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Narrow Escape: Who Was She (Wo Kaun Thi)?

Mahesh likes reading and writing stories, books, and novels. His book "The Mystic Yogi and other Tales" is available on Amazon kindle.

Friends, here I am sharing a real-life experience shared to me in my childhood and I found the story quite intriguing raising a question in my mind about a mysterious character in it “Who was she?”

A Short Story Based On Real-life Experience

“You little lazy girl, I bet you won’t be able to wake up before me in the morning. As usual, I will wake up early and will bring water from the well, while you will be snoring in your dream world,” said Kanta to her 9-year-old little sister Brinda.

“Don’t consider yourself over-smart. Tomorrow, I will show you who brings the water first. I accept the bet and I will win the bet tomorrow” said Brinda who was quite serious and determined this time to win the bet no matter what happens.

As per the bet, the loser between them had to give all her kunj (sweets) received from their mother after the breakfast to the winner.

Now Brinda wanted to win the bet at any cost because first she was tired of Kanta’s continuous taunts in front of their friends who used to laugh and enjoy listening to Kanta’s sarcastic jokes directed on her. Second, she had great craving for kunj and she didn’t want to loose them to anybody.

Located in the heart of a beautiful hill of Almora region in Uttarakhand, their house was superior than other few houses scattered over the hill. That evening Brinda went to bed a little early in hope that she will wake up early next morning before her sister who was still washing utensils after the dinner.

The next day when Brinda woke up, it was dark outside. In the dim light of a lamp lit at a corner, she could see her mother sleeping beside her, but her sister was not there behind her mother.

“Oh my God, she again woke up before me,” she said to herself and rose up and sat on her bed running her eyes here and there to trace her sister. Her eyes fell on her sister who was still sleeping on the other side of her bed. This gave some comfort to Brinda and a winning smile floated on her face. She tiptoed into the kitchen and without making a noise picked one of the brass vessels meant to fetch water from the well.

She quietly opened the door at the back outside and stepped out of the house with the vessel in her hand. It was dark outside and the sky was covered with millions of bright stars tinkling,which were clearly visible to the naked eye. Though Brinda was a brave child for her age, but she had never ventured out alone in darkness as mother would get very angry. She walked through her courtyard and began treading carefully through the serpentine path leading to the village well uphill at a certain distance. After walking few meters through the narrow path uphill, she could see the courtyard of her house below one side of the serpentine track. It was still dark and she had covered a considerable distance. Clouds of fear had begun to generate in her mind why the morning red glow did not appear in the sky. “Don’t be afraid, soon this darkness will be replaced with the bright golden rays of the morning Sun,” the little girl said to herself giving courage to her skeptical mind.

Moving forward, she saw a dim beam of light coming from the courtyard of her friend Rama’s house situated alongside the track and falling on her way uphill. “So lazy they all are, still sleeping and then they tease me that I wake up late. Today, I will show them who is lazy,” she said to herself trying to suppress the cloud of fear and apprehension arising in her mind. As she walked further uphill, the darkness had prevailed again.

After moving further, her eyes fell on an old lady with long silver white hair sitting on the outer fence of a boundary wall of another house alongside the way just beside Brinda with her back toward Brinda. All her fear vanished on seeing the old lady.

“Oh, only Mohini amma wakes up early. What the poor old lady would do when her only son is living in Delhi away from her, passing her time sitting on the fence of her house. I will speak to her after I return with water from the well,” Brinda said to herself and kept moving forward. Soon she reached the village well and after filling her pot with water, she headed back toward her home feeling triumphant. As she returned through the path alongside Mohini amma’s house, she found no one this time. The old lady had left.

“I could not offer my regards to Mohini amma,” thought Brinda. After some time she reached home. As she reached home, she saw her mother awaken with a worried expression on her face. “Why and where did you go alone in such a dark night?” her mother shouted.

“But mother I was not alone. Mohini amma was also there, sitting on her fence beside my way,” replied Brinda. Hearing Brinda’s reply, her mother’s eyes widened in surprise. She seemed worried but she didn’t say a word to Brinda when she saw the brass vessel filled with water. Kanta had also woken up hearing the shouts and was rubbing her eyes still trying to come out of her dream world. She was surprised to see the water-filled brass vessel in Brinda’s hand. After some time, the morning sun rays crawled up over the horizon.

Brinda’s mother went to their farm and while she was harvesting the crops, a Uttarakhand roadways bus from Delhi halted at a bus stop near the farm. Mohini amma stepped down from the bus along with her son. Brinda’s mother offered her regards to Mohini amma and then asked.

“Mohini kaki, today early morning you were sitting on the fence of your house,” asked Brinda’s mother. “Me, no daughter, I was not here for the last two weeks. I have just returned from Delhi,” replied Mohini amma.

“Then who was she?” Brinda’s mother was standing numb with mouth agape as if struck by something.

© 2020 Mahesh Chandra Gaur

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