BURDENED BY FATE
Shipping (per book) : 50
Genre : Fiction
TARGET AUDIENCE: Teenagers, Adults
Pages : 185
BURDENED BY FATE
Anshika was born in village. She is an ambitious girl who aspiresÂ to become a good doctor. Her biological motherÂ had died while she was barely ten years old. Her stepmother and father disowned herÂ and threw her out of home.Â Nisha befriendsÂ Snadeep, Indrajeet, Kabita, and Kriti in the college. After graduation, theyÂ go on to pursueÂ their dream, but life does not want to give a beautiful path.Â â€˜Burdened By Fateâ€™Â is aÂ motivational tale of faith, courage, determination, friendship, and hope.Â
It was 2011, when I met her for the first time at Charbag Lucknow Railway Station. I was pursuing B-Tech in second year. Never in my wildest dream could I imagine of meeting with a damsel. She was ambitious and has been successful in achieving her goals. We were strangers yet she wanted to share her success story. She has never left her home, but fate did not favour her. She was forced to leave by her own father and step mother.
It never occurred to her that one day she would be sharing her life’s story with me. Gradually the conversation started and I was stung with her escapades.
I went to the railway station, studying the digital display of the train’s schedule. I stood at the inquiry window to confirm the arrival of Pushpak train, which was scheduled to depart at 19:45 from Lucknow and reach Bhopal at 05:55 am. I didn’t had a reserved seat. I went to the ticket window and bought a general ticket. It was necessary for me to go to Bhopal.
I went on the platform and sat on a chair beside a tea stall. I was thrilled and thirsty at the same time. I took out a bottle from my bag and found it to be empty. I looked around for a drinking water tap but there were none. I trashed the empty bottle in the bin and opted to purchase mineral water from the vendor. Unfortunately, I did not have twenty-rupee change to pay for the bottle. I handed a five-hundred rupee note to the shopkeeper.
‘Sorry, sir,’ the shopkeeper said and returned the note.
I returned the bottle and came back to my seat. In the meantime, a young girl came and occupied a seat beside me. I noticed that she was carrying a water bottle. I was hesitant to ask for a favour but I tried my luck.
‘Can I drink water from your bottle?’
‘Yes, you can drink. No problem, after all water is life,’ she replied. I was admiring a beautiful smile that flickered on her lips. I drank half the bottle and felt rejuvenated. She started talking to me.
‘Where are you from? What is your name? Why are you going to Bhopal? What do you do?’ she threw a series of questions at me.
‘I am Anand from Azamgarh, U.P. I am going to Bhopal to participate in a competition. I am a student of B-Tech,’ I replied. I asked the same set of introductory questions to her but she chose not to reply.
She just stared at my face. ‘Do you have ticket?’
‘No,’ I replied.
‘In that case, we can try to talk with TC as I too do not have a ticket,’ she said.
‘Ok,’ I replied.
Suddenly, I saw the Ticket Collector. I approached him with my concern. The man guided us towards coach number S4. We heard the final whistle of the engine and boarded the train. I sat on seat 45 and she sat across me.
Thirty minutes passed by and we did not exchange a single word. Suddenly a man came and said, ‘Sir, this is my seat. Please leave it and sit on some other seat.’
‘Anand, you didn’t talk properly with the Ticket Collector. What did he say? She asked.
‘The TC will come after an hour and will provide us a confirmed seat,’ I replied.
Fifty minutes have passed yet the TC did not arrive in our coach. Thankfully, after an hour, I saw him checking the tickets of the passengers. Since I was having a general ticker, the TC demanded us to pay Rs. 2000 for seat confirmation.
‘We are students sir and we cannot pay that much,’ I pleaded.
‘How much can you pay?’ The TC inquired.
‘Only thousand rupees,’ she replied.
Both of them us paid five-hundred each for a single seat. The TC did not provide any slip. We shifted to seat number 35. She was happy to have finally occupied a reserved seat.
I bought cold drink and a packet of chips. She took out paratha and vegetables from her bag. We together finished our dinner and started talking to each other. She now asked me about my passion and dreams.
I knew that I am passionate about writing inspirational stories or poems. However, I have never set this passion as my dream. But, now it has turned out to be one.
‘Can you write a story of a struggling girl?’ She asked.
‘Yes, I can,’ I said with confidence.
