Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Unforgettable Year

It was the year of 1938, a year which carried with it some memories that Smita would, perhaps, never forget. Even though, at this age, she had difficulty remembering things that happened just a few days back, the proceedings of the year 1938 were fresh in her mind. Lying on her death bed, she couldn't help but remember the tragic year, which had nearly ended her life. Sometimes, Smita hoped that the tragedy had indeed taken her life for it would at least be devoid of the sufferings that she had to face all through her life. She couldn't deny that the pain of an instant death is much lesser than the years of prolonged blood-sucking sufferings. But as they say, fate is unpredictable and unprecedented, her life continued just the way it fancied.

Smita, over the years, had narrated the incident innumerable times not only to her children but also to her grandchildren, who now thought of her as a brave woman but slightly jinxed by fate. "Dadu and I were swept away several meters from the land and into the sea when three giant waves emerged and sucked us in. They were enormous and we were too dumbfounded to face the challenges that lay ahead. We did not know how to swim. It seemed that our life would end in a jiffy. About 300 other people, were battling to remain at the surface. With such a chaos, it was difficult to see the land amidst so many people all of whom were clinging on to their fate, with one hope that they would be saved by the life-savers. Survival of the fittest was the only way, we could struggle to remain at the top. This was the Black Sunday", Smita would say, with a grin.

Today, it all seemed to be scarier than what it was. She was again battling for life, but this time she genuinely wanted to end her sufferings. Apart from being looked down upon, it was her age that was making her weak. Yes, she had her share of happiness when she entered into a wedlock with Sushant in January 1938. In those days, honeymoon abroad was considered to be a very big thing, but Sushant was a descendant of a Rajput Family of Rajasthan. Therefore, money was never an issue. In fact, Sushant's mother had urged them to go to a foreign destination, which wouldn't lower their status. Initially, USA and Canada were narrowed down, but Sushant wished to go to someplace, which was new to his family's history of foreign trips. It was then that he decided that they would go to Australia.

Black Sunday, the tragedy of Bondi Beach, Sydney is one of the most awe-striking disasters that the history has experienced. It not created created havoc in Australia but the after effects were evident in India as well. She and Sushant had had a real experience of the Black Sunday, while they were honeymooning in Sydney. Smita remembered the day clearly. It was one day after Hitler exercised his control over the German Military and a year and a half before the outbreak of the second world war. 5th February 1938, it was their third day in Sydney and they were sitting together under the sun eating the paranthas that they had got from India, when suddenly they found themselves in the sea between hundred of other people trying their best to remain afloat. "Sushant, kahan ho aap", she shrieked at the top of her voice for the nth time, but failed to locate him. The tremendous wave had separated them both; and Smita, who knew very little English was afraid of the consequences that she might have to face, if at all, if and only if, she survived. She prayed for the husband's life, performing the sole duty of an Indian wife. She wished that Sushant was all right.

An Australian man had saved her life and brought her ashore where she lay unconscious, maybe for a a few minutes or for hours, she had no idea. She also did not know how Sushant found her and did not even wanted to know. He was alive and that was all she could have asked for. It was this day that had not only spoiled their honeymoon but also her life. Little did she know that she everybody back home would consider her to be a curse to Sushant's life. Years went by and she lived her life, as if every day were a Black Sunday. Right from the 5th Feb 1938 till his death in 1952, not a single day went by when Smita did not cry. It wasn't that she did not get any support from Sushant, more so he was the only one who showered his love onto her. But her ill fate had taken her life for a toss. She was cursed more for his early death. Thereafter, her mother in-law did not give her a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Smita never said a single word against her; she would silently take the wrath all through the day and spent her entire night weeping. The only thought that crossed her mind time and again was her wish to have died in that tragedy. But again, as they say, fate is unpredictable and unprecedented, her life continued just the way it fancied.

And it was because of this fate that she had spent more than 70 years of her life suffering - for one, she was always considered to be a curse and secondly, her old age had made her feeble and rickety. At 94, she was in the hospital breathing her last, while her great grandchildren sat lazily around her. They were the ones who had brought her smile back and she sure did not want to leave them behind. She felt guilty for not having thought about them before she swallowed the pills. Her life was no more in her control, but there was one thing which was very much in her control. She called out to the children and said, "Come, I will tell all of you a story." As soon as they flocked around her, she heaved a sigh of relief and began, "It was the year of 1938..."

Disclaimer: Black Sunday is a real event that happened in Sydney. The facts and figures given above are true to the best of my knowledge. However, the names and the proceedings are purely fictitious.

PS: This is the first time that I have written such a story, of which, I neither hold any view nor had any knowledge about. Please give your genuine views. I would appreciate. Thanks. 


@ease said...

when did u start writing tragedy..?

Chanz said...

m experimenting wid dis style.. U must tell me how it is..

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I differ from @ease, it aint a tragedy, and might be the story of many unfortunate newly weds. Fortunately, she did not loose him then and there or else she was done for, quite badly.
I'd rather take it as a life, lived, little ups and lots of downs, and yet, her dear ones were there near her death bed.

Nice story, and informative altogether.

Blasphemous Aesthete

Renu said...

I didnt understand..when they both were saved..why was she considered a curse?

Kalyan said...

It was a candidly written saga of an unfortunate event. The writing was fantastic. My suggestion will be just if you can break each para into 2-3 more paras, which will attract the reader more. A very lucidly narrated tale.

John said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!