Bought from a hardware shop in the company of a coiled barbed wire, I was happily ensconced in a box choc-full of my siblings. Perhaps the box was not sturdy enough to hold me on for long. Thanks to the lazy hands that packed the box, carelessly. I fell on the road from the smelly hold of the person who bought me from that shop.
My brethren met their destined fate and got affixed on sundry furniture. A chosen few got better destinations, some were pierced on walls to hang paintings cheap or expensive as per chance’s diktat.
I got embedded on tar after my great fall. I had to endure daily trampling and crushing by a plethora of vehicles-big & small. Walkers with designer shoes or dainty sandals walked over me. Some poor souls mashed me, bare foot too. I had to bear the ignominy of drenching in the alcoholic urine of many an inebriated drunkard.
Life could be such a stink I had not imagined, particularly considering my pedigree. I was derived from the finest iron ore streak in the world. But origins don’t decide the final outcome in life. There were sunny days that scorched me hot or incessant rainy days that flooded me in their torrential downpour. Clattering cold of winters - creaked my weary bones. But I survived.
I sulked in self-pity for years. Gradually, due to the wear of traffic I got a sheen becoming of an overused metal. My edges were well rounded now and my tail tip blunted to a plateau. I had now, reconciled with my destiny.
Suddenly one day, I got a breath of fragrant roses in the air. Someone was approaching me. The whiff grew into a strong aroma as I saw a beautiful girl approach. She had the beauty of a fairy and innocence of a child. I lost myself to her charms. Softly her left foot pressed on me as she went ahead. But that moment was “pure joy” to me. I felt blessed. I waited for her return. Moments passed but no sign of her. Waiting for her made me cringe. I wanted to jump out and go find her. But the tar around me was to too sticky to allow me any movement.
Grappling with my surroundings I sensed the waft of rosy smell again. I relaxed, she came back and I saw her milky feet about to land on me. She lingered a moment too long and then moved on.
She started coming my way, every evening. Soon, it became a matter of routine. Her’s was the evening walk on the same route and mine was feeling her movement upon me. Some days she missed me by a yard or two but it did not matter as I could watch her longer. I knew she was not even aware of my presence. Only I had the solace of watching her and admiring her. One day she was looking very happy and while crossing over me, I could hear her speak on the mobile that she had cleared some exam. I felt thrilled by her joy and felt happy for her. Sometime back she looked sad while she came by. Maybe someone had broken her heart. Some… boyfriend. I did not like the thought. Why is there a need for a boyfriend? If at all she has one, how on earth could that jerk break her heart? Heartless brute, is all I said to myself. I prayed to God to make her happy again. The next day my prayers were answered. She was her same usual smiling self. I thanked God. Our relationship continued.
It went on for as long as I can remember. I was happy - as happy can be. But then one day it happened. She did not come. A day passed. Two more days went by. No sign of her. No scent in the breeze. Maybe she was not well or she had changed her abode. The afterthought made me panic. No, she cannot leave me like this. I twisted and turned for days but still no sighting. I kept churning against the tarry walls but could barely move.
I longed for some rag picker to wean me out and take me away. That way I would have a chance to escape and try to find her. I even envisioned some road cutting vehicle or earth mover rummage the entire road and free me. But no such luck. It was a lonely evening that fateful day when a water tanker swerved to a halt right over me. I felt an unbearable pain and was pushed hard into the road. I cried not in pain but on my fate of further darkness, and drowned captivity. But as they say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Providence intervened. The tanker started to moved sharply with brute force, dragging me along and almost out of the tarry pit. It braked and abruptly moved straight, leaving me behind. The sudden braking caused a huge splash of water to tornado out and hit the ground. The current swept me away furiously. I was out of the rut. The water rolled me aside onto the side and further away into the bushy thicket, nearby. I was elated to find my freedom. I regained my composure post the endured turbulence.
As I relaxed, I could feel a strong stench coming from deep inside the bush. I crept ahead and lunged on the leaves. In this hustle-bustle, one stem snapped and the other flapped, catapulting me high and volleyed me at the epicenter of the thicket. I landed head over heels onto the ground and toppled a couple of times but finally settled. I felt that though the fall was violent the landing was far too soft. I had landed on something smooth. I could feel the queasy sickening stench grow unbearable now. I looked here and there and then I froze…. There, I was peering into the dead face of my beloved.