Pavithra stared surreptitiously into the blank.
Was it the angst of knowing it all yet not understanding a dime? Did the words daunt her, or were the memories reminiscing themselves?
To smuggle life’s fervour
To repossess pain in the heart
She re-read the prompt: Cairn.
It was a lifetime she had left the words behind her. But alas! The universe conspired against her, and a walk down memory lane was peremptory.
Young Pavithra shuffled along, clutching her mother’s arms.
“Why can’t we visit Vandaloor zoo? Why does it always have to be a temple?” Pavithra questioned with a frown that spread from her eyes to her ears through her lips.
“Shhh! Stay put. Pray that you get good grades this year. Next weekend, we will think about the park.”
The hilltop temple wasn’t new to her. She had visited the Narasimha temple a couple of times, yet had missed the obscure corner. She was speared with surprise.
“Amma look lagori. Is it allowed to play in temple premises?”
Amma smiled, “It’s a cairn Kanna. People who dream to build a house of their own, or who are stuck in a property dispute, build a pile of stones and offer their prayers to the Lord here.”
“Does it happen?”
“I am not sure. But when you work with endurance towards a dream, it ought to come true. Calling it divine intervention wouldn’t hurt.”
“It won’t work, Pavi. That isn’t the way it is done,” Nikki pushed her away.
“You are just a year elder to me,” Pavithra shrugged, rubbing her nose.
“You aren’t even able to pile the stones up. Winning…”
“Tomorrow after school. It’s either me or you, what say Lagori champ?”
“Deal,” Nikki raised a thumbs up.
Nikki and Pavithra had a love-hate friendship. And why not? Young adults are prone to it.
Pavithra excitedly alighted from the school bus. Her grandmother escorted her inside the house hurriedly.
Amma pulled her closer, “Pavi, Nikki is gone.”
“Gone? Where? When is he coming back? We had to play Lagori today,” Pavi protested.
“He has gone, never to return.”
Had a kind soul
virtuous and humble
Will it still catch a prey so young
Years later, Pavithra stood at the threshold of their apartment complex, eyes dry, staring at their house door being sealed by the bank employees.
She ran to the garden. Scratched the earth for stones, piled them up one above the other. Murmured a small prayer under her lips, “Let this be a dream, Please Lord. Give me my home back.”
Amma pulled her by the shoulders and dragged her.
“It won’t work, Pavi. That isn’t the way it is done”
Pavithra glared at the laptop screen, a sarcastic smile running away from her lips. Loss – Which one was greater? The one with flesh or the one that carried the flesh’s memories?
Of pasts, undaunted haunts
Or a stepping stone to future
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