She bobbed her pretty head along with the gentle wind’s caresses, full of joy and anticipation for the time she would open to the world and enjoy the sun’s warm rays on her whole self and feel the moon’s soft light when she closed for the night.

Levla, the yellow rose bud’s excitement didn’t go unnoticed. The older flowers in the garden laughed at her excitement. It was infectious and even the weathered down ones smiled every now and then and went back to grieving as they were withering away without going through the Suffering. They would not get Emancipation, they would just rot on their plant.

“Hold back Levla,” Grifner transmitted. He was a bright yellow marigold, in his prime. “It will all happen as and when it should.”

“I look forward to my Emancipation. It will be lovely – a grand, happy one,” Levla transmitted with all her energy. A flower’s energy when transmitted could go any anywhere in the world where it willed, it could be received by any flower it wanted to convey a message to.

Levla’s open calls could be heard even far away where flowers were being strung into garlands. They heard her call despite their own wails of pain. The needle passing through them hurt and this was just the beginning. The string passing through their stalks would remain there till they withered away and their life force ebbed out. In pain, they transmitted low moans. The less fortunate ones lay discarded in a heap being of no use and not serving any life purpose. They had lost petals, been bitten by insects, damaged, unsuitable for any purpose. They transmitted groans of grief. One of them, was from Levla’s bush. Levla heard her wailing and quietened.

Flowers live for Emancipation, Levla had been taught by others in her garden. But that involves Pain. “Embrace the Pain and get free,” Luna had told her and screamed. She had been plucked at that instant when she was conversing with Levla. Levla had just started forming then. She has been an infant bud and Luna’s screams scared her. “How could such a painful experience set one free?” she thought.

Yet with time, as she knew more of the fate of other flowers, she had decided that Pain is the route to Emancipation. She was willing with all her life force to withstand and get beyond the Pain.

The glorious sun filled her with joy. She could sense her petals shaping up. She had a while to go still to blossom. Blossoming would be her preparation for Emancipation.

It was about the time after blossoming that she sometimes worried about. Would she wither away on the branch and live a life of no useful purpose? Or would she be destroyed by an insect or maybe a strong wind? She had heard the fading transmissions of others who ended that way. They felt sad as their life ebbed away. She wanted to be joyous and have an end with a purpose. The best she was told was to be part of a garland or a bouquet, be part of the community. She was told she would blend with a mass of others to decorate a gate or a pillar or a room. If she was lucky, the garland would be worn by a woman and she with the others in the garland would find their Emancipation in serving that person.

Levla wondered what had happened to Pretni. Pretni had been Levla’s mentor in the time of Early Formation. She has explained to Levla methods of staying in good shape, the trick of growing a strong sepal covering to last till she was ready to blossom, how much nutrition to take and such Flower Tricks. Pretni had explained the necessity of the bees and butterflies after blossoming. Pretni had been plucked recently and had been transmitting to Levla from her basket till she was picked up for use. After that, she had gone silent. She had no doubt withered away by now. Levla wondered if and how she had met her Emancipation.

With the onset of the morning sun the next day, Levla knew it was time to blossom. She prettied up and started pushing the sepals covering her petals. It was hard work. She had made herself strong. She huffed and puffed and yet with joy kept sending waves of happy energy around. The older flowers prodded her to put in more effort and she kept it up. The first sun rays hit her petals. She felt warm and happy. Emly, the neighboring jasmine encouraged her further. “You are lovely, Levla,” Emly transmitted her calls. “I’ll be so happy to see you in full blossom.”

It took half the day till the sun was up high when Levla felt the warmth on her whole self. She had pushed her way out of the cover of sepals. She had more to do. This was the first stage. But she could rest for a while and she enjoy the break from the hard labor.

“Pain and Suffering,” Emly said. “These feelings Emancipate you. I’ll be plucked soon and be part of a garland if the bugs don’t get me. It’s the highest Pain as the string remains in your stalk always. But all garlands find purpose. With that purpose, we bear the pain and brighten the world till we decay.”

“I’d like to be in a garland,” Levla said quietly.

“Roses generally go into bouquets,” Emly said. “Marigolds and jasmines are more fortunate to get into garlands.”

Levla hesitated. She wanted Emancipation in the best way. From what she was told, that was to be in a garland. “How does a rose ensure she goes into a garland?” she asked.

