A New Path

A New Path

Priya is a modern woman who doesn’t let anything put her down easily. But the four months of lockdown and the uncertainty looming due to the pandemic seem to have left her searching for her footing again. She felt like a new bride trying to adjust into her new role!

Her morning office rush was now replaced with eight-year-old Maanya’s online classes, Parth’s stream of Zoom meetings, and her own online presentations. Despite the changes in her daily routine and jostling between the virtual world and household chores Priya still managed to keep up her age-old habit of morning run.

Like clockwork, every morning at five Priya would go for her daily dose of adrenaline. Her running route had a pit-stop at the beach. She did not run on the beach but sat on the shores quietly watching the sunrise, feeling the cool breeze on her face.

The beach was sparse now owing to the pandemic and Priya could just sit there quietly without being bothered; she felt invincible there.

One morning as she was coming back from her daily run, she saw a young girl of about fifteen or sixteen years selling vegetables on a cart just outside her society gates. For as long as she could remember, it was a middle-aged lady who used to man the cart. 

Priya approached the girl out of curiosity and asked the girl about the lady.

“Maa is unwell” the girl replied “so I am helping her till she gets better.” “What is your name?” Priya asked her. “Shilpa” came the short reply. “Will you buy anything or just going to chat? I have work to do” the girl retorted. To her own surprise, Shilpa’s reply had made Priya burst into laughter. “I’m sorry” Priya replied and went ahead to buy some potatoes and half a pumpkin.

Neither of them could have imaged that this would be the beginning of a new and an unusual friendship. Over the next week Priya’s running schedule included chatting with Shilpa on her way back. Priya was enraptured by Shilpa’s wit and energy. So often we ignore the people who do not fit into our idea of “class” or “sophistication.” Over their regular chat one day, Priya learned that Shilpa had to drop out of school after the fifth grade to take care of her younger brother after their father had walked out on them.

Priya decided to take Shilpa under her wings and give her a chance that she deserves. She was sure that with the right guidance this girl is destined to achieve something great. She offered to teach Shilpa and bring her up to date on her education.

Every evening now Priya is seen teaching her new friend. They are sometimes joined by Maanya because she likes “Shilpa Didi.”

Priya is very sure that one day Shilpa would make her very proud. Her morning path had paved the way for someone’s future.

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