The train halted at Jhansi railway station. It got down the train and bought two cups of tea. We were enjoying the beverage in the midst of our conversation. It suddenly struck to me to respond to her idea. I decided to write a book on the true story on her someday. She narrated me about her difficult past life and her journey to fulfill her mother's dream. She would often cry while sharing her memories. My eyes too were brimmed with tears. Her story touched my heart and I gave full attention to her soft voice. While listening to her, I learnt that she was perusing MBBS from AIIMS, Delhi.
I am Anshika. I am alone in this world. My mother died when I was ten years old. She loved me more than her life. She never went to school but she knew everything better than I did. She wanted a bright future for me. My father was a government employee. He never gave any due respect to my mother.
One day, I came back from school and called my mother but she did not respond. I went inside the room and tried to talk to my mother but her body had become a statute. She was motionless. I took her hand and noticed that her body was pale. I cried and called my father.
‘Papa……Mummy is not talking with me. I am holding her hand, but she is not replying. She did not even kiss me,’ I screamed.
‘What happened? Why are you screaming?’ He asked.
‘Don't worry Anshika, your mother has gone to the heaven,’ he said after few seconds.
‘Papa, papa…will mummy never talk with us and who will get me ready?’ The oceans of tears were flowing from my eyes. My arms were wrapped around her body. Finally, I understood that she would never kiss on my forehead again. I didn’t want to leave her but she had left me alone in this alien world. I was feeling lonely because my father never wanted to have a daughter. I was a burden for him. I wanted to study further but my father thought that educating a girl was a bane. He was always stuck with a belief that girls were meant only for household chores. He always wanted a boy because he thought that only a boy could make him proud of his achievement.
My school dresses were torn and I wanted to take admission in tenth class. I requested my father to let me study. I wanted to become a doctor. It was both my mother’s dream as well as mine. I never expected that he would never support me. I was only a domestic help for him. He didn’t care about my future and my dreams. He always said that, ‘You are a girl and your dream will be a waste for you.’
I wanted time for myself to study but my family kept me busy with house chores. Every day, I would wake up at 3:00 am and study until at 6:00 am. This was the only time when I could study peacefully without any distraction. After that, I used to sweep and clean my house. My father has his dairy farm. I used to pick cow dung and carry the pot on my head to the farm. I had to collect fodder and then shred them with the help of machine. I had to feed the cows too.
After taking a bath, I prepared breakfast and served it to my father and uncle. Then I would get ready for school and come back at noon to cook lunch. The school was beside my home.
Today was the best day for my father. I did not know the reason for him being so glad. Everyone seemed happy. An aunty gave me sweet and said, ‘Your father is getting engaged.’
He never told me about his decision. I was shocked on hearing the news. I did not have any problem with him settling once again. It was a great moment for me too. I just wished he could have shared with me. I went and had a word with him. He assured me not to worry and that my second mother would help me in fulfilling my dreams. I was happy but I was missing my mother. I knew that no one could love me like my mother, not even my father’s second wife. I went inside my room and cried in front of my mother picture. ‘Mummy, I don't know about my stepmother. I am scared because I do not know how she will treat me.’ There was no response. I held my pillow and cried whole night. My pillow was drenched with my tears and my eyes were swollen.
My father remarried with a beautiful woman. He had invited every relatives and friends. They missed no opportunity to misguide me about the bad consequences of having a stepmother. I did not pay much heed to their nonsense.
Finally, my father entered the home with a new bride. She held my face and kissed my forehead. I was in tears. I felt as if I am seeing my mother right before my eyes. She went inside my father’s room. I followed her holding a glass of water and a plate of sweets. I offered her to eat and soon we started conversing.
‘Hi…You are Anshika, your father told me about you. I am your mother and you are my dearest daughter. I promise that you will never miss your mother,’ she said. I was happy to hear this. I touched her feet to seek her blessings.
My days passed by in taking care of my parents- washing their clothes, cooking, suppressing their legs and other petty house chores. I would often request them to narrate a story but they never took any interest in my pleas.
I went to my room and slept. The next day I woke up and was surprised to see that my mother has done the chores that I have been doing until now. She even combed my hair, packed my lunch and happily sent me to school. She loved me like my biological mother. I went to school without any worries except for my dream.
My mother was pregnant. I was very happy to hear the good news. I was excited with the thought that soon I will be playing with my brother or sister. Nine months have passed. I always made sure to keep her away from stress. She felt the stomach pain. I called my father. He ran towards home. Along with his brother, my father took my mother to the hospital.