“Do the best, look pretty, the rest is destiny,” Grifner replied. He saw Emly sulk. He was experienced enough to sense her jealousy. But Grifner knew Levla was innocent and special. He didn’t want anything killing her enthusiasm. Levla summoned all her energy and prettied up.

She was told several things over the next few days as she grew stronger and beautiful. Emly kept saying roses were for bouquets. Hujer from the jasmine plant screamed loudly when she was plucked. She was discarded and tromped on. It was sad to hear her final moans. “If you show your Pain, the picker may discard you,” Grifner said after he was plucked. He had managed to stifle most of his screams after being cut off from his branch. From then, Levla decided she would put up with the Pain. She built her energy, built her petals. Anyone could tell her shape was as near to perfection as possible.

“You do all you want. Yet you are still there and here I go without no effort,” Emly cried when she was plucked one day. “It’s all destiny. Don’t waste your energy. You’ll die fast if you do.”

“I believe in effort, I will keep myself pretty for the day and I will have the best Emancipation,” Levla transmitted very softly. Her transmission was heard only by Sylvesta on the Hibiscus shrub. Sylvesta had grown on a high branch. She was too far from the ground to be plucked. “Keep going, Levla,” she said. “I believe in you and wish you all luck.”

She was growing old and the first sign of decay had started. Levla was concerned. She has not yet been plucked. She didn’t want to rot on the bush. She wanted to live her life of purpose and go through her Pain with resilience. But was Emly right? Had she used her energy too quickly?

Levla heard Sylvesta’s happy transmission. Sylvesta had no expectations, no worries. Connecting her thoughts with Sylvesta, Lelva decided she would remain happy – no matter what. She gathered her energy and let out happiness all over. The garden heard and the flowers smiled. Her joy was contagious.

It happened!

Her happiness was mixed with the sharp sensation at her stalk. She realized she was being plucked. She thanked Sylvesta and continued her happy transmissions. She remembered her resolve to be happy at that moment and that she would not express her Pain. She continued spreading happiness. The flowers rejoiced. It wasn’t a while till her intensity reduced that Sylvesta realized what had happened. “Levla has been plucked,” she shrieked. The flowers fell quiet.

Levla felt the Pain. She had a choice. She could cry out like all others. She chose not to and again summoned all her energy to transmit a few moments of joy before falling silent.

Sylvesta understood what Levla was trying to do. She took over where Levla left and soon there was merriment again. The flowers who had been enthralled by Levla’s happiness gave back to her their happy transmissions.

After a while, Levla regained her energy. The flowers stopped this unique farewell to their most enthusiastic friend and fell silent. Levla wondered how she would meet her Emancipation. The garland would be great, but she knew that destiny would go its own way. She felt strange as she wasn’t in the vicinity of other flowers. Hands closed in on her. She could not feel the light. A dash of despair crossed her thoughts. What if she was just going to be discarded? She put away the thought and prayed. The hold on her was soft. She realized she was being held delicately.

She heard a low hum and felt relieved. “Come what may, I will remain happy,” she said to herself.

The pain dulled. She had been carried from the garden. The hands opened and soothing light fell on her rejuvenating her form and spirit. For the first time, Levla experienced happiness in silence.

Her stalk pricked a little as she felt she was being set somewhere. She ignored the pain while taking in the soothing aura of her new environment. After a while, she sent out a query to hear from anyone nearby.

An answer came, in a very soft, divine tone. “Welcome Levla. I am Jayfrer, a red rose.”

“Where are we?” Levla asked.

“Where the best and happiest can be. On the altar of the Creator – He, who is worshipped by all beings. Do you feel the energy of obeisance coming to us?”

Levla paid attention. She was feeling respected and admired. “And I thought garlands were the utmost to fulfill the life of a flower,” she signaled.

Jayfrer continued, “This is the ultimate destiny you can meet, Levla. Happy ones get Emancipation here. We don’t transmit about it as few understand. Destiny brings those flowers here, who work for their Best Emancipation.”

There were no more conversations and Levla needed none. Levla kept herself fresh for the next three days while other flowers withered away and were changed every day. She remained happy and fresh till finally Nature finally had its way.

As she finally lost her elegance, she was tucked away into a person’s hand. “She’s been gifted to a human as a blessing,” the flowers on the altar sang.

Levla sang a final note of happiness as her energy faded away and a little girl embraced the blessing she received – of happiness and faith.