It was the journey of their dreams. But the four friends Durga, Padma, Ratna and Sumitra were exhausted to the bone. Would they reach their destination?
By Rhituparna Chakraborty
Tired and worn out Durga, Padma, Ratna and Sumitra sat down on the stairs adjacent to the road. Durga said, “Pheww, seems I will not make it.” Padma sighed and said, “I think we didn’t take the right decision. We should not have planned it.”Ratna straightened her legs, pressed the shin of her right leg and said, “Yes, it was certainly not the right decision. So much of walking and then the weather. Nothing is in our favour. I don’t think we will ever make it.”
Sumitra wiped away her tears and said, “You girls took this decision for me. I wanted to come here. It was something I was looking forward for ages. If I don’t do it now, I will never be able to do it.”Durga snapped, “Stop your melodrama Sumi. We are all with you. Whatever we said now is because we are tired. It never means that we will not make it. Come on girls, we are young. We can do it. Let’s quench our thirst, eat some fruits and continue.”
Padma laughed and said “Sumi is always a drama queen. Durga is right.At this age, if we get tired, shame on us. Ouch…my back hurts.” All the girls laughed. They looked at their food and water hamper. Almost everything was over. Sumi cried again, “I told you. We will not make it.”
“Shut up,” said Ratna. This bottle of water will suffice for all of us. We just need to walk a little ahead and we will be there.” Just then they felt someone standing near them. They turned around. Four gentlemen stood near them smiling.
The ladies smiled back at them. One of the men spoke, “So, it seems you guys have run out of food and water.” Durga sighed and said, “Yes. See, nothing left in this bag.” The gentleman smiled with a twinkle in his eyes and said “One moment.” He then instructed one of the guys standing with him to get something. That guy went. After sometime he came back driving a car.
The man who had started the conversation told the ladies to grab seats in the car, while the other two gentlemen grabbed stuff on the stairs and put it in the car. The ladies were surprised. They did not know what was happening. Durga said, “I am not really getting what is happening here.”
Durga pointed at the guy who had initiated the conversation and whispered to her friends, “I am going to call him Sweetu. See how sweet he is.” Ratna, Padma and Sumitra nodded and said, “Oh yes he is.”
So then, ‘Sweetu’ told the ladies, “Let us all go and get some rest now. It’s evening already. I don’t think you girls will be comfortable carrying on this journey. Tomorrow, we will take you to your destination.”
The girls looked at each other and replied, “Umm well. We have no words to say here.” ‘Sweetu’ replied, “Good. I don’t like talkative girls at all,” saying that he smiled and winked.
After reaching his home, ‘Sweetu’ ensured all the ladies were comfortable. He arranged food, water and comfortable stay for them.The ladies slept well and next morning they felt fresh. ‘Sweetu’ served them hot coffee and nice breakfast and said, “You guys need to eat. It’s a long journey. If you don’t eat, your motive of visiting the destination will never be fulfilled because, after all, happiness is what your destination expects from you. Isn’t it?”
Sumitra looked at ‘Sweetu’ teary-eyed and said, “You are amazing. Love you.”Sweetu came near Sumitra, hugged her tight and said, “I love you too.”He then called out his other three buddies and said, “Put the belongings of these beautiful ladies in the car. We will drop them at their destination.”
True to his word, Sweetu ensured that the ladies reached the top of the mountain where the temple of Lord Shiva and Parvati stood. ‘Sweetu’ and his buddies waited till the ladies finished their prayers and came down. 65 year-old Durga, Padma, Ratna and Sumitra had come out of their old age home for the first time on a trip to this pilgrimage. Had it not been for ‘Sweetu’ aka 25 year-old Captain Shahiq Ahmed and his team of army officers, these ladies would not have been able to reach their dream temple.
Prayers do come true.
#Disclaimer: This is an original work of fiction. This story has no relation to any person or any entity living or dead. If something is relatable to someone or something, this is a case of pure coincidence. This story cannot be copied, published or reproduced without the consent of the author Rhituparna Chakraborty.
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Rhituparna is a content developer and soft skills trainer. An ardent fan of diaspora writers like JhumpaLahiri, she has written around 199 stories so far, some of which have been published in The Sentinel. She writes a blog https://rheetuparnachakkravorty.medium.com/