The pain of separation of dear ones, though it is for a while, cannot be explained even by those who went through that, as it is not mere sadness or sorrow but extreme numbness of body, mind, and the soul. The story of Abigale, a little girl who was abducted by some antisocial elements, enroute from school along with her little brother, had passed severe chills through my spine, the reasons are unknown but, I guess, may be due to similar incident encountered at the early days of my life.
When the tiny stream passing through the muddy roads were flooded with the heavy monsoon rains, small fishes swam across the roads to the canals of the other side, ducks snorkeling in canals and ponds in search of their fortunes, cows and calves trying to find a shade beneath the drenched trunks, we simply sat on the verandah near the car porch, deeply praying to the god to somehow block our tuition teacher enroute, to save us from her boring classes. We could see the other end of the road, which was merging to a main road, from where our teacher must walk past the huge puddles to reach our home to teach us. Usually, the rainy days are hard to resist for us to roam around, where we could takeout our acquired skillsets to skip the water with one leg to catch a type of tiny fish-Manathukanni- with a deep bright white spot on its head, to put it in horlicks jars. But by drenching our sincere prayers in vein we could see a glimpse of her, cladded in turquoise blue saree, walking slowly through the waterfilled roads with an umbrella in her right hand and books on the other. Both of us got disappointed heavily on account of the lost opportunity to run through the fresh waters with barefoot. I stood up and walked to the study room to arrange the books to get ready for the class and waited there for my younger brother to join. Teacher came in no time and read through the homework and then started a new chapter of my class IV mathematics subject, which I hate even now. Even after fifteen minutes past, my brother hadn’t joined the class, which I felt jealous about, as he was often allowed to skip the classes, for lame reason of being in second standard!
But few more minutes passed, and no symptom of he being around, I took the permission of teacher to drink some water and took a quick look round through our compound in search of him. To my dismay there was no trace of him, and I went back to class to tell the teacher, to call him to attend the class. Teacher, being sensed the seriousness of the situation, started looking for him, soon after the neighbors also joined us. There was no clue about him though we all searched for him, and few started searching in nearby ponds and well, which was filled with water to the brim. Suddenly the situation got fired up and I could see the loud cry of my mother and, father searching all the nook and corner of our compound. I felt helpless, numb being tried and hopeless, sat on a corner of our porch without doing nothing for a while. Everyone was panicked to the core, and I overheard someone saying about chance of him drowning into the depth of the canal filled with algae and long grown grass. Being devastated, I ran to the kitchen to have a gulp of water and took a mouth full to quench the thirst and to water down the fear gushing through the belly to my eyes to fill it with tears. While walking past the kitchen with a sober heart and gloomy eyes, I heard a slight giggle from somewhere beneath the chimney, where the empty gas cylinders were kept. I bowed down to look the area and, got overjoyed and thrilled, to see his leg through one side of the cylinder, where he was hiding from the teacher who came to took classes on a grand rainy day! Alas, what a relief it was for everyone, and I could clearly recollect each and every moment of those fifteen horrifying minutes, even after many more years.
As I said before, the feeling of missing someone is horrendous and unexplainable. By the time I am writing this article, little Abigale is back to her home to the warmth of her mother, care of her father and heart of her brother. Though I am very happy about the manner in which the story of Abigale turned around as a pleasant one, my heart goes out to more than 96000 children who are being separated from their beloved family, every year, by pushing their dear ones into extreme numbness and worrisome memories.
Bijoy P Pulipra