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“Tell me a story” Gautham said as he placed his head on his grandma’s lap. “Not the Rama, Sita, Kisna stories, But something about mummy…”
“Chinnu, I will tell you the story of a rakshash. The big one. And how a small chinnu like you, killed him”.
“Dadu, I too can tell you those stories. Tell me a story about mummy”.
She knew what was coming next.
“I won’t sleep with you today. Will you tell me or not?” Gautham lifted his head from Dadu’s lap.
Dadu combed his hair with her hand, thinking about the next move. Trying to change the topic, she said “Chinnu looks like little Kisna. You know kisna was a naughty kid like Chinnu. His hairs, hands were like….”
“Will you tell a story on mummy?...yes or no”
Dadu now knew she could not change the mind of her 8 yr old grandson.
“Ok, I will” she said as he smiled and put his head back on his Dadu’s lap.
“Mummy and Geetha aunty were best friends during childhood. They went to school together. Mummy would go to Geetha’s house every day. From there they would walk to the school. They sat in the same bench at school. They shared their lunch boxes. When I prepared dosas, mummy took an extra lunch box for Geetha aunty. Geetha aunty some days studied with mummy and slept in our house. Both were very intelligent. In exams, mummy would score a few marks more than Geetha. But both would be in the top 2 of the class”.
Just to check if Gautham was still awake, she added “Chinnu, will you too study like mummy and get first rank..She will be very happy”. “Yes, I will study well..Don’t ask questions between a story…You are my dadu and not my teacher” Both laughed together.
Dadu continued. “Mummy always wanted to become an Engineer. In her free time, she would run to the construction site of the Hoysala dam. Watching the big cranes lifting the stones, was her fascination turning to reality. Geetha also went along with her. But Geetha was never attracted to those cranes. Geetha always wanted to become a teacher. A teacher in the village school.“
After finishing 10th class, mummy decided to go to the city for education. The college in the village was not good. At least not good to make her an Engineer. She struggled all alone in the city hostel. Then she joined the big Engineering college of the city. She was rank 1 there also. She became an Engineer there.”
“Chinnu, Will you become an Engineer like mummy?”
This time there was no reply. But Dadu saw that Gautham was still awake and listening. Without questioning further, she was about to continue, when Chinnu interrupted.
“What did Geetha aunty do after 10th class?”
“She stayed back in the village. She studied in the college here. And she became a teacher. Does she teach Maths for you?”
“Yes Dadu. She also teaches moral science and drawing.”
Dadu continued “Mummy got a good job in a computer company. She earned a lot of money. She came in car to the village. She was the first lady of the village to fly to a foreign land. The entire village was proud of her. She met father in the city and married him. It was a grand function. The entire village was present to see the wedding. I was very happy. After 2 years, Chinnu was born.”
“What is the moral of the story, dadu?”
Dadu was not prepared for this question. Nor was it the end of the story she wanted to tell. But quickly she said “Hard work will always fetch you very good results. Mummy worked very hard and so she is so rich and intelligent today.”
“Dadu, in yesterday’s story Sita WISHED for the golden deer and because of this Rama had to fight 10 headed Ravana. Papa Rama!”
“Hmm! “ Dadu was surprised by this.
“In another story, Bheema, Arjuna WISHED to become kings and because of this they killed their uncles and brothers.”
This time Dadu just nodded. She had no words to speak. Gautham did not expect a reply. Nor was he seeing Dadu’s nod.
“In both stories you said, the good won, Bad lost. You said Ravana was bad. You said Arjuna was good.”
Dadu wondered “Where is Chinnu heading?”
“See Rohith. Geetha aunty holds his hand and brings him to school every day. She teaches Rohith in the night. He can sleep on his mummy’s lap every day. Mummy WISHED to become an Engineer and because of that she left me with you here in the village and she is in city and foreign tour always.”
He stopped there. Without speaking another word, he got up and walked towards the bathroom.
Dadu was stunned. Unable to react.
She was about to follow Chinnu but thought it was for his regular pre-sleep pee.
Dadu noticed that his eyes were moist when he came back. Gautham slept without speaking a word.
As Dadu slept next to Gautham, his words sunk in.
“Is destiny controlled by WISH? Even the destiny of others are controlled by somebody’s WISH” she thought.
But could not sleep that night.