This experience of mine brings chills even today while I am penning it down. It dates back to my college days but still seems fresh in my mind. It is a well-known fact that eyes of whatever shape or colour reveal all hidden secrets. No doubt it is famously quoted that Eyes Speak The Truth. Eyes always grab our attention at the first instance. I too am a strong believer of the same. But this time my eyes travelled to a different domain altogether.
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Amongst the many lucky ones, I too was born with beautiful doe-shaped eyes. My eyes always earned me appreciations. But this time I was mesmerised by another pair of eyes which I can never ever forget. Everyone loves to experiment with looks especially during their college years. Every new trend has to be tried and tested barring all probabilities. I too was game for such experiments. Although now when I look back and think of those moments, it seems so childish. But at that time those silly desires meant our world.
Coming to my story… Sarah was one of my classmates, who was envious of me. My friends always hushed about how Sarah followed my footsteps as she wanted to compete with me desperately. But that never seemed to bother me until one day…
That day Sarah looked exceptionally different. Honestly speaking, she looked really pretty and for once I did feel a bit jealous of her. I couldn’t take my eyes off hers’. She had dressed up especially as it was her birthday. Being a sport, I went near to wish her and was awestruck by looking at her eyes. They have lined beautifully with a tinge of Sapphire blue kajal.
Frankly speaking, I never knew a kajal of such colour existed. Neither did I want to sound foolish by asking her. Hence it triggered my mission to grab the latest trend in town. – A Sapphire-blue colour kajal. But all my efforts went down the drain as it wasn’t available in my town. Later I came to know that Sarah got it as a gift from her aunt who lived in London. But my adamant mind won’t budge, and Sarah’s blue-lined eyes kept haunting me day and night.
Soon a class trip was organised to a nearby hill station. I was super excited to go as it was my first trip away from home with my classmates. The trip included sightseeing and stay for about 4 days. We were all decked up to have a blast. Moreover, it helped my mind deviate from the unavailability of the Sapphire- blue kajal. The journey was a long one and we took small halts for refreshments. The next halt scheduled was a temple which was claimed to be of historical significance.
Overwhelmed with its stone sculptures, we clicked photographs amongst their backdrop. While clicking snaps from my camera, I spotted few stalls in the background. A shopaholic by nature, I thought of exploring them. Moving past many of them I spotted a small stall right at the end. To avoid the crowds I headed straight towards it. An old lady welcomed me with a beautiful smile. She had the most intricately detailed jewellery on display. As if that wasn’t enough she herself had adorned few of them. That helped me choose few artefacts for my mother as well.
Just about the time when I was bargaining a deal with her, I spotted something. It at once grabbed my attention as I was longing for it since long. Yes!! It was a Sapphire blue-colored eye pencil which I was badly searching for. Her local language was difficult to understand, but I came to know that she wouldn’t sell it. I tried to dodge her with my words and she agreed to show it to me. I was thrilled to grab it, but after opening it I found its tip broken. I didn’t mind buying the broken eye-pencil and landed the money in her hands and left.
Jumping with joy, I ran to my friends to show my priceless possession. I flipped back to look at the woman and surprisingly she was crying bitterly. I was too much engrossed in my excitement that I had foregone her emotions like a stone-hearted person.
After returning to the hotel, all I wanted was to try the eye pencil on my beautiful eyes. A campfire was organised by the hotel for us in the evening. We all dressed up in cosy cardigans, pullovers and stoles to keep the cold winds at bay.
Finally came the moment when I glided the eye pencil along the waterline of my eyes. It lent a burning sensation, but I thought it was due to the blunt edge of the pencil. My eyes got a new dimension. I felt like a princess. Truly satisfied I stepped out to join my friends who were waiting outside around the campfire. Everyone including Sarah was mesmerised by my new look.
Singing to the tunes of Bollywood songs we danced and giggled to our heart’s content. Lost in each other’s company we held hands together performing various dance steps. Surprisingly my left hand started feeling cold, but I was too engrossed to figure it out. Slowly the night grew cold and everyone settled down to have dinner.