‘Papa, I also want to go to the hospital,’ I requested. He slapped me four times. I didn’t dare to say anything further.
My mother delivered a beautiful baby boy. I was jumping with joy. I touched my brother’s red cheeks and kissed his delicate hands. I did not let my mother take load of any work. Everything was going smooth. However, after two months, her behavior changed.
I was feeling hungry. I wanted to eat something. I asked my mother for food but she did not respond. I insisted again and she angrily looked at me.
‘I have not cooked anything. Go and prepare food for yourself. One more thing, do not keep any hope from me,’ she said.
I had no idea why she was behaving in such an unusual manner. I cried and told everything to my father. He ignored my pains. They did not like me and were always busy with their baby. I was missing my mother.
I belonged to a village. My father and cousins did not give any importance to education. They were narrow-minded and were never pleasant with their words.
‘Why do you want to study?’ They all would often question me. ‘You will never become a Doctor, Eng., IAS or IPS,’ they would conclude.
‘I will become a doctor one day,’ I challenged them. ‘It is my mother’s dream and I will fulfill her wish.’
I studied until late night and would wake up early morning. My stepmother was observing everything. I no longer want to address her as my mother. She can never replace my mother. I passed my tenth standard with 81 %.
I decided to leave the village to pursue higher studies. I told my family about my decision. Everyone looked annoyed. ‘You will not go anywhere.’ That is all I would get to hear.
I had a talk with my stepmother with the hope that she would support me. I was wrong. ‘You have completed your primary education. Now you will stay at home and do the house chores.’
I took admission in the eleventh standard with the help of uncle.
I met Snehlata, my classmate in the new school. She wanted to become a software engineer. We sat together in the classroom. Snehlata belonged to an affluent family. Her father was an IAS officer, mother was government teacher and her brother was studying in IIT, Delhi.
My parents were furious with my decision to study further. My stepmother never failed to show her hatred for me. She would often hit me, torture me and would slap me for no reason. She expected me to be a multi-tasked. I would feel exhausted and helpless.
I asked my stepmother for my lunch box. ‘I did not cook anything. Go to school and come back during lunch break.’
Throughout the day in the class, I was waiting for lunch break. I could not focus on the lecture. I was suffering from unbearable hunger pangs. I drank water and kept on looking at the clock. As soon as the clock struck one, I rushed home.
‘Mommy, where is lunch?’ I asked.
‘Lunch had finished,’ she replied.
I was unable to control my hunger. I wrapped a scarf around my stomach and made a tight knot. I was missing my mother. Why she left me? I cried in a corner and remembered her last word, ‘Beta tumko doctor banana hai.’
I devoted my entire time in studies. My stepmother did not like it.
Snehlata was rich and I was apprehensive about how could I become her friend. She was kind-hearted and wanted to support me. In no time, we became best friends. I was happy to have someone for a company and shared everything with her.
Whenever I would ask father for money to meet my daily expenses, he would behave as if I have asked him to rip his chest and give his heart. Snehlata met all my requirements. My parents were always inquisitive about how I could afford college books and dresses. I never replied them.
‘Anshika, come here and listen to me very carefully. I will not allow you to go to college. Just stay at home and do all work. Only then I will give you clothes,’ he said.
‘No papa, it is not a good decision. It is killing me. Please papa, don't do this,’ I requested
I went to Snehlata's home and told her everything about my father’s words. I told her that I shall not stay at home and I am adamant to fulfill my dreams, even if I have to remain empty stomach.
‘Ok! Just wait for few more days and observe their behavior,’ she replied.
‘No Snehlata, I have already decided to leave home. You know very well about the adversities I am going through staying with my parents,’ I protested.
Today was a special day for me. In fact, it is an auspicious day for every sister and brother- Rakshabandhan. On this day, girls tie a sacred thread around their brother’s wrist. I too wanted to celebrate this festival. My parents did not allow me to tie the thread around Golu’s wrist. My parents bluntly told me that he is not my brother nor I am their daughter.
‘Golu is my son. Stay away from him and if possible kindly leave this home,’ my stepmother said.
‘Papa, what is mummy saying?’ I said.
‘Yes, she is right. Even I want you to leave,’ my father said.
‘Please papa, where will I go?’ I cried.
‘I don't know. You can go anywhere. It is not my problem. You are not my daughter. You can ask your mother but she is no longer in this world. She had died. Go wherever you want,’ he said.
