Friday, April 4, 2014

D for Deepa



Name of the Flower:
Daffodils

Symbolic Meaning:
Respect, Sunshine, Unrequited love, Regard

Name of the Girl
Deepa

Her Association with the Flower
She only wanted respect. A sunshine in Rewa's life.

"Didi, take these flowers," a small, dirt smeared face peered inside the Ambassador and looked curiously at Rewa, a handful of Daffodils clutched in her hand.
"Why are you calling me Didi?" Nine-year-old Rewa couldn't help asking.
The small girl's eyes widened at this unusual question. She ran back to the pavement without answering, her uncombed hair flying wildly behind her.
Rewa felt a peculiar pull towards this girl, but before she could call her back, the driver pulled away as the traffic signal turned green. Rewa peered out of the window, till the girl disappeared from the horizon.
"Dadu (grandfather), why is that girl working? Shouldn't she be at school right now?" Rewa turned and asked her grandfather curiously.
Before Dadu could answer, our driver, Chotu intervened, "no Didi, she is a Dalit from our Lakshmanpur. They don't study. In fact, they can't even enter the compound of the school."
“Dalit?”
“Arrey Didi, they are low castes. We won’t even drink water from them, even if we were dying.”
"What rubbish!" My grandfather said sternly. "Bacchi se yeh sab kyon bol rahe ho? Don't talk nonsense to the child."
Rewa knew her questions won't be answered now. But curiosity bubbled inside her and the Gods must have heard her for the little girl turned to be the gardener's daughter at Dadu's bungalow – allocated by the government.
Rewa and Deepa became close friends, playing together the whole day in the mango groves and the daffodil splattered fields. It was during their hush-hush sharing talks that Rewa came to know about Deepa's secret wish was to go to school and learn new things.
Happy that Deepa thought like this, Rewa took it upon herself to teach her and in the next thirty days that Rewa stayed in Laxmanpur, Deepa had become quite proficient in numbers and alphabets. It was a sad day when the friends parted. Deepa promised to quench her thirst of knowledge and Rewa vowed to return with more books.
Rewa kept her pledge and six months later, during her summer holidays, she did go back to Laxmanpur. But Deepa was not there. The bungalow was now tended by a new gardener, Hari Kaka.
"Hari Kaka," Rewa went up to him and asked, unable to get answers from anywhere else, "do you know where Deepa is?
Hari Kaka didn't answer anything at first. Then, as if unable to keep quiet any longer, he almost snarled at Rewa, "keep away from our kids. You have done enough damage."
Rewa was stunned. That night, seeing her agitation, Dadu explained the whole thing to her. "You had ignited a thirst of knowledge inside Deepa. She couldn't help herself and entered the school compound, where the Thakur kids come out to study."
"So?" Rewa asked, bewildered.
"So," Dadu said sadly. "She was punished severely by the Panch – they stoned her to Death, when she refused to let go of her thirst for Goddess Saraswati.”

That night in Rewa's diary, a shaking, small hand wrote.

21 June 1980

Dear Diary,

Do I have to pay so severely for one act of kindness? Was Deepa wrong? If yes, then I should be punished too. Why am I spared?

That night, a lone daffodil quietly got compressed between the pages of her diary.



 This post is for The A-Z Challenge . A special thank you to  Arlee Bird for bringing this to us. :)

Check the Letter A for Anamika story here ....
Check the Letter B for Bela story here ....
Check the Letter C for Chandni story here ....




17 comments:

  1. No. That friendship didn't deserve that ending. :( But even in 2014, this caste discrimination still runs amok. Sad but true.

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  2. The ending floored me and saddened me. Too places in the world where it could be a true story.

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  3. Nice poignant narration, Rubina.

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  4. Lovely. And one of my favorite flowers is the daffodil.

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  5. Oh so very sad. I wish to understand more about this caste system--we do not know enough here, What we do know is often incorrect. However, I am not saying what I really mean to say, which is that your story of sweet friendship was very moving and touched me deeply! jean xox

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  6. So very sad and so outrageous!

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  7. This is such a heart wrenching story. I wish there are no such cases now. :(

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  8. Sadly, such stories still happen in the real world. Great writing, Rubina!

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  9. Beautifully penned. Left me sad and speechless.. You have a way with words which reaches the heart

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  10. Aww so sad. :(
    Nice writing!

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  11. Oh that was extremely sad. Such a sad fate for little Deepa. But you have written this beautifully.

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  12. You planned to make me cry and you have succeeded. Awesome story and beautifully written. Kudos! Satyameva Jayate!

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  13. Your stories are all so interesting !

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