A cup of tea


Ashima looked up at the moon shining in the dark black sky and tears started to roll down her cheeks again. She missed Varun.

Varun and Ashima were in love with each other since three years and wanted to get married. Since they both belonged to different castes and cultures, their families were against their relationship.  Ashima and Varun left no stone unturned  to convince their respective families in every possible way. But they couldn’t succeed. They could run away with each other, but they did not want to. At last they were left with no other option but to get separated.

Every night Ashima would keep waiting for his call, and every night Varun would keep staring at her number. Life became difficult for both of them. She couldn’t eat, sleep or work properly. She felt difficult to survive her life without him.

That night too, Ashima was waiting for Varun’s call, in the hope of listening to his voice. But he did not call. Ashima’s cheeks were wet with her tears. She checked the time. The clock was about to strike 4 a.m. After an hour, she unlocked the door and moved out of the house. She kept walking the lonely streets, unmindfully, lost in her own thoughts. After walking some distance, her eyes suddenly fell on a girl, who was selling tea by the roadside. Every day, Ashima could see the girl selling tea at the same place with a kid by her side. The girl was young, fair and extremely beautiful. Ashima went up to the tea stall and asked for a cup of tea, for the first time. The girl smiled at her and started preparing tea.

‘What is your name?’ Ashima asked.

‘Drishti.’ Came the reply.

‘Oh. And whose kid is this? Almost every day I see him with you.’

‘He is my son, Ashish.’ Replied the girl and smiled.

Ashima was shocked to hear the reply. The girl barely seemed 22 years old.

‘Your son? Err… What is your age? You look too young.’ Said Ashima.

‘I am 21 years old.’

Ashima kept staring at her, shocked. The girl looked at Ashima and smiled again.

‘I was married off by my parents at a very young age. I was only sixteen then. My husband was ten years older to me. When I was six months pregnant, he left us. He was in love with another girl.’

‘What? But where did he go?’ Asked Ashima, who was taken aback to hear Drishti’s story.

‘I don’t know. He just disappeared. May be he ran away with the girl he was in love with. He did not have the guts to confess it in front of his parents and so he got married to me against his wish. But even after our marriage, he was in touch with her. My in-laws blamed me for his sudden disappearance and started taunting and abusing me. So I left my in-law’s house and I went to my parent’s home. After a month, I  delivered my baby there. My parents were helpless about my situation. I hail from a financially weak family. So my parents even couldn’t afford to bear my child’s expenses. So, I decided to earn myself.’  Drishti said handed a cup of hot tea to Ashima.

How could she manage to smile after going through so much?

‘How old is he?’ Ashima asked.

‘Three years old. I want my son to get the best education. So I am working really hard for him.’

Life is not that easy for anyone, I guess. Ashima thought.

‘You are very brave. And one day you will shine, Drishti.’ Ashima said and smiled.