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A Lifetime with Ira

2nd January 2020
(Short Story)

 

People don't die young in Tryamb, for it’s a land gifted with a healing spring that never dries out. No one in Tryamb knew the origin of the life-saving water spring that ran along the rocky feet of mountains. The mysterious healing spring was guarded by Varuna, the rain keeper of Tryamb. People of Tryamb lived more than a hundred years and worked hard to bring wealth and riches to their loved ones.

Great lakes, abundant waterfalls, enormous mountains, dense forests and fertile lands were the most valuable assets of Tryamb. The land of Tryamb was protected by Aadava, the sun keeper during the day and was shielded by Mati, the moon keeper at night. Veda, the keeper of life force and Asan, the savior of life on Tryamb shielded the people of Tryamb like a force field from all directions. As a Tryambian, I have lived in close proximity with time all through my life. I imagine my life constrained by an invisible cord controlled by Bairav who is the timekeeper of life on Tryamb.

For long, I have trained my mind to acknowledge time only in minutes. There were times when I have lived a soulless life constantly in race with time chasing wealth and riches. It all changed one day, the day when Ira was born. Ira showed me how to live life every second. After she came in my life, I began to realize that it's the little things that made life beautiful.

One day, Ira took my hand into her little hands and walked me into her wonderland through a tunnel. As I came closer to the tunnel, a sudden blast of chamomile fragrance surrounded me. Right at the entrance of the tunnel, Bairav stood tall with his massive foot and his arms crossed. His height was that of two grown men. He had the complexion of smoky quartz crystal. Strands of his long dark hair gently caressed his shoulders.

"I am glad you found what really matters to you! I hope you enjoy your time. But know that you can't be here for long.", he said as I got closer to him.

Though I knew what he meant, I ignored him momentarily. Then, he disappeared. We entered the tunnel that had walls made of pink luminous material. Ira gleamed with excitement to have me next to her. She skipped through the tunnel like a rose bud wearing the pink luminance radiating from the tunnel walls. Ira took me to her house, a small one as pretty as her, walls and doors made of shiny fabric, windows made of fishing net and door knobs made of buttons. I wish I knew a magical spell that could make me little just like her so I could follow her into those tiny places that she goes.

Through her eyes, I could see a world filled with love all around. Ira showed me her little friends - Bhadra, the gentle bear; Diu, the purple dinosaur; Biju, the playful puppy and Lipi, the cute bunny. They all breath and live in her world. I watched her play and dance with them all day. Thunder and lightning would want to dance with Ira. When I danced with her, I lost track of time. But I knew that Bairav didn't.

Ira's world is made of vibrant colors. I watched her tiny fingers smear shades of colors thick and thin on the canvas. I had fallen in love with the part of me that is trapped within the portrait that she paints. The part of me that is vulnerable to her boundless love only unveils before her beady little eyes. Just when I was immersed and lost in the harmony of her world, Bairav appeared again.

“You ran out of time! You may not enter this wonderland with Ira again.”, he said.

At first, I was angry about what he said to me. I thought he is nobody to decide my life. Soon, I began to realize that time has the power to change anything. Just like he said, I never went back to the wonderland with Ira again.

*** 

One day, Ira and I were at the top of a mountain where she was amused by the butterflies that gathered around in flocks. I stood there mesmerized by the movement of fluttering butterflies as they moved in the direction that her hand swayed. I started to stagger a little as the winds got stronger. In a split second, the winds carried me up and cradled me with its arms both warm and cold. I was amazed to see the winds move me in the direction that Ira’s hands moved. When I was back on my feet, my mind could not comprehend what happened to me.

Ira was not an ordinary Tryambian soul like me. Later that day, Veda appeared before me.

“I don’t understand what is happening with Ira. Please enlighten me on what I am entrusted with?”, I asked

“Ira is not an ordinary soul. You have the great responsibility of raising a keeper. Ira will grow up to be the great keeper of wind force”, he explained.

Like Veda said, Ira’s adept hands did magic with the wind force every day. One day, she made me fly in the sky. I felt like I was wrapped in a thick blanket of air and escorted by Ira. Together, we stretched our hands wide in the air and waved to the birds that flew by. Suddenly, I felt the air changing. Cold wind started to swirl around us. Something that appeared like a bird from far away manifested at a closer angle as a black amethyst flying horse. It was Bairav riding the magical horse. He gave a cold smile as he passed by. I knew it was a reminder that my time was running out. But, it didn't bother me because I knew I was doing the right thing. The things that would make me feel happy when I look back at my life.

Soon the horse disappeared into the sky. Right along the horizon I saw Aadava, the sun keeper riding on his magical, golden flying horse watching over the sun. Soon, a part of the sun started sinking into the horizon when the winds carried us down to the ground. When we landed, we were not alone. The magnificent flying horse landed next to us. Bairav got off the horse and stood before me with one hand holding his trident and the other hand resting gently on his waist. The sweet scent of chamomile prevailed again.

