Sea Of Gratitude
The big waves came with a roaring speed splashing on Yukti’s feet. Yukti, like always, felt a surge of excitement running through her.The waves receded and she sat there waiting for the next one to come. The sound of the waves had an invigorating effect on her. Day after day, the waves would keep lashing the shore with the same joy and thrill, Yukti thought. Did nothing ever deter them? Were they never tired? Probably starting the day with spending some time on the sea shore, was enough for Yukti to have a day filled with energy and motivation. She took a deep breath, as if to fill her lungs with the scent of the salty water. The flapping sounds made by the sea gulls and pigeons, seemed to give her the exhilerating flight of their wings.
“Let’s go Didi or else we may get late,” said her brother Kabir, as he held her hand.
Both brother and sister set off for their day, as their father Bhola looked on lovingly, from his coconut stall. How their lives had changed in the last ten years! He remembered the dreadful night in Bhopal, that still gave him nightmares. The whole family had woken up to an extremely pungent smell. They felt suffocated. Everyone was coughing. No one knew what was happening. Some one said that there was a gas leakage in a factory. None of them had any idea about what was to be done. The suffocation was just not going away, nor was the smell. It seemed to fill the entire city. Bhola remembered his wife Kamla, who was pregnant with their second child, feeling very uneasy. Yukti, then a ten-year old, was rubbing her eyes and complaining of a severe burning sensation. No amount of washing the eyes, helped. All this continued for days and suddenly one day, Yukti could see no more. She had lost her vision. Bhola ran with her to the eye hospital and was shocked to see the sea of people already there with similar complaints.
After waiting for hours, almost the whole day, Yukti’s turn came and her eyes were examined but to Bhola’s horror, the doctors pronounced her blind for life. They said the acid in the air due to the gas leakage, had caused permanent damage to her eyes. Such a huge cost to pay for someone else’s negligence! Unpardonable this, thought the weeping Bhola.
Bhola got very scared and within the next two days, made all arrangements to shift to Mumbai-the so called ‘Land Of Dreams’ with his family. His aunt lived there, who welcomed them as well as helped in settling down there. His aunt lived, with her family of six, in a tiny hut. There was just no place to accommodate any one more. She made arrangements for them to live inside a big pipeline, that was dry for a long time. The pipe was very close to her hut so she could help them in whatever ways, she could. Bhola was ever grateful to his aunt for that help, during their time of need. Within a week of shifting, Kamla, with his aunt’s assistance, gave birth to a premature baby boy. His lower limbs were deformed; another steep cost for some other human’s carelessness! They named him Kabir.
Amazingly, all these unexpected adversities, could not break in through Bhola and Kamla’s grit to strive. Bhola set up a coconut stall in one of the beaches, close to home and Kamla would sit close-by to sell her home-made snacks. Their hard work and fortitude paid off. They could build a small hut near the aunt’s hut. Yukti and Kabir grew up as strong as their parents. All four of them would leave home together in the morning, for the beach. Both the stalls would be set and then Yukti and Kabir would go their way to college and school, respectively.
Yukti was doing her graduation from ‘The School For The Blind’ and Kabir was in standard five. Both of them were extraordinarily brilliant in their studies. Every evening saw the brother-sister duo, return to the beach. Yukti would help her mother in her stall while Kabir sat there studying. At night, all four would return home.
Kabir had this desperate desire to do big in life. His deformity was of no consideration at all to him. He strived to do his best , every single day and hence the bar kept going up and up. He won the National Science Olympiad and was sent to America, for the internationals. His school, more than happily, sponsored his trip and to everybody’s joy and pride, Kabir won the competition. Henceforth, there was no looking back for him. He won a hefty amount of cash as his prize along with a full scolarship for his entire education.
Meanwhile Yukti’s hardwork and dedication also bore fruit. She topped her university in both graduation as well as post graduation. Post which, she got to do research in her subject, Chemistry; under the most revered guide in this field. She stunned her guide as well as her fraternity, with her brilliant work, specially in the field of her specialization; Chemical hazards and humanity. Years flew past and after winning the doctorate, she became a professor in the University. In no time, she became one of the most popular and revered one of the faculty. Then came the day when she could not believe her ears while she was told that she was one of the contenders for the prestigious Nobel Prize for the year. Her outstanding work got her the esteemed prize, that anyone would die for and she was standing on the stage to receive her prize. Her parents with Kabir, were sitting in the front row of the auditorium. The glow of joy, pride and gratitude on their faces, was beyond anyone to describe. Her name was called out. There was a thunderous applause but all that she could hear was the repeated, unrelenting, lashing and breaking of the sea waves on the shore and a grateful smile spread on her face as she humbly bowed to receive her prize.