I had everything what a living being aspired for on this earth. Or at least almost everything. I was a happy go lucky type. I did not worry at all. I was happy the way I grew, getting all the love and care. I did not pester anyone. Instead I loved them all a lot.
I did not have to move about for any of my needs. Because I was unable to walk. Then again I was not grumbling .I was seldom kept in waiting for any of my wants. What more could I have asked for.
My dear ones thought a world of me. I gave them all my life and my soul. I don’t know whether souls existed. If at all they did, then I wanted myself to be reborn here .But that time I wanted my legs in action. I often wondered whether such things as life after death occurred or whether we could choose the next birth. If there was a birth at all. Any way that is a fiction as far as I was concerned. Here I was happily enjoying the love and care of my foster relations. Yes Shankaran uncle brought me from another house because he liked me very much and I was unwanted there. They were waiting for someone to come and take me. It was then Shankaran uncle came and owned me. Lucky me!!
Just yesterday the little ones Swathi and Santhosh – Shankaran uncle`s off springs were petting me. I enjoyed it all immensely. We were almost the same age. I liked it very much when Swathi clutched my limbs and pulled me. I did not hurt her in any way. As I knew, if I hurt her it would really be serious.
Nights were the most difficult. Everyone was supposed to sleep in their own places. But I hated to be left alone. But then that is life.
Rain and shine brought smile on my people`s face. I was also very happy. Because they were happy. The eldest one Santhosh asked me once ``hey why don’t you grow up fast? “I just smiled and shook my head. It is not in our hands how tall or fast you grow up. It is all our destiny and something we acquire from hereditary. Why should I say all those things and make Santhosh sad. Funnily enough even I thought why Santhosh was not growing fast enough..
Arguments apart, Swathi and Santhosh were my best friends. They loved playing with me .It felt as if Shankaran uncle and Meera aunty too felt that their children were very safe playing with me although we were more or less the same age. It looked as if I always belonged here. Shankaran uncle loved me the best. He loved me more than his own children. Basically Shankaran uncle is a taciturn person. But when someone asked about me or when he was alone with me, words came pouring out from him. Meera aunty often brought my food to me .At times she would stand beside me and take a selfie. Then she would say ``photos got a beauty of its own when you are in it with me, dear “.Then she would smile to herself and go away to flaunt it elsewhere. I am sure it is WhatsApp-the current craze.
We all grew up together .I was the tallest .Shankaran uncle was very happy seeing my growth. Because he considered it as a boon. ``I will never ever give you to any one or will I ever leave you’’. Shankaran uncle was turning emotional. As if I would go away from such affection and care!
Swathi’s wedding was an occasion I would never forget. Such pomp and pleasure everywhere around. So many people came .Some stayed back for a day or two after the wedding. Their little children played with me and I forgot for a moment Swathi would be gone away. The new children were pushing and pulling me .But I was happy .They can’t hurt me .I am a big person now. Meera aunty came running to my side and told me to excuse the little kids. As if I would not. Meera aunty`s eyes always shorn so brightly when she looked my way .She was indeed so proud of me.
Swathi’s departure to her husband`s house created a numbness in me .Santhosh too would be gone away to Bangalore .As he got a job in an IT company there.
Shankaran Uncle almost always spend the days with me .He too must be missing his children. But his solace was beside me .I made him happy. Meera aunty was always grumbling of some pains or aches. Arthritis was a sickness about which one can do little about. None bothered much with me .Not because they didn’t want to, But because they couldn’t. .
Now a days Leila the maid was rude to me .Because she knew Meera aunty seldom minded her works .It was her paradise now with no one to point an accusing finger at her work. I knew this would pass, this lacklustre existence of both uncle and aunty were transient .So I minded my own business. The only thing I cannot stand was the way Leila spat near my place.
It was a Friday night. It was drizzling since morning. So Shankaran uncle resorted to his bed. Or that was what I thought .But Meera aunty was running about with a concerned face. By late night too, Shankaran uncle`s room showed all the lights on. What was happening? I felt something was very wrong. I wished then I had able legs. I could have walked in and watched what was happening there .But I preened in to his room. There was a doctor tending to uncle and Swathi and Santhosh too were there .Meera aunty was weeping slowly.
An ambulance stopped in front of their house .Shankaran Uncle was lifted in to it and driven away in a jiffy.
Silence and sadness ruled the place. I waited with baited breath. No one was around. A silly bird came and sat near me. I shooed it away with my hand. I wanted to be left alone. I missed my dear uncle so much. I prayed to God to bring him back hale and hearty. !!
But nothing of that sort happened…By noon, the next day, the same ambulance brought back Shankaran uncle`s dead body.
It was laid in a flower decked space in his front room .Flowers and wreaths were placed on his body .He was indeed a great man!!
My world came crumbling down .What would I do without his nearness? I cried in silence .Who would now want a static being?
By evening some men came and stood near me and looked me up and down. Then one of them said `` let us cut this down for the funeral. It is the best mango tree for this purpose. “
I was cut down for making the funeral pyre for Shankaran Uncle ….
I was happy while the flames caught me .I camouflaged uncles` body as long as I could, before I succumbed to the huge flames that engulfed me and made us both a handful of ashes!!