The Pilgrimage, by Kriti Srivastava

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This article has been submitted by Kriti Srivastava for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.

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As the date for the result approached, he became increasingly agitated. He was becoming more aggrieved and tense by the minute. He had to win this time. He had neither a back-up plan nor a get-away option. He lay on his crumpled bed sheet on the ground and pondered over every single word she had uttered before she had left him alone to fight his own battles. But with her departure the battle had changed its purpose. She had told him that they had everything a happy couple needs except money. And that is what is took her away from him. And since that day like a pilgrim to the shrine, he walked to the Lottery Shop. Every day.

He was a man of average height, very skinny and lean of build. He never concerned himself about food or looks. Over the years his eyes had sunk deep into his eye sockets. His bushy eyebrows and moustache made him look like a serious man who had been tricked by the master of Fate into a dungeon of darkness. A dungeon where the dark shadows cast their spells engulfing all the happiness of life. The dungeon where the clocks of fate change forever.

He would get up in the morning, freshen up and just like the devoted pilgrim who journeys towards the shrine, he would walk miles to reach the place of immense happiness. When somebody asked him how far the lottery shop was, he answered that he didn’t know and that he just walked till the place where his feet would start bleeding. And that’s how he knew he had arrived. He would see people pushing and pulling each other’s kurta to stand in the line, praying for good fortune, trying to charm their luck through devotion. And every day, he would leave bruised and injured. Sometimes it was his eyes or his shoulders but every time he looked at his bruises, he felt proud; for every drop of blood and every bruise suffered was a tribute to his beloved wife. He had sold every little article in his house for once he got rich, everything would be returned to its former state of glory. But this time, when he had desperately searched for something to be sold off, he hadn’t found anything. He was searching like a man alone in the empty wastelands, ravished by drought with nothing to drink. Fear in his eyes and beads of perspiration rolling down his face, he searched for something that would be enough to buy one last ticket; the ticket to eternity and a glorious future. And perhaps then his wife would forgive him for the one thing he couldn’t give her. Or maybe then he could forgive himself.

He had never believed in the role of fate or destiny in helping him reach his goals. But with this last ticket he was ready to believe in every sign, in every omen, and every prompting he received from Fate. When his eyes finally fell upon the huge dump of alcohol bottles that was no more than just garbage, he thanked all the Lords and ran to gather all the bottles that could be resold.

And once again, for the last time, he started his walk to his shrine. And when his feet were bloody again, he stopped and looked around and found his place of worship. Weren’t temples meant to provide one reason for salvation and immense hope for happiness? And that his temple surely did. Now as the announcement for the results of the lottery loomed ahead, he became more anxious than ever. For this last ray of hope, this last gateway was yet to unfold and make him the happiest man alive.

Luck had always been a spineless support to him. Whenever he expected his reward for all the hard work he had done, luck would always have different plans for him. And somewhere down the line his excitement to be forgiven, to be free, had eclipsed all sense and rational thought and he had forgotten how luckless his thirty-five years of existence had been. Unlike his previous defeats he waited for the reward of his upcoming glory as he stood for the last time with broad shoulders and smug face.

But yet again, the Fates showed him down. Now, he knew he was stuck in the swirls of a raging storm.

For  reality was no longer pleasant,

For defeated he was, and stuck in a crescent.

For he had used all his strength and will to fight,

For now his future was filled with plight.

For the fighter and the revolutionary inside had died,

For all the difficult things and rough pages of his life had allied.

For him, his reality left him that day,

For every ray of hope had flickered away.

For as of now he was just a structure of bone,

For his heart and soul had turned into stone.

For now he lies on his bed sheet alone,

For his future continues to stay unknown. 

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Kriti Srivastava is an eighteen-year-old law school aspirant. She describes herself as a fellow human who happens to be an avid reader and writer (mostly of poetry; as she loves pouring her amorphous thoughts out in rhythm). She is inquisitive about films and television. Although she is an outgoing extrovert, nothing creates sense in her like a pen and paper.

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