on Prarthana's delicate shoulders and she happily took over the same. But will Aakash ever be able to repay Prarthana's love and affection? Wasn't it unfair to Pallavi if he was being loyal to his sister? Pallavi was trapped in the complicated dilemma of love and devotion. He was devoted to his sister, who was just 2 years older to him. Her affection, which she showered on Akash, had not diminished over the years. After they lost their mother, Prarthana had taken care of Aakash and brought him to be this educated, young, handsome boy that he was seen now. Sustenance of relations is best understood by one who values relationships.

The chords of affection proved to be stronger than Pallavi's fibres of love. In the name of duty and sacrifice Aakash had decided to dedicate his life to his sister and spend his life in taking care of all her needs. He wanted to repay his sister's affection by cutting off all ties with the girl whom he loved that is Pallavi and was trying hard to forget her. Finally, it was decided by him that the sister's affection weighed more than Pallavi's love.

It became difficult for Pallavi to accept that Aakash had sacrificed her love and kept on sobbing bitterly throughout the night, tossing and turning, she had lost all hope and life had become unbearable for her. She sympathized with Akash's condition and quietly suffered her loneliness.
"Pallavi", she heard someone call out to her, it was like a jolt to her... shook her from her lonely world.

Someone called out to her so gently and affectionately, Pallavi came out of her thoughts and looked up.

"Yes", She couldn't utter a word more. "Love is a strange emotion which drives a person to craziness. He, you, me... we all are fulfilled in our own way and firm too".

Palavi heard everything but was choked to reply because she knew that she was innocent. Then why was she being punished? Her life had been pushed to the border. One-sided decision which wasn't hers or Prarthana's But Akash had decided.
"Pallavi, I have decided to dedicate my life to someone. I have the right to decide and I have not allowed anybody to take away that right from me. Not even Akash. I have given a part of my life to him. He is more of a son to me, than a younger brother. I have raised him and taken care of him but now I don't want to sacrifice. I want freedom, Now, I too want..."

"Now what?" Pallavi gave her a surprised look.

" Now the time has come for me to nurture a new relationship with a person who has been my strongest emotional support for all these years.He has helped me in good times and bad times. He is my pillar of strength, my shadow and nursed all my wounds. Selflessly, he has stood by me and helped me cross all hurdles with ease and has strewn my path with flowers. I want to spend rest of my life with him"

The few minutes of silence from Prarthana gave answers to so many questions. Prarthana who seemed to be wrapped in emotions of an unbreakable stone was pouring her heart out and unfolding the layers of her life one by one. Prarthana lifted her eyes and lovingly looked at Anand. He was more of a brother to Aakash than a friend. He did not leave Prarthana alone when she was bringing up Akash. He carried on assisting Prarthana selflessly and never let her know how much he loved her. This is a different and new shade of love...

Pallavi felt her love for Akash was her selfishness compared to the purity of the love between Prarthana and Anand. Her love seemed like a dwarf compared to the height of unconditional love between these two wonderful human beings. Love is an emotion which has to be watered like a plant and nurtured, and then it emits the fragrance to make everyone's life colourful and joyous. Pallavi and Akash were touched and their hearts were filled with faith by this unexpected decision made by Prarthana. Aakash was humbled by his friend Anand's sacrifice. He moved ahead and bowed down to his sister to seek her blessings. Pallavi too came closer to be blessed by Prarthana.

Anand too hugged them and Prarthana said "Saubhagyavati Bhav" (blessing in Hindi)

The union of Anand and Prarthana paved a way in binding the love between Aakash and Pallavi.

They both became one, they looked up in the sky and captured the fragrance of flowers.... The flowers of faith, they stared at the shimmering stars, they gazed at the brightness of the full moon once again and enjoyed the raindrops gently falling on their faces.

Barkha Khushalani
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