Tuesday, 5 June 2018

I see...


The tinkling of bells of her anklets was audible much before she could reach the Father's office. Father Francis had been removing his glasses and keeping it at his desk after a tiresome day. While he was still rubbing his eyes, he sensed from a distance that little Shubhra is around. Even before turning back he guessed that it was her.

"May I come in Father?", said charming Shrubhra excitedly.

Father Francis' office was a big room. His vintage desk was towards the right corner behind which were three many wooden cupboards with transparent doors, queued next to each other. Piles of documents and files were locked up in there. The desk was almost empty after his day of work that involved calculation of funds for the orphanage, records of new children joining them, grocery, stationery, staff records etc. The other corner of the room had a piano, playing which was his favorite past time along with a rocking chair.

"Yes, my child. What is bothering you?", smiled and said Father Francis.

"Father, what is the meaning of my name? Everyone in the class kept asking today?", She uttered heftily.

Father laughed, "why is that so urgent, dear. I will answer this some other day? I am tired."

"But you said you will answer all our questions any time we ask." Shubhra looked down and replied sadly.

While she was about to return, Father Francis walked towards her, stopped her, held her little hand and carefully sat her on the rocking chair.

"Shrubra means white, my child" replied father politely.

The corridors were quiet and unruffled at this time. It was the time when children would have finished their "Thank you God" prayer and retired to slumber. Only a few lights in the corridor were lit up. The ticking of the giant clock in Father Francis' office was clearly audible.

After a pause, Shubhra continued, "What is white? Something yummy, or something that smelled good, or something as soft as the Christmas cake, or beautiful music like that of your piano." Her brows rising up and down while she asked excitedly.

Father hesitantly answered "That's.... that's a color. White is amongst various colors that paint this universe. It is the most pious of them. White is..."

He abruptly stopped and stood worried about her subsequent question.

"What is a color? I know alphabets, words, sentences,... flowers, fragrance, countries... oceans, trees but.... not colors. Did Sister Rosy forget to teach that to our class?" She uttered without a pause, emphasized on all the related topics she learnt in her current grade.

The six year old Shubhra who was blind since birth and an orphan since she was 3 days old. She was a dear child at the St. Mary's Orphanage. She was found at the gate of the orphanage in white clothes and her face was fair as a ball of cotton. Hence, one of the caretakers, fondly called as Shanti Maa, named her Shubhra.

"There is no escape", thought Father.

"Well, I will explain to you what are colors. But promise me you won't ask further.", dictated Francis.

"Okay Father", the curious lad smiled.

"Fine...", sighed Father.

He walked towards the other end of the room, and sat in front of the piano, paused, closed his eyes and started playing a soft tone. With the music playing in background, he recited playfully-

Seven are the colors,
But hundreds are the shades,

Green is for prosperity,
Happiness and spring,

Green are the leaves,
Grass and plants,

Blue is for cheer,
Water everywhere,

Blue are clouds,
Sea and cold ice,

White is serene,
Peace and clean,

White are rice,
Pigeon and teeth,

Yellow is bright,
Energy and sunlight,

Yellow are sunflowers,
Fire and turmeric powder,

Red is stark,
Fear and attention,

Red signals attention,
Danger and blood,

Brown is dull,
Chocolate and coconut,

Brown is wood,
Dirt and mud,

Black is absorber of colors,
No moon night and absence of light

Hair are black,
Bat and cat

Rainbow is beauty,
Earth's lovely bounty,

Rain and light combine,
seven colors at a time,

The arch in the sky,
Pleases every eye.

"And my child, before I bid you good night, remember that the world is full of colors, and I have shown them to you with my eyes. Never be upset of not being able to see. Smile, because you are born, you are loved and your senses are stronger than those with eyes."

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