The sun bade goodbye and it was the time to deliver the ironed clothes back to different houses of the society. Geeta hurriedly helped her mother in folding the clothes which she was ironing. While folding the last shirt, her face showed a sign of relief; as she had to deliver them in around twenty houses, so she started tying them in different bundles. Taking three bundles at a time she left from her small room, which very efficiently occupied many things including a table used to iron clothes, a gas stove with some utensils which showed the cooking area inside and of course piles of clothes which were the only source of earning their livelihood. It was the place where she and her mother along with three of her younger siblings were spending their life.
As she moved out she saw that the sky which she used to admire daily seemed to be filled with thousands of artificial and colorful stars, it glittered like it has become gold and diamond studded sky with a musical effect in the background. One could barely see the stars, which otherwise very proudly shined at night, pretending to be the owner of the sky. She was so mesmerized by the view that she didn’t even realized that for last couple of minutes she was just standing and looking at the sky without blinking an eye. In order to make up for the lost time, she geared up the speed and started delivering the clothes.
After she handed the clothes in every house, she had to wait outside for the money she earned and that was the time she sensed the change in the environment of the houses. Unlike always they were more lighted, more colorful and beautifully decorated. Her taste buds could easily get the flavors of the mouthwatering dishes which were being prepared in the kitchen by using only one of the sense organ which was able to smell. Everyone seems to be excited and busy in getting new things for their house, purchasing gifts for the dear and near ones and shopping new designer clothes for themselves. She was fascinated by looking at the beautiful change everywhere, may it be inside the houses, outside the buildings or up above in the sky.
The festive fever seems to be contagious and even the air seems to be contaminated by the festive viruses.
After delivering all the bundles when she reached her dimly lighted room which somehow appeared to be unaffected by the change in the entire surroundings, all her thoughts just vanished like air releases from a balloon when it is pricked with a pin. But her curious and innocent mind could not resist from asking questions to her mother who somehow pretended to be busy cooking food for them. Perhaps she was able to figure out the food which Geeta was cooking in her anxious mind and hence tried to escape from the interrogation.
Geeta asked, “Maa, Why are we not like other people? Why have we not purchased new clothes, lights and crackers? Why are you not preparing sweets and good dishes for all of us? Why our room is not lighted and decorated beautifully? Why even the air around us seems to be unaffected by the dazzled surroundings? Why are we like this? Why God has given us life like this? Bombarding of questions made her mother feel as if consecutive arrows pierced her heart repetitively and now her heart was bleeding, drenching her complete body and soul.
In reality she was well aware of her incapability to give convincing answers to her daughter, that why she was refrained from all this astounded experiences. She had no courage to tell her eight year old daughter that after her father’s sudden demise two years back, it was not very easy for her to look after the survival of all five of them. She was toiling hard so that she could send all her children to school and give them a better life in coming years. But the sad truth was that as of now she was struggling for even basic amenities like food and clothes.
While all these thoughts were wandering in her mind and Geeta was entangled in the cobweb of her questions, a voice broke the chain of their thoughts and caught their attention. She was Meera Aunty, a resident of the society carrying some big bags with her, Geeta said sorry Aunty we are closed for today, will be able to deliver the clothes tomorrow only. But she was astonished to see that Meera Aunty brought some new clothes, sweets and decorative lights for them as a festive gift. Though, Geeta’s mother was a woman with high self-respect, so she denied accepting the gifts. But she could not stand for long in front of Meera Aunty’s convincing statements and finally with a smile full of gratitude she accepted the gifts.
Even Meera Aunty was also not aware that how much happiness her small gesture has given to them. She not only brought gifts for them in fact she became the reason for wonderful smiles on their faces and spark in their dull bodies. It was more than enough to blow away the cobwebs which captured Geeta’s mind. And the smile which ran through their faces could be visible in their whole body which suddenly got energized as if a draining battery got connected to the battery bank.
Now the change which was visible everywhere outside, could now be felt in that small room also, all of them were dancing with joy as finally the air inside the room was also affected by the festive virus. It was Meera Aunty who lightened their hearts and lives too!