It was the worst day of my life. I was in fear. I silently stayed in my room. My father held my hand, threw out my school bag, clothes and mummy's picture. I did not say anything. I collected my belongings scattered on the ground. I did not look back and left my home.
I was unable to decide where I should go. My mind brimmed with a series of questions. Why did God create me when I am still alone despite having a family? Why is my father so hard-hearted? Why my stepmother hates me? Why can’t Golu be my brother?
I thought to end my life but before that, I wanted to meet Snehlata and her parents. I went to Snehlata's home. I confessed to her how I have been thrown out of my home by my own father. On hearing my decision of committing suicide, she became furious.
‘How could you even think of doing that?’ She immediately informed her parents. They gave me courage and support. They regarded me as their daughter and sister of their children. I was welcomed as a new member in their home.
Next day, while my parents were asleep, I along with Snehlata went inside the house to collect my mother’s photo frame that was hanging on the wall. However, my parents saw us but did not utter anything. I packed my remaining belongings in a cotton bag and left for my new home. Snehlata’s parents were very happy to see me back.
‘Anshika, do not worry. We are sisters and best friends too. We will together achieve our dream. Never ever feel that you are a stranger here. Do not think about what your parents have done to you and stop taking stress. Forget everything and move on. They do not deserve to have such a lovely daughter. It is high time to start a new life. Just pay attention to your studies and your goals,’ she lectured me just the way any sweet elder sister would.
Snehlata's parents called me and said that it was now their responsibility to give me the best of life. I felt relieved to have their support.
Unfortunately, my fate has not yet done with taking my test. Within a fortnight, Snehlata’s mother started sulking at every matter. The reason was I. At night, I often heard aunty saying that she no longer can take my responsibility. They no longer wanted to pay for my expenses. They even forbid Snehlata from spending too much time with me. I cried on hearing all this. I went to the garden and started talking to the tree to ease my pain.
‘Why are you crying?’ Snehlata thought that I was missing my mother. She wiped my tears. I have always missed my mother. I no longer wanted to be a burden for Snehlata’s parents. I wanted to work and pay for my own expenses. I did not want anyone’s obligations and sympathy.
Snehlata came to know the reason behind my tears. She tried to explain my situation to her parents but they remained headstrong. She apologized to me and busted into tears. She felt helpless and said that she hates her parents for being so selfish.
For me, Snehlata parents were generous. They have provided me shelter when I was homeless and helpless. Had it not been for them, I do not know what would have happen of me.
‘Anshika, you are a good girl and we shall always remain best friends. Always keep smiling and call me whenever you need help,’ she said.
I went to uncle's room and told him that I have planned to leave for the city and get a job. He was happy to see my determination. He gave me few references so that I could get a job. I did not want to take any more sympathy. I left the room.
Snehlata was worried for me. She packed my bag with few clothes and gave me some money. She dropped me at a certain distance and handed me a piece of paper with her mobile number scribbled on it. I have not decided about any particular destination. I went to Azamgarh railway station.
I did not know how and which train to board. I went near the ticket counter to inquire about the arriving train. It was Kaifiyat Express from Azamgarh to Delhi. I decided to go to Lucknow. It was a tough decision for me. I did not know anything about city life and people around. It was my first journey alone. I had no idea about different train compartments like AC, sleeper, and general coach. I sat on the chair in the platform waiting for the train. I was full of fear and anxieties. How will I catch the train?
I looked around. A senior citizen was sitting next to me. I started a conversation with him. The old man said that the train would take around seven to eight hours to reach Lucknow. He asked about my destination. I had nothing to say.
It was 3:00 pm when the train arrived. I did not purchase any ticket. I boarded the sleeper compartment. After an hour, the Ticket Collector came and asked me to show the ticket.
‘I do not have a ticket sir,’ I said. He told me to pay fine.
‘Sir, I am alone in this world. I am going to Lucknow in search of a job. I only have two thousand rupees. How much you want?’ I asked.
‘Where are your parents and why are you going for work? This is an age to study,’ he said.
I shared my story with him. He was in tears. He reserved an upper berth for me and did not charge me anything. He handed me thousand rupees for my journey. I did not want to take it but he insisted saying that I am his daughter. He even gave me his contact number. I was too nervous to trust a stranger. He could read my expression and showed me his identity card. His name was Rajesh Yadav from Mau. He wrote his address on a paper. ‘If you face any problem then you can call me or visit on my address.’
‘Ok sir, thank you very much,’ I replied.
