‘Life. What is it, Dada?’
‘Umm… Take a guess dear.’
‘I don’t know. May be its living here in Durgapur.’
‘Oh really?’ (laughs)
‘I don’t know. Ma keeps saying we’ll go to Delhi soon. But I don’t see it happening. I know this place in and out. But I want to see more.’
Picking up a crayon, Joy drew a stick figure of his mother and his brother, Arko on a drawing paper and handed it over to his uncle.
‘Here. Now, can you tell me please, what is life? Dada, won’t help me.’
‘I think you should go out and play now Joy.’
‘Uffff.. nobody tells me a single thing. I want to be an adult soon’
The seven-year old Joy asked this question every day from all his neighbours lately. A child of his age was so concerned about knowing the meaning of Life since the time he overheard an argument between his mother and his Uncle. He asked his best friends, Akul and Kishan too. Nobody knew what he was referring to. It was quite intriguing till he actually got to know of it.
‘Yea. I’m coming Ma. Just a minute.’
He quickly wrapped up his bag and stuffed the lunchbox inside in a hurry.
‘Be back by 7. We have to go to Shushmita aunty’s for greetings of Basant Panchami, remember?’
‘I’m not sure Ma. I’ll see you. Bye.’
He stepped on a few rocks on the nearby construction site on his way to the bus stand. Joy was known for his punctuality in college. But, his attendance was going to be less than a 100% this semester, only because he stayed up late night to finish his assignment.
‘I can’t seem to follow up on this one. Can you please explain Sir?’
Mr. Amitav looked straight into Joy’s eyes, ‘I will. But don’t be late or you won’t get it ever again.’
‘I’m sorry Sir. Won’t happen again.’ He started noting down every word Mr. Amitav said.
When he reached home that evening, he looked for his mother in every room. At last, when Joy finally laid down on the couch for a nap, he heard their footsteps and giggles. His mother and Arko were back from the function. He still chose to keep his eyes closed just to get that one loving hand caressing his hair.
‘Aw. He’s already asleep. My boy.’ Shudipta kissed his son’s forehead and covered him with a blanket.
When she went to sleep, Arko sat on Joy’s feet and woke him up with a sibling mischief by tickling his ear.
‘Aeee.. What’s your problem? Let me sleep, no.’
‘As a kid, you always wanted to know what life is. Do you want me to tell you now?’
‘Dada, I’m really sleepy. Please.’
Arko held his brother’s hand.
‘This right here. This is life. This is love. Ma always loved you more, just like I do. I still don’t know the reason but, this is what you must know.
Life is about living in the moment. I know you weren’t asleep when she ran her fingers in your hair. You know it deep down but I just thought of reminding you. We’re always here for you. Don’t worry about your score or your job. You’ll always have everything you need. Just have faith.’
‘But Dada..how did you know I was thinking the exact same thing?’
‘Well..I’m your brother.’
Arko left the room with a smile on his brother’s face.
Vasant Panchami is a festival of celebrating the onset of spring season in many parts of India. But, it is also a festival of love, where people dress up for their spouse and exchange gifts with their loved ones. This time, let’s allow ourselves to love with an open heart and a free mind. If we keep the image of Life, as we’ve been taught, we aren’t allowing anything new to happen. The changes in the season allow us to have a fresh start in life and take in the positivity that comes along. Having fear in our hearts, is greater than death as it doesn’t allow us to breathe. Let there be sparkle on this Vasant Panchami, while we celebrate it with a smile on our faces to lighten up the ones around us.
‘Love is the nourishment for the soul. Just as food is to the body, so love is to the soul. Without food the body is weak, without love the soul is weak.’ -Osho