The kids were there too – noses pressed against the patio glass, anxious to see their tall friend being killed slowly. “Mumma, look they are pulling our tree!”
Yes, I was ‘their’ tree. Their only friend, after the family had migrated to this new land. Since the first day, they warmed up to me as I stood guard in front of their apartment.
I entertained the kids by hosting squirrels, birds and insects on my barks. When spring came, I bore berries and flowers, cheering mom and dad. I adored them all.
Every morning, I waited for the lady to draw curtains. She would give me the sweetest smile before starting daily chores.
Today, she was not smiling rather frantically calling up someone in an attempt to save me – her dying companion! But it was too late now…
( Written in memory of a lovely tree that stood in front of our house when we moved to the US in 2013. It had to be cut last year due to maintenance reasons but we had spent some deeply touching moments with it. It had a beautiful soul.)
This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more.
Such was the case of my maternal grandmother and her Sakhi (friend) – a lovely, charming woman who always stood by her. Also, making of their friendship had its roots in the noble Sakhi Tradition – an ancient ritual of female bonding, practiced primarily by North Indian ladies.
Now, a little about this interesting tradition which unfortunately no longer exists – According to ‘Women’s Lives Women’s Rituals in the Hindu Tradition’, “The sakhi relationship represents a female-female union that imitates the marital bond, but may surpass blood or marital kinship bonds in terms of its professed meaningfulness in women’s lives.”
The ritual would be initiated by tying a sacred thread or sending over some food or goodies to a lady with request to be friends. When the other party accepted, the ladies in question would take an oath to be a part of each other lives, stand by each other and actively participate in each other’s functions etc.
They would promise each other – “Everyone including parents, spouse or kids may leave you but I will never leave you.” When such ritual friendships were formed, the bonding took on spiritual fervour. It was considered a great sin to bad mouth, cheat or betray a Sakhi.
Something akin to this happened between my grandmother and Sakhi Nani (as we fondly called her). I don’t know who took the first step but they formed this sacred friendship. At that time they were young, beautiful brides in a village that observed strict purdah. They had to be meek and respectful… sort of stifled always. I guess, this relationship allowed them to be themselves – to talk and laugh freely.
My grandma would cook special dishes for her Sakhi and send over to her house. Her sakhi responded with equal enthusiasm. My grandfather died when my mother was very young, Sakhi Nani and her family did their best to support my grandma during the worst phase of her life.
My grandmother later moved with us but she always missed her Sakhi. I never heard her mentioning one negative word about her throughout my life. She would keep aside little things to gift her special Sakhi. And it was fun whenever we went over to the village – Sakhi Nani and her huge family always welcomed us with open arms.
Sadly, both the Sakhis are no more but till date, even the little kids in our homes know the story of their great friendship.
This was a rare tradition of women-only participants in a male dominated society. We ladies have a private little world, filled with feelings, nostalgia and things that only a woman can understand. Wouldn’t it be great to share this with a lifelong Sakhi, who would not be judgemental!
These days when sacredness has left almost every relationship, I wish the beautiful tradition of Sakhi had lived on…
Images courtesy Google
He felt disoriented on seeing the picture. After rubbing his eyes, he looked again. Yes, there she was…prominent in her white bag and blue jacket, studying something.
How could this be true? His mind was probably playing tricks on him. When he had clicked that picture, there was no one around.
He was aging and she looked just the way she had looked on their last day in college.
Twenty years back, they had parted, ready to pursue their separate careers, fully aware that they would never ever meet again.
But she had surprised him by extracting a promise. They were to meet exactly twenty years later at this favourite haunt to celebrate their friendship.
He had remembered the promise and had gone to that spot. But how could he expect her to be there? He knew she had long been dead… soon after she left college!
(This is a tribute to ‘After Twenty Years’-a lovely short story by the great O Henry)
This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. For more information, click HERE.
Welcome to the first birthday celebrations of my blog child Adivir ( Stories by Shivangi) on WordPress. I am glad you could make it!
When I started blogging with two little ones around, I was not sure about the consistency of my posts. But then ‘You’ came along and everything changed. Your likes, your appreciation, your comments, your ideas, your posts sort of liberated and motivated me. I am indebted to you, dear, for enabling my blog child Adivir ( Stories by Shivangi) to grow into a one year old beauty.
Adivir is humbled to have around 200 friends on WP and a number of supporters on other social media too.
This child of mine came into life with my first post ‘A Short Ghost Story’, on January 30, 2015. A year from today! She had no readership except for a single comment by my friend. But since then she has grown on your support despite the fact that I am unable to devote much time to her.
Owning a blog and maintaining it gives one great feeling of power and happiness. I experienced it while running this blog. It gave my creativity a new lease of life. And whenever I stopped writing ‘You’ egged me on with a kind comment.
Late Barbara Beacham’s ‘Monday’s Finish the Story’, enabled me to write posts while I was on the move with a six month old baby and a three year old. Barbara is no more and I miss her. If she were not around during the initial days, I might have stopped writing. She was one of those who brought fresh ideas and appreciation…
Then, there is You! The Reader! I write because I have to… and it becomes all the more pleasurable when I feel You are around… nodding, smiling or may be disapproving. But you are there for Adivir… and that is the most important thing.
Kindly keep blessing Adivir with your love and encouragement. I am sure she will try her best to keep you company this year as well as years to come.
Have fun here and don’t forget to pop the mouth watering rasgullas before you leave. May Krishna Bless You!
Images courtesy Google