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My left hand had become numb by now so I stayed behind near the fire. My friends gorged on the delicious food on display. I alternatively looked at them while rubbing my hands and warming them near the fire. But I was startled by a shining sparkle from the nearby woods. With great difficulty, I saw a pretty lass peeping from behind a tree. She was dressed in the local traditional attire and was wearing similar jewellery like the old woman I met early that morning.
Her smile was so soothing that I felt attracted towards her. I called her with my gestures but she just smiled back. My friends calling for dinner startled me, and I lost her at once. She was nowhere. Unwillingly though I finished my dinner. Finally, we all were retiring back to our rooms when a thought came to my mind. Where did this girl come from on this cold wintery night? Thinking she might be hungry, I looked around the woods. But unfortunately, she wasn’t around.
Sadly I thought of returning, and then suddenly I felt her cold hands. Just as I turned around, I could see the world’s most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. And yes!! They were outlined with the same sapphire-blue colour kajal. I felt a connect instantly and smiled. She smiled back at me. Her cold hands held mine and I followed her wherever she was taking me. The moonlit night was guiding us through the stone-paved pathways of the village. We went past closed doors. I asked her where we were heading to, but she just giggled back.
It seemed like a lot of time had passed but I had no control over my thoughts. I just followed her. Her anklets made a tinkling sound only to add to the aura of the whole experience. Finally, she stopped by the door of a small hut. The dim light of a lantern was visible from the gloomy window. She giggled and knocked at the door and hid behind a shrub. I watched dumbstruck when suddenly the door opened.
The face which I saw was familiar. It was the home of the same old woman I had met at the stall. She was sobbing and looking at me. Unable to understand her language, all I could figure out from her expressions was that she was still annoyed with me. I tried to console her by telling why I wanted the eye-pencil badly. But my efforts went unheard. Strangely, but all this while the girl wasn’t visible anywhere.
The old woman took me to her bedside. I sat down looking at the poor condition of the hut. She seemed to stay alone there. She came back with an old box and opened it in front of me. There were a small diary, some old jewellery and an envelope. She opened the envelope to reveal a photograph. And to my shock, it was a snap of the class in the same attire as I had seen her. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and then she handed over the diary to me. I started reading it, and slowly many secrets unfolded.
As I read I realised what had happened. The girl was the old woman’s daughter and her name was Ramiya. She wanted Ramiya to study hard. For fulfilling her mother’s dream, Ramiya travelled up the hills to reach the only school in the village. She had penned her thoughts in her diary which made her mother proud of her. As she grew up into a pretty girl she did love to dress up herself. She applied the Sapphire-blue kajal in her eyes which were a gift to her from an American tourist. One day when she was returning from school, a landslide occurred and Ramiya got trapped under the debris of huge rocks. By the time the villagers had rescued her, she had died of suffocation.
With no one left in this world, the old woman had treasured Ramiya’s belongings in the box. And the blue eye pencil reminded her of Ramiya’s beautiful eyes. After reading her diary, I was left with mixed emotions.
I was scared to realise that all this while I was with Ramiya’s ghost! It left me really angry and sad that I had bought Ramiya’s last possession which was priceless for her poor mother! At the same time, I felt happy that Ramiya’s soul had chosen me to console her lonely mother! Maybe she wanted me to convey her feelings to her mother that she was happy.
The old woman cried on my lap as the night passed caressing her. I could feel Ramiya’s soul thanking me for all this. In the morning I went back to my hotel room, narrated the whole story to my friends and packed my bags. On our way back we stopped by the stall. I returned Ramiya’s Sapphire-blue eye-pencil to her mother and she smiled back gleefully.
Somewhere beside me, I could feel Ramiya’s cold hands thanking me. Though cold, it transmitted the Warmth of Love straight to my heart. The Love of a daughter for her lonely mother…