Month: July 2010

The Beauty of Nature

The Beauty of Nature

In the evening, as I sit in my balcony, I feel the gentle breeze caress my face. Even if the weather is not pleasant, I revel in listening to the birds as they sing cheerfully. Nature gives this source of entertainment free, not only to me, but to everyone. Are we really aware of the infinite beauty of nature? Hellen Keller, a person, whose sight was impaired has said, “To me, a lush carpet of spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”

Each one of us could take a healthy break of at least five minutes every day, to perceive the beauty of nature around us, which is so simple and undemanding. I feel that nature has given us innumerable beauties. We just have to be conscious enough to be aware of them.

The Silver Locket

As I was walking along the beach one morning, I saw something glistening in the distance. I could not hold my curiosity and started walking towards the shimmering object, which I felt could be a stone or a seashell.  The cool air blew into my face, refreshing my nerves.  Coming closer to it, I discerned that it was actually a beautiful locket.  Before it could be washed away into the ocean, I picked it up. It was indeed beautiful, a silver locket in the shape of a heart, quite heavy. I looked around to see if anyone was searching for a lost object. My eyes fell upon a figure not far away. I hurried towards it, with the locket grasped firmly in my hand. I saw that it was a girl. I put my hand on her shoulder and she stopped. Turning abruptly, she faced me with an inquiring look on her face. “Yes?” she asked. “Is this yours?” I inquired, showing her the locket in my palm. A confused look came upon her face and she answered, “Yes, where did you get it?” “It was lying upon the sand. Maybe you dropped it accidentally,” I responded. As she took it from me, I could not help but comment, “It’s really lovely.”

Tears welled into her eyes and she looked away. “Are you alright?” I asked. She sighed sorrowfully and answered, “This locket holds many precious memories which I wanted to let go of, but since you just returned this locket to me, it seems my fate is to bear them, all my life.”

“You’re welcome to confide in me your grievances. It could help to reduce your sorrow,” I suggested tentatively, not wanting to leave her alone, in such a depressed state. I led her to a bench. She handed me the locket and told me to open it. As I opened it, I found myself looking at a happier version of the girl with another one. “That’s my friend Lisa and I’m Elena,” she told me, satisfying the query in my mind about the identification of the other girl.

She continued, “We both were really close, just like sisters, until one day. On that fateful day, she had gone shopping with her family. I refused to accompany her, for we had had a fight. As I switched on the television, I saw that there had been a bomb blast in the same market where she had gone shopping. I panicked, my parents inquired and searched and it was found that she and her parents….” I did not need her to finish her sentence and hugged her affectionately.

Fighting back her tears, she said, “Now, I work voluntarily for an anti-terrorist squad, for I know what it is to lose someone so dear to you. Thousands of people die due to these bomb blasts. I want to lend a hand in establishing peace.” She got up and shaking my hand in farewell, she walked away, disappearing into the horizon.

An Unforgivable Mistake

The cool breeze from the sea blew on my face as I stood on the platform of the speeding boat with my best friend, Eliza. It was her birthday that day and we were aboard the boat, ready for an adventurous tour of the beach. Like every father who loves his daughter, Eliza’s father had gifted her the object that she had craved for during her childhood, her own blue-painted speeding boat.

She waved her parents good-bye and we sat down, ready for the expedition. Eliza was going to take her turn first, by controlling the boat herself. Being of a fun-loving nature, she drove it on the cool, blue waters with zest. “Whoppee!” she cried out in excitement and I giggled at her act. From the surface blew up in all directions, spraying us with water. It reminded me of the water gun-fights that we used to have.

After about thirty minutes, she handed the boat in my control and she said as she did, “This is the best birthday I’ve ever had and I think myself the luckiest girl to have a friend like you!” I hugged her and replied, “I share your feelings, Eliza.” As I took control of the boat, little did I realize that it would be the last time I had talked to Eliza.

I drove the efficient boat slowly and it created ripples on the surface of the water. Eliza was in the mood for more fun and said, “C’mon, faster!” I did likewise and was soon enjoying the feeling of freedom that I sensed as I looked up into the blue sky. My thoughts were interrupted by a startled scream from Eliza, but it was too late. Before I could look ahead, another speeding boat crashed into ours. Eliza toppled over and went straight into the water, splashing it all around. I struggled to pull her out.

The next few moments went past by as if in a dream. Rescue came and Eliza was safely brought out, but the accident and such an effect that its impact will remain in my mind for the rest of my life. Shortly after the incident, Eliza was taken to the hospital. She did not regain consciousness for three weeks. It was devastating for me. Her parents no longer allowed our friendship to continue and I still try to live on with the memory in my mind and its injury on my heart. It was indeed an unforgivable mistake.

Broken Trust

The evening, indeed, held a very lovely aura, with a clear blue sky, a soft breeze blowing and the chirping of birds, which would have seemed to any ordinary person as sweet as a rose but for me, even such an evening could not heal the painful memories which had deeply damaged the peace of my soul.