I was asleep when the train halted at Faizabad railway station. I woke up and purchased a bottle of mineral water. I saw TC approaching me. He gave me a packed dinner plate and some snacks. I kept the snacks in my bag. Never in my dreams, could I imagine that a person who was a stranger a while ago would help me more than I could ask for. I started believing in God. They say, ‘God always help those who have no one in this world.’
I finished my dinner and felt asleep. The train has reached Lucknow station. The TC came to wake me up. I looked around. The place was crowded. I again felt nervous. The TC was going to Delhi and he wanted me to come along with him so that he could help me in finding a job. I did not want to go with him. I wanted to experience life and hardship all alone without anyone’s help. I got down at the Lucknow station. I went to platform number one and bought a newspaper. I laid it on the ground and waited for dawn to break the darkness. The day was bright when I woke up. I was feeling hungry and munched on the snacks the TC gave me last night.
I left the station. There were four different shops selling clothes, mobile, tea and sweets. I visited each one of them with the hope of getting a job. The owner of the clothes shop did not wanted to take my responsibility even after hearing about my sad story.
I entered the mobile shop. I met two young men there and they stared at me, ‘You will do a job?’
‘Yes,’ I replied.
They arranged a room for me near their shop. The room rent was twenty-five hundred per month. They paid me one-fifty rupees per day including food. They treated me as their sister. I worked here for two months.
One day, two girls came to the shop looking for the latest mobile handset. I showed them five different models. One of them noticed that I was studying biology when she entered the shop. She looked at me in a caring manner but said nothing.
I wanted to study but I had no time. My daily routine was hectic. I would wake up at 6:00 am and take bath. Then I would prepare my meal and pack lunch. After having my breakfast, I would reach shop at 10:00 am. I would return to my room at 8 pm. I would then take rest for thirty minutes, prepare and have dinner by 10:00 pm. Then I would devote three hours on my studies. I always thought about my dream. These hardships could not stop me from studying. I always carried a book to the shop. I had faith in myself with the hope of getting formal education soon. I did not invest any money in buying clothes for myself in these four months. My salary was not enough to meet all my expenses. I would buy one book every month and study.
The same girl again visited the shop. She wanted to purchase the mobile cover. She again noticed me studying and understood my goals. She asked me to meet her outside the shop. I was hesitant but I followed her. I kept my book on the table and came out.
She asked me the reason for working at such young age and insisted that I share everything with her. I did not wish to share my past with her or anyone else. The girl was kind and I felt as if I am talking to an angel. My heart melted on hearing the sad story on her side. She scribbled her mobile number on my palm.
‘If you wish to study further then call me without any hesitation,’ she said and left.
I did not have enough spare time for myself working in this shop. I wanted to study and pursue my dreams. It was a great opportunity for me. I took out my phone and dialed her number. It was out of network area. I again dialed after two hours and this time she answered my call.
‘Who is this?’ she asked.
I introduced myself. She was very happy to hear me. I told her that I wish to study and become a doctor. She smiled over the phone and came to my room after three hours. I didn’t knew that she was a medical student. She was residing at Gomtinagar, Lucknow.
I informed about it to the shopkeeper. They have known life and stared at her.
‘Anshika, do you want to go with her?’
‘Yes brother, I want to study.’
‘But she is a stranger. Don't worry, you are not far away from us. I will drop you with her.’
It had a bright future awaiting me and I did not want to step back. I took a deep breath before taking a step forward. My brother dropped me. I saw tears rolling down his cheeks. He wiped them with the handkerchief. He quietly kept rupees six thousand on my palm. My legs were trembling. I hugged him and floods of tears were touching my lips. He wiped my tears and said, ‘You are going to achieve your dream. I am not well educated and cannot give you a better life. These sisters are studying in good college. They will help you in studies and cracking competitive exams.’
I did not know it was my last meeting with him. He bid me goodbye and hired an auto rickshaw.
ANAND KUMAR YADAV
About the Author:
AnandÂ wasÂ born in Mumbai, Maharashtra and raised in the village ofÂ Azamgarh,Â Uttar Pradesh.Â He graduated in EngineeringÂ andÂ startedÂ following his dreamsÂ while he was perusing M-Tech from Central University of Punjab. HeÂ has worked withÂ Tata Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd, Pune.Â Being the passionate Poet,Â Storyteller, Motivational Speaker,Â Blogger,Â YouTuber, Entrepreneur,Â he always aims to fill this world with love, courage,Â inspiration,Â opportunity,Â and happiness.