A silent little prayer

I was walking back home after another exhausting day at college. The market street was busiest at that time of the evening. Vendors were shouting, people were bargaining, the car horns blaring, rickshaw drivers cursing; there was a lot of commotion around me. However, amidst the hustle and bustle of the crowded bazaar, my eyes caught the sight of a particular girl. Her muddy face was pressed against the glass doors of a pastry shop, eyeing all the frosted cakes and fancy sugary treats inside. She was standing there barefoot, wearing an old t-shirt which was quite visibly over-sized for her timid frame. I kept walking forward, my eyes fixated on her when suddenly a boy, not very taller than the girl herself, yanked her away from the store and dragged her towards a woman, perhaps their mother who was busy making flower garlands on the footpath. The little girl was wailing as she tried to get out of her brother’s grip. It didn’t require a lot of thinking to guess why she was crying. Every day the poor kid would watch other children her age walk out of the store with boxes full of delicious goodies. On the other hand she had to run behind people with her brother, selling garlands that their mother would weave to collect enough money to fill their stomachs at night.

That day I bought a small cake for the girl. I had to use almost a third of my pocket money for the week but it didn’t matter after seeing her heart-warming smile which was worth a million bucks.

 ‘Wish good for others and others will wish good for you.’  This line was etched in my memory and I tried my best to abide by it. Before going to bed, I said a silent prayer for the girl that night.

*       *       *

I am very much aware of the fact that it is quite impolite to overhear other people’s conversations. But that day, during the forty minute train journey to my grandmother’s house, curiosity got the better of me. I couldn’t help but wonder why the woman sitting across from me had tears in her eyes. I couldn’t help but listen when she called someone halfway through the journey. All her suppressed thoughts came rushing out in the form of broken sentences. The reason was heartbreak.

At that instant nothing felt more important than telling this stranger sitting in front of me that everything was going to be alright, things were going to get better, that she was going to feel loved again. However I wasn’t supposed to hear the conversation in the first place and so there wasn’t much that I could offer besides a kind smile when she glanced my way. Long after the call was over, she was still shaking uncontrollably, trying to regain control of her breathing, stifling her sobs. The hiccups wouldn’t stop. I saw her take out a water bottle from her purse only to find it empty. It was my turn to get off the train. I left my half filled Bisleri bottle on the seat.

‘Wish good for others and others will wish good for you.’  

 Before going to bed, I said a silent prayer for the woman that night.

*       *        *

I’ve never seen anyone as passionate about a sport as my brother. Ever since he was a kid, he’s always had the widest grin plastered on his face when he’s on the field. To quote his words, ‘Didi, football might be a mere sport for many but for me it’s everything’ ; and the way he says it with a glint of excitement in his eyes and a steady voice, how can one not believe him? So when I came home last evening to find him sitting on the couch with a plaster on his right foot, I knew that the sobfest was going to begin. For the last two months, he had been training every single day for an upcoming tournament but the injury changed everything. He knew that it made his chances of playing bleak. However he did not shed a single tear. He was hopeful. He wanted to get better and that will was so strong, it was half the recovery done. All he needed was some rest and our support.

‘Wish good for others and others will wish good for you.’  

Before going to bed, I said a silent prayer for my brother last night.

*        *         *

Today was one of those days where I’m hit by a gigantic wave of sadness for no particular reason. . Maybe it’s because I did really bad in that math test this morning; or maybe it’s because my friends went out for a movie without me. Perhaps it’s a cohesive effect of multiple reasons that I’ve been ignoring for a while. Who knows? The cause really didn’t matter for the emotions persisted anyway.

We all have bad days but we’re not alone. As the day draws to an end, I convince myself that this feeling too shall pass. We’re so involved in our own fight that we forget about the people silently rooting for us. I shall go to bed knowing that tomorrow will be better for I have faith that there’s still some good left in this world ; that maybe someone somewhere has said a silent prayer for me tonight. 

– Isha Joshi