Never Alone – A Short Story in English
Written by Swati Joshi
December 14, 2018
“Auto…….!” A young woman perhaps in her late 20s is trying to stop an auto rickshaw on the road. The watch on her hand is showing 8:25 p.m.. She just has left her office finishing a tiring, hectic day. She is bit worried too; as it is little late and it is about to rain shortly. One rickshaw stops but the driver denies taking her on the route she needs to go. After a short tussle, he agrees on double the rent.
She is Gauri.This was equally a bad day as it had been yesterday and the day before. A day full of struggle, hardship, lacking appreciation, doing awful compromises and all. In short, frustrating day ending up with an exhausted body and disappointed mind and soul.
After completing her quick meal rather self-made, non-interesting, dining alone kind of dinner, she throws herself into the bed. It is a windy night. Window panes are rattling. She listens some music just to help her mind to relax and to forget about the day. She falls asleep lately.
It has hardly been an hour and she suddenly wakes up, feeling someone whispering nearby. Thinking that she might have forgotten to turn off the music player or it might be turbulence in the rainy night. She gets up to check the music player and windows as well. She looks around. But it is not that. Instead she finds herself standing at a place unknown to her. There is a crescent moon in the sky with fog all around. In this misty solitude, she finds a woman covered with a white veil to accompany her.
Gauri is agitated a little. She asks the woman who she is.
The woman in a gentle voice; “It doesn’t matter dear, I am here to seek your help”.
Gauri is still confused whether to converse with a stranger or not. She is thinking about where she is and what this woman does in this mysterious place. But she is agog to know about the woman and her intentions. So, one more time, Gauri asks the woman firmly who she is.
The woman: “That you need not to know. But I can assure you that you will definitely know who you are actually after a word with me.”
Gauri: “How can I……?”
The woman interrupts Gauri and tells her in a soothing voice to close her eyes.
Gauri hesitates but the woman requests her to do so. There is a magical effect in her voice that Gauri really wants to follow the instructions.
She is little scared also but more eager to know about all this going on. She closes her eyes.
The woman: “Please answer my question honestly. Just try to be yourself while you answer.”
Gauri nods affirmatively.
The woman:” Keep your eyes closed and tell me, what do you feel in your heart, right now?”
Gauri opens her eyes angrily and says, why she should tell her about how she feels.
The woman: “Please do it. It will help us both. I need your help. So, do it for me.”
Being a good person at heart, Gauri wants to help that strange woman and that’s why one more time, she closes her eyes and tries to find an honest reply from inside.
Gauri: “I feel hurt and little disappointed. That’s it.”
The woman: “Who has hurt you so much?”
Gauri: “People around me, circumstances and the life.”
The woman: “You can’t control life or circumstances but people. Who are the people hurting you?”
Gauri finds all this insane but can’t refuse to reply as it might be helpful to herself too. Thus, decides to continue the dialogue.
Gauri replies: “My people.”
The woman: “There is no one around you at present, right?”
Gauri can’t get the meaning what the woman wants to say so she asks what she means. The woman explains that there is no one around to hurt or harm Gauri and still she is feeling that way.
Gauri: “I don’t blame a particular one but they all did the same to me. My family and relatives take me for granted all the time, Colleagues and known people take advantage of my nature to serve their purposes, the person whom I considered my life has left me alone. I everyday have to do the things I don’t agree with. I have no true friends or a person to share my feelings in this world. I have no one to care for me and you may not know how terrible it feels when you are all alone.”
Tears come out of Gauri’s closed eyes. She has never shared these things to anyone but telling today to an unknown, unseen, mysterious woman!
Moments pass. Gauri calms down. The woman starts speaking. This time, she sounds as if she also has felt Gauri’s pain.
The woman: “Do you want to know who is hurting you the most? I can tell you.”
Gauri looks surprised and asks: “Who?”
The woman: “You.” “You are hurting yourself the most.”
Gauri: “How can you say that?”
The woman: “Look around you and you will see that there is no one in your life to influence you. The people give you experiences — good or bad and leave. It is you who has held the strings tightly without considering that there is no one on the other end. People come and go. What stays with you is only yourself. You are the person who has to decide whether to feel the pain of bad experiences or to cherish the good one…….”
The woman continues and Gauri listens her speechlessly,
“…… You and your conscience are always together and only you two can decide whom to allow to hurt you. So, take my word that no person in this world has that strength to make you feel suffer except yourself.”
Gauri stands astounded and asks how she knows all that?
The woman instructs Gauri to open her eyes slowly. Gauri does it and what she sees is that the woman has removed the veil and she exactly looks like Gauri. She is amazed to see herself confronting her. Gauri as that woman is little more firm, confident and brighter while the real Gauri is little low spirited. That is the only difference one can pick between both of them.
Gauri (astonishingly): “Who are you?”
The woman with a sweet smile on her face: “You!”
She elongates her arms for Gauri to embrace and says, “I am your conscience actually, never leaving you alone.”
Gauri smiles and embraces the woman tightly. She feels as relieved as never before.
The alarm buzzes loudly. It is 6:00 a.m.
A new Gauri wakes up to welcome the day with a smile.