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Dreaming Child of Humanity

She works in shifts and she doesn't really remember since when she had been working; she doesn't even bother to remember though. She has no self-esteem and she dare have one. She is beautiful and would pass for a well endowed woman and she curses providence for that. she is paid a paltry sum for the service she delivers; most of which goes into the education of her son who is 6 yrs old now. It has been eons now that she had laughed heartily.

Now she just smiles to solicit business for the firm which comes under the service sector (pun intended). She doesn't cry either. her only leisure is the gossips she has with other employees of the firm and the company of her only son.

She sings beautiful lullabies for her son at night even though she is too tired to speak. It has been years that she had stepped out of her work place. she suffers from a venereal disease and the medication she is been provided is just to keep her in working condition.

Although she dies everyday, yet her only reason to live is her son. She works hard and prays harder that her son would be literate and find some petty job so that he can get her samosas and jalebis and take her out so that she could breathe fresh air and see the world through his eyes. years pass by and she grows weak.

The son keeps growing and does terribly bad at school. He takes to drinking and other nefarious activities and gets nowhere near to being literate leave alone being educated. He quits school and uses the money that his mother earns at the cost of her blood, sweat, tears and of course self-esteem in drinking and gambling. he treats his mother with disgust. She is loosing her strength while the son has now grown up to be a strapping man although his intellect and thoughts are handicapped if not appalling. But she still dreams of jalebis, samosas and the fresh air.

She just does one shift now. Her debilitating illness has now almost made her bed-ridden. She is no more beautiful although her inner beauty is unfathomable. She now prays not only for her only property but also for humanity. She prays for happiness of people she doesn't know of. She prays for animals and for world peace. She knows she is a non-entity, a scum of the face of this earth and this makes her pray even harder thinking her prayers would still be miles away from being heard leave alone fructified.

Now her son beats her when she is not able to pay for his drinking binges. He curses her with all the invectives he knows of. He calls her bad names. Now she is too weak and famished a commodity to lend her services. Her protracted illness is dragging her slowly towards fresh air (pun intended). Her son runs errands for his mother's employer and does other menial jobs. Although his monetary demands have reduced yet the chastisement of his mother continues as he thinks she is responsible for his ill-fate. May be he is correct. She has stopped dreaming although she gets a lot of time to sleep now.

But she still prays. She talks to her bed and plays with her pillow. She is a burden to the firm she worked for and the society at large. despite all these tribulations she finds peace within the confines of her dingy room and her frail body. A month later she is found dead on her bed, but an ethereal smile adorned her face and this smile was not meant for soliciting business!

She was supposed to be buried where the other employees had been but that graveyard seemed to be full. So another fresh piece of land (which happened to be a lush green field on the slopes of a nearby mountain) was acquired by the charity of a well-wisher for burials. And that well-wisher's condition was that the first body to be buried here is to be given 10 times the space that a normal person is allotted.

So she gets one complete corner of the field for herself with oodles of fresh air (no pun intended here). Also the vista is exhilarating. The nearby village grows rapidly in population and prosperity. New shops have sprung up here and there. Just beside her burial spot a jalebi and a samosa shop had opened and now they are doing roaring business. She still prays for humanity and loves her son dearly. She still loves the fresh air and the vista and of course jalebis and samosas.

Her son still calls her bad names.

Contributing Writer: Suman Mukherjee [email protected]

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