Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Gold Necklace

Born in 1960 she was the third of the four children. Having both an elder sister and a brother made her insignificant in the family or she thought so or she felt so. She always thought having an elder sister is a significant problem like using her old dress, frocks etc. Getting controlled on the usage of talcum powder though these were not great issues at that age it felt like to her. A sense of suffocation or feeling of being forgotten to be pampered she felt it all even though she was ten. There was no way she could express her frustration or confide her feelings. The feeling of being neglected  feeling of being taken for granted & a strong feeling to get back at them. 

It was Vishu and was customary to give some money and new stuff for all the family members, especially the children, the father bought a gold necklace to the eldest girl as she was in her late teens and would soon be married. A full trouser was given to her elder brother. Seeing both the gift she was surprised as she had never seen such exuberant gifts given to anyone. She was the next in line, the next recipient of the gold necklace. She was impatient to flaunt her yet to receive a new necklace to her friends, cousins and the rest of the villagers. She could feel the envious eyes of her friends while the chain sway around her neck while they play, the extra glance she will take while getting ready to go out.  

Her father called her and she went forward expectantly, he kissed her on her forehead and she touched his feet as custom to show respect to him. She raised both of her small shaking arms to get her precious gift, her gold necklace. Her fathers hands were wrapped around it and he put the gift on her expecting hands. She never had thought the cold touch of the any metal could make her so happy. It was a 1 rupee coin. She was crestfallen, betrayed, angry & other emotions which she had never felt in her life till now. It felt she had waited all her life for the necklace. She turned away, taking her gift and an attempt to hide the tears from all the others. She was determined that she will wear the chain, the exact same chain.

A few weeks passed, yet the passion and the intense urge to wear the necklace had not decreased nor had she got an opportunity to take the necklace and try it. She couldn’t bear the urge any longer, she felt like a ticking time bomb which could explode any minute. The next day just while leaving for school, she saw the cupboard was open, she felt like fate has finally understood her and had finally given her what she wanted for weeks. With a slight hesitation, she took the necklace, wore it and gave herself  a momentary glance towards the mirror she left the house. She was happy an emotion which the girl had thought had deserted her for the last few weeks. She showed her friends the necklace boasting about it.  Arranging & rearranging it around her neck so that it will receive the maximum visibility.

It was not the fact she possessed the gold necklace that made her happy, it was the fact everyone thought that and saw it on her neck that made her happy. As she was not accustomed to wearing it, she forgot about her precious almost at the same time she arrived at her school. She studied, worked, ran without being cognizant of the necklace missing around her neck. The bell rang and she was the first to run from her class just to be the first to get out of school and wait for her friends. As soon the friends came, they went towards the farms the shortest path to their house.

Suddenly a shudder passed through her body, she moved her fingers around her neck to get the necklace missing. The little girl collapsed into tears, when her friends asked her why she was crying she told about the missing necklace. They retraced the path all the way back to their schools in search of the necklace, but no luck. The last of the teachers present at the school saw a few girls around the ground and one of them crying so came over to ask what had happened, and they recounted the whole of the story. Teacher assured that she will make an announcement during the assembly next day about it and will ask to give it back to her if anyone had found it.

Still crying the innocent girl and her friends were headed back home and telling the unfortunate event to everyone they see on their way and asked to keep an eye out for it. They even went to the nearby temple and church to pray and tell the priest about it so he could convey it to everyone coming there. Slowly the news of the missing necklace reached her house. The parents were already worried that their daughter had not reached home till now and now they got the news of necklace.

The mother decides to give her a good thrashing went in search of the girl. She had not walked for more than twenty paces and she saw her daughter. As she reached her, the mother threw a tight slap to the girl and pulled her towards the house. But as she pulled something slid of the girl’s shirt. The girl noticed it and called her mother to say that she found the missing necklace. The girl broke free of her mother’s clutches took the necklace and ran towards her house and hid herself behind her father.

By the time mother came to a second round of thrashing the father stopped her and asked her to get the necklace inside and to keep it properly. Then he lifted his daughter and asked her why she did it. She confessed everything to him expecting to get some more beating, but her father started laughing and said “Oh my baby, why do you suppose I bought your sister the necklace? She is not pretty like you she needs such accessories to make her pretty”.

This is all the girl wanted to hear, she was happy. There was not a little bit disappointment inside her for the necklace. She felt foolish to think she took it when she was so pretty in the first place.

PS: This is the little girl mentioned in the story above. This story is dedicated to this little girl, my mother.

With lots of love <3 <3