Thinking of a solution to deviate my thoughts from those infectious memories, I went towards my bedroom. As I entered the room, I saw the thing which I hated the most. It was my secret diary. When I had started writing in that book, I would never have guessed how it would have ruined my life like a bomb. The diary was my confidante and I trusted it more than anyone in this world. However, there was a person in this world in whom, too, I confided in. It was my best friend, Elena. She was my sole advisor and sometimes, I used to feel guilty of confiding more in my secret diary than in Elena.

However, as the saying goes, life can change in a second, and so did mine. My best friend and I used to think that our friendship would be as endless as the universe. However busy we would be, we would always keep in contact. One unlucky day, my friend chanced upon finding my diary in my backpack. During times when my emotions were uncontrollable, I used to write in it and contained some negative opinions that I had of my friend. Upon reading the remarks that I had made about her, she was under a state of shock. I tried to make her understand that those remarks were not truly what I thought of her. Not ready to accept my clarifications, she said, “This is maybe the last time that I’m talking to you. Goodbye, for I can’t really trust you anymore.” I was completely devastated and it was difficult to persuade her.

One day, she stopped coming to school and nervous, I called at her house. Her mother replied that they were leaving the next day for England. It was unbelievable. The thought that she would never forgive me forced me to think of suicide. Even when I arrived at her house, she said sadly, “We can never establish the same friendship that we had. Thanks for coming up to say goodbye, anyways. Take care.” I was speechless and have never been able to recover from the trauma. Even when I e-mail her, no reply ever comes back. Since then, I feel as solitary as a tomb.

The Miraculous Escape

Charlotte quietly forced herself to swallow the gruel. It was the only meal of the day, and none of the inmates could afford to be deprived of it. Charlotte had been brought with her mother the slave labour concentration camp just one day earlier. The cruel labour, poor sanitation, sick people was something which Charlotte had not even imagined. Already, their hands were bruised with the heavy loads they had to carry.

“I have to leave this place. I don’t want my mother to die in such a merciless place.” Charlotte whispered to her friend, Beth, as they shifted the arms and ammunition in wheel carts to the ware houses for repair. “Are you in your senses, Charlotte? You think you could escape so easily. It’s not a piece of cake. It is impossible! Firstly, there is no way out from here. The whole place is surrounded by watch towers and barbed wires. We are in the middle of a dense forest. Secondly, even if you do find a way out, since you’ve been telling me what a genius you were at school, I’m completely sure you’ll be caught red-handed. We are being monitored all the time. Thirdly, when you’ll come clean and relate to your mother the whole plan of escaping, she will be worried sick. You don’t have even a penny to your name. It won’t even benefit you in the long run. What will you and your mother do even if you manage to get out of this sickly camp?” Beth paused as fighter planes zoomed overhead and both the girls covered their ears due to the noise. “Beth, freedom is what I crave for. I believe that God helps those who help themselves. Nobody until now has even tried to do this task that I am thinking of. Even if I do get caught, I know I’ll be tortured to death but at least I won’t have the guilt inside me that I did not try to do something to save my mother and myself. I believe that I’ll die a happy person, who has attempted to acquire freedom. I’m completely sure, that with determination, I’ll be able to accomplish this mission. When I grow up, I’ll certainly work for the establishment of peace.” Finishing her speech, eleven-year-old Charlotte went off to her mother and turned a deaf ear to Beth’s continuous protest.

The next day, the director of the concentration camp was holding an assembly. All the guards from the watch-towers descended to hear. The inmates were supposed to sit under the scorching heat of the sun on the hot sand and listen without a word. The guards squatted under the shade of a ware house.  Charlotte had convinced her mother to agree to her plan. Her mother was still unsure. She had said, “We will be in hot water, my dear. Still, I believe that God will help us so I agree to support you.” Hearing this, Charlotte had hugged her mother and cried.

They sat at the edge of the gathering and as the director sat down to have a glass of water and shout at the sleeping guards to wake up, they took the chance to slip away, unnoticed by the guards. Lying close to the ground, they crawled painfully towards the barbed wires. Reaching the fence, Charlotte and her mother began to scrap away at the hard ground beneath the wires with metal pieces they had managed to steal from the ware house. Soon, a small pit had formed, lowering the ground level beneath the wires. Charlotte was on tender hooks as they were digging out the pit. Her mother clasped her hand and gestured to Charlotte to go first. Charlotte lay flat on the ground and squirmed underneath the wires. The pit gave more space to squirm through. Soon, she had come out on the other side. Her mother followed her and Charlotte kept pulling her to help her out. Both of them knew that there was no time to celebrate. They ran like the wind through the trees. It was of no concern that their hands were getting scratched. They stumbled but kept running. “Stop, my dear, stop. I think the coast is clear now.” Charlotte’s mother said as she hugged her and both of them cried uncontrollably. They sat down, panting. A squirrel looked down quizzically and Charlotte smiled at it. While holding her mother’s hand, she admired the beauty of nature and silently thanked God, praying for the others who were suffering. It felt as if she was in seventh heaven.