"I know why you are here. My time here may be limited. But, I have lived every moment of it bringing joy to people around me", I said as I got closer to him.

Bairav laughed and he said, "You are the creator of your life. You are here today because you chose it. Remember that you own your life, not me!"

He smiled and took flight soon. I began to feel a sense of relief after that. I have failed many times trying to get around the thought that my life was stuck in between the spokes of the running wheel of time. Life began to unfold in a whole new perspective when I realized that I am the rider of the chariot behind those wheels.

***

One fine day, I was on the surface of the great lakes of Tryamb sailing on a big boat with Ira. We sailed at the feet of a majestic waterfall that showered smoky mist all over us. The sight of white water falling from the rocky ledge down into the enormous lake was breathtaking. Just then I saw Varuna on the water surface in his coral blue water dragon. The dragon had the head of a stag with long slender horns. It had the body of a seal with huge wings. It had short front legs with webbed feet, strong hind legs and a long tail. As the dragon swirled around the droplets of mist that raised above the water surface, I saw a rainbow amid the misty shower right above Ira's head.

On a sunny afternoon, Ira and I took a plunge into the deep blue water. The water currents swept us off and engulfed us in its vastness. The sun appeared like a dodged golden ball from beneath the water surface. Ira and I swam through to the bottom where her fingers stroked reefs of vibrant colors red, yellow, green and blue. Starfish of different colors were resting on the reefs. Several species of tiny fishes swum past us in groups.

I did not believe what my eyes saw when my cloudy vision became clear inside the water. It was Bairav who had transformed into fish form below his waist. His enormous tail had a shiny silver colored skin and the scales covering the skin were of smoky texture that perfectly matched his complexion. He swirled his magnificent tail and began to swim in one direction. We followed him a little further deep into the water to discover a whole new kingdom of creatures beneath the surface. It was absolutely stunning to watch creatures big and small living life in tandem with nature's magnanimity.

When we got our feet back on land, the scent of chamomile flowers surrounded me and I knew Bairav was close by. When I turned around, I saw him appear before me with his small two-headed hand drum which was shaped like an hourglass. It's shape also reminded me of infinity which represents the endless wheel of time. The music that he played with his hand drum filled the soul of all creatures of Tryamb. It was an indication to the people of Tryamb to shed their negativity at the very moment and exhibit the true nature of their existence. It was a reminder to live life in peace and harmony.

***

I will never forget that day in my life, the day that took Ira far away from me. That day, she appeared before me dressed in gorgeous attire made of silky material. Several beautiful ornaments intricate in nature adorned her from head to toe. The brightest among all the things that adorned her was her smile. As she got closer to me, my lips gently touched her forehead. I took her arm into mine and walked her to a nicely decorated elevation where she joined hands with a young man. I stood there among several people that gathered around that day. They all blessed her for the beautiful journey of life that she is about to partake along with the man standing next to her.

After that day, I started to feel some sort of emptiness in life which I did not know how to overcome. My life started to simply spin again with the wheel of time. Bairav was there all along with his arms crossed watching me get through my tough time. One day, I was absorbed in deep thoughts about my life with Ira. I sat down to write about the best moments of my life.

"I see you writing something these days. What is it my friend?", Bairav asked when he saw me writing.

"It's a story", I said.

"What is the story about?", He asked.

"It's the story of my life with Ira. It's about all the wonderful things I did with Ira in this lifetime of mine", I said.

"If you think this is your destiny, it's not true. You don't know what future holds for you. I hope you have a great time with it!", He said and disappeared.

When I thought my life was taking a turn into a dark and lusterless path, another young angel came to me. She was tiny. Adya was her name. She had her mother’s eyes. Her smile always reminded me of Ira's beautiful smile. She was just like Ira. One day, Adya took my arms into hers and walked me into her wonderland. It was the same little wonderland that I left long back. The one I thought I would never go back to. Adya showed me her little friends. Life repeats all over again, but this time in much more soulful way than before.

I thought Bairav must be behind me, but there was no sign of his existence. He never came back. He probably knew if he did, I would have asked for another lifetime to live with Adya. He left me alone to enjoy the rest of my life just the way I want to with this little angel called granddaughter. Yet, I haven't ceased to ride the chariot behind the wheel of time. There will come a time when I will leave the harness in the hands of Asan who is the savior of life on Tryamb and rejoice the ride behind the everlasting golden wheel of time!

***

 

 


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Kanchana Vinay
(United States)

Kanchana Vinay is a Software Programmer and Writer. She enjoys writing fiction stories. She is working on her debut novel.


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