Commanding them to bring home some groceries, the mother sent Nina and Sumitra off to the market. That day, the scorching sun was not hot enough, the burning seat was not at all repulsive, there was no worry about the skin getting tanned and the dusty road was like a long lost home. Nina and Sumatra wanted to sneak out from the house as this pandemic had stretched more than their expectations. Now, the barking dogs were not a threat but adventure and the overgrown untidy bushes seemed like the natural jewel of the town. A kid letting out a shrill cry was so soothing to their ears and tears of happiness rolled down their cheeks because dust pieced their eyelids. They had missed it all. Sumitra lovingly rubbed her eyes with one hand while she held the handle of the scooty. Her mascara got scattered but who will recognise her in a mask? So, with a glee and merry, they rode on. The smells, pleasant and unpleasant, both were welcomed and this time the traffic jam and the intense honking did not feel hectic. They were at peace. To roads they wanted to go and to roads they had come, unlike the onset of pandemic when they wanted to just get back to the house before another lockdown would begin.

Anyway, they reached the supermarket and bought every stuff mentioned in the list but this beautiful trip would not end here. So, the chatori duo cunningly turned their scooty, overtook everyone and suddenly entered into the ground and parked their scooter by a beautiful garden there, under the shade of a tree. Then, they walked into a forbidden area where there was a mela of food vendors all through the year. It was a students’ hotspot. Bored? To the vendors. Hungry? To the vendors. In a relationship? To the vendors. Birthday treat? To the vendors. Nothing to do? To the vendors. It was that crazy spot where boys would meet after their school to settle their accounts with other groups, with payment or with a fight, whatever it was, the vendors knew it all, the spot of all gossip, all fight and all peacemaking. The vendors kept half-fried kababs in open vicinity and a man made dosas right under people’s noses. Chowmein was splashed with hot sauces and the smoke smelled tasty like heaven. It was their little idea of heaven where you get absolutely awesome, finger-licking food. Heat was  intense, it smelled like sweat but the tongue is always stronger than sweat. The fearless sisters kept their hygiene away and went straight to the golgappa counter whose owner they had befriended and he would give them two extra golgappas for every 10 rupee plate.

With their bellies full of crunchy golgappa and their noses sniffing everything that they could not taste, Sumitra and Nina went back to the parking lot only to get a shock. A stupid driver had parked his massive car in that little space without leaving any space for others to park their vehicle or the already parked vehicles to make their way out of the lot. The situation was such that if Sumitra decides to take out the scooty from that little gap between that massive car and another one, it would definitely leave a pathetic scratch on this newly bought Range Rover.

Now, Nina was completely irritated. Why was this car so big and why is the driver so stupid? She said, “Iski galti hai. Scratch pade ya dent, scooty nikal le.” (It’s his mistake. Whether it makes a scratch or a dent, just take out the scooty from that gap). A selfish statement which would brand the driver with a punishment. Sumitra instantly got tensed, “No! It’s an expensive car! What if it gets a scratch? They will suffer a loss. We should not do it. It will ruin their car.” Sumitra was ready to wait till the driver would arrive. After trying a lot, another girl approached them and offered her help. She safely took out the scooty from that little space without harming any of the cars.

That day, Nina realized what the power of one good person is and why everyone talks about the importance of being good no matter where the situation lands us. Sumitra’s reluctance to take out her scooty with a selfish motive not only left the car unharmed, but also stopped Nina from performing a negative karma. Nina’s willingness to accept Sumitra’s advice also played a part and grace came in the form of a little help. And that is how I understood what swamiji said in one of his online discourses in the month of March that roughly translates to-

Jaise hum samaaj mein rehte hai, vaise hi, samaaj bhi hum mein rehta hai.

(Just like we live within the society, the society too lives within us.)

P.S.- It is a fictional story inspired by a real life incident.

And a heartfelt thank you for giving a little part of your precious time to read it.🙏😇

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Suguna Ganguly

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