15 years back I had a very comfortable life, my husband was earning well and kids were doing good too. My role was that of a provider to the demands like housewives in our country are expected to do. I always aspired to be a dancer but with marriage, I packed my aspirations in a bag on the way to my new address. And really never got a chance to open up that sealed bag (smiles). Responsibilities piled up so does the monotony and mundaneness of life. At the end of the day, I had this feeling of being hollow from within. But no matter what, I had (still have) this habit of visiting the local library every 15 days. There I met this stranger. She was searching for a book on Indian classical dance. And coincidentally I was reading the same genre. She came to me and quietly (almost in a gesture for we were in a library) asked, “in which corner did you find this?”. I showed the directions and got busy with my book again. In a few minutes, she came back and sat reading. As we lifted our heads from our respective reads we passed smiles at each other.
She was very young, around 20 years. Now I saw her more often at the library. We slowly became friends despite the age gap between us. I found out she had an inclination towards Indian classical dance like me. She was pursuing her dreams. I was in awe of her. I told her “Roshni (so apt to her which means light) you are so lucky to be able to live your dream. I am in awe of your family too.”
She smiled and said “I don’t have a family. Born to a sex worker, rescued by a good samaritan, called names by the society, it has always been a struggle to survival. But that has made me strong only, strengthened my resolve to make it better for myself and likes.“
I was left dumbfounded. I could only say and all this while I have been complaining about my life when it is so comfortable. She chuckled hard at my words. Days passed and I eagerly waited to meet her again at the library. But she never turned up again, instead of left a note with the librarian addressed to me.
“Don’t belittle your problems by stopping to dream and only complaining. Thank the hurdles in your way, thank the taunts and insults hurled at you for they might appear to be stoned but you can make them into stepping stones to your success and happiness. They might appear to be dust and twigs directed towards you but you can make them your wings. A comfortable life never always means a happy one too. If you’ve got one such life make better use of it and don’t waste it slogging through years. Your happiness is your responsibility. And show your gratitude towards God by being a good human and having humanity.”
Chaya finished her diary writing and glanced at the state award she received for her exemplary work in the field of humanitarian service to the sex workers and their kids and yes beside that award stood her achievements as a classical dancer, she always dreamt of. And in her heart, she thanked Roshni again “Thank you for the wings”.