Monday, 21 November 2011

Orphans



     "If God is a man, I guess he will teach me now to live without him."
     This is exactly what Sister Grace said as she handed back her neatly folded habit to the Mother Superior and slithered back to the world. Her grey coat got wet in the heavy rain into which she walked absentmindedly, holding an umbrella that failed to protect her from the rain drops that fell down like little stones of accusation. She stared blankly into the open spaces of chaos where she would have to struggle hard once again, to find a place of her own.

*****

     After two years, Grace has come back to the convent, knowing no one will recognize her. Her hair has grown back, and the girlish curiosity in her Irish eyes has come back to life.
     She stood outside the convent, in heavy rain. Cars swished past her in the Delhi traffic. She was no more a stranger in the city, since she had found a place for herself in the chaos. She wore the same coat, but her umbrella was new and bigger, the kind that could protect her from heavy raindrops.
     She stood there for a moment and let memories claim her ...
     The sense of security she felt within that old building in the initial days and the eventual loss of it as she realised the disparity between the fluidity of her concept of God and the rules written in stone there. 
      Her idea of an inner liberation and the constraints of so called faith there, which served no purpose other than the stifling of her spirit. 
     The young Brahmin girl whom she taught in the convent school, and how she fell in love with the flowing robes of the Christian God. It was good as long as she could keep it fluid and to herself, but her parents found that out and dragged her out of the convent, forever. It was just the good education that they needed, not all that nonsense about a better God and religious conversion, the father said. 
     The suffering of the inmates that went unnoticed in the process and were glorified once they were over. 
     The heartless assault on her artistic endeavours. 
     The realisation that it was not about being in the wrong place, but that she was trying in vain to escape from one thing to the other. 
     The arguments within...
     "I don't regret leaving you all" she said, as she entered the convent. She went to the shrine inside and sat there on the cement bench near the idol of the saint. It didn't surprise her that there was no living soul around. The male God looked at her enticingly from a distance, from across the courtyard where the shrine dedicated to him stood. His brown, flowing hair and blue eyes retained the same charm. And the flowing robes...
     "I have nothing against you", she whispered. "It's just that I couldn't stand it when they did misinterpret you on a daily basis. I felt like an orphan when I left you then. But now I am at peace, with the little orphans I have adopted. I see you in them." 
     She stood up and gave a maternal pat on the back of the Saint's idol and waved towards the male God's idol. She moved towards the big gate that opened to dust, noises and confusion. She couldn't help turning back to look compassionately at the idols again. 
     "Don't worry my poor orphans...I will come here as often as I can. Please don't feel that I have deserted you. I wish you had a life, and could walk with me..." 
     Grace walked back into the rain, with the open umbrella held confidently in her frail, pale hands.  Raindrops fell merrily on it.

*****

Image Courtesy: Creative Writing Ink, Writing Prompt, November 14th 
http://creativewriting.ie/2011/11/14/november-14th-creative-writing-prompt-2/ 



6 comments:

  1. Beautiful story...lots of heart in it

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  2. 'Multum in parvo', as they say (or used to): a lot in a little. Very effective story. I particularly love the opening lines.

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  3. Thanks a lot Phil. this means a lot to me.

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