Wednesday 25 October 2023

Short Fiction 2023 Longlist, Sakshi Bhatnagar

 Not Every Angel Comes With Halo

Radhika's hands were moving swiftly. Her mind was running against her movements.

Arre , is my lunch ready? Can you please be a little quick or else I'll die of hunger! This was her mother-in-law and these jeers from her were an everyday ritual for Radhika.

Ma, I have finished everything. Now I will be going and will be back by late evening.

Adjusting her spectacles, her mother in law snarled, And where the hell are you going?

Ma, remember I told you na Saraswati is being awarded today for her exceptional performance in school and ceremony is at four in the evening.

So, you've decided to not listen. How many times have I told you to not give so much importance to these lower caste people. Her mother used to clean the washrooms here in our home. 

Thinking that no justification will be enough, Radhika left the place quietly leaving her mother-in-law cribbing. As she was moving in the cab, she went down the memory lane.....

Ten Years Ago

Radhika was newly wed, trying to adjust in her over conservative family. Her only solace was little Saraswati who was just eight at that time. Radhika was always astounded to see her keen interest in studying but unfortunately she had to leave her education as her family could barely survive with no or little money.

Sharda(Saraswati's Mom), from now on I will sponsor Saraswati's education. I am not going to waste such a talent. When Radhika said this, Sharda's happiness knew no bounds.

Ma'am, we have reached the destination. Radhika came out of her reverie when the cab stopped.

As she reached the auditorium, she was taken to the front seat. The ceremony began and as Radhika saw Saraswati holding the award, she was unable to contemplate her emotions.

Ms. Radhika, the audience would like to hear some motivational words from you.

Well, there are so many people to thank. Lots of people are part of my success. Holding this award of a meticulous student is something I had never envisaged.
But all thanks to my guiding angel whom I proudly call Badi Maa.

Seeing her I now truly believe in one thing, that not every angel comes with a Halo and magic wand. Some are in disguise of good humans who can turn anyone's life for good.

Badi Maa, I owe this award to you for investing your time and money in me, for facing everyone's judgements and for standing strong with me and my ma.

Here are some lines dedicated to you:

You are my angel
then, now and forever
who always blessed me
with utmost care.

You are my angel
through day and night
who's always been
my guiding light

You are my angel
whose debt
I can never repay
May you deserve the best
is all I can pray for.

Saraswati's every word made Radhika filled with pride and she thanked the almighty for choosing her to be Angel (or as Saraswati portrayed her) in someone's life.

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