The wind was young, her heart fertile and she could feel those strange yearnings rise in her heart and soul. She sat on the dewy grass beside the beautiful lake near her house. Looking at her reflection in the cool, clear water of the lake she felt like drowning in the waters of the pool.
‘At least, they will welcome me in their embrace,’ she thought ‘without any discrimination of colour, caste or creed.’
Born in a community that fished the waters for their living, she was the darkest of the lot. While her other siblings were not exactly pretty or fair, they still had a complexion that did not make people tease them,
‘There goes Miss Charcoal
In full or in whole.’
So much did Janani’s presence mar the surroundings for her relatives and friends that they preferred it if she was away from family functions or temple celebrations. At such times, she would be found scrubbing the vessels, washing dishes or sitting beside the lake as she was now.
Something in the transparent water, the clear sky, the affectionate shady trees made her feel wanted and blessed.
The scorning and the discriminating attitude of even her parents and friends would make her rush to the forest in tears but amazingly the unconditional love of Ma Nature transformed her woes into blessings. Many a time, she would be found with eyes closed, deep in thought, one with nature, oblivious to all sound.
The ravages of time spared no one. It wore out everyone and yet, Janani remained her usual self. Over the years, a kind of glow had added to her persona. Amidst the dark skin arose a fair, glowing soul that permeated all over. The tears that used to threaten to throw her into the lake of glowing water now no longer appeared in her eyes. Instead, they transformed into drops of pearls as she connected with a world beyond- a world that knew no hurt, no expectation, just a heart opened to receive the blessings that she richly deserved.
Finding her thus one day, girls who lived nearby, giggling with the vibrations of teenage infatuation would descend upon her, pulling her away, from her-self chosen solitude.
“Janani, Oh Janani?” they would exclaim.
“Why do you hide here while the boys long for us out there? Don’t you desire for their attention?”
Irked by her smile, another girl cruelly commented, “Oh Leave her alone. What would she know of love, of desire? She is but charcoal, ready to be used for fire.”
And, they would go away. Their comments had over the years become like dried leaves that fell upon her for she knew that if her friends knew about the intensity of her desire, they would not know what to do. The love that she felt was not for flesh but for thought, not for material objects but for the unconditional warmth of the One Above- His flute playing eternally in her ears…