Short story by Dr. Prerna Singla.
Wandering and wandering a little girl 5 or 6 years of age suddenly reached a place unknown to her. She looked around for any sign of life, of people, of someone she may know... lost maybe she was.. and just then she saw a beautiful golden gate. All around the gate were beautiful shrubs with red fragrant flowers. Curiously she approached towards the gate and found something written on the gate in small writing that could be read only by someone reading very closely. It said “The garden of mysteries. Open at your own risk. Once you open it you’ll have to cross it to reach the other side and unravel the mystery. Remember you cannot walk back.”... Curiosity had the little girl exert some force and open that golden gate.
Inside she looked around, it was a mystical place that imparted an awesome feeling she couldn’t describe in words. For a moment she forgot that she had lost her way. The charm of the aura seduced her into walking the sandy path with her little feet. Not for once did she move her eyes away from the eternal beauty of nature that revealed herself to the eyes of this little girl.
Walking and walking with those little footsteps she just then saw another beautiful red flower. It’s magnificence forced her to extend her arm and pluck it before anyone would see. Maybe it should belong to her. She will keep it in her pocket and move on. But just then, out of nowhere a voice like a velvet hissed in her ear; “Don’t pluck the flower.”.. she thought to herself; “I want it.. i want to have it.” .. the voice again said, “It does not matter. Don’t pluck it.” .. a little scared from the invisible voice the girl decides not to pluck it. Maybe someone saw her. Leaving it, with a sad face she continued walking.
A couple of steps away she saw a few birds on a branch of the tree. Their chirping felt like a beautiful melody being played in the garden. The girl was mesmerized by the melody that she heard. It made her smile again. She felt like spending the whole day listening to the chirping of birds. And just then once again an invisible voice said, “walk! .. it does not matter. Leave it and walk.” ..
“I don’t want to. I want to listen to the chirping birds. It is nice. “The girl murmured .. “it does not matter.. walk.” The voice said again. Thinking of it to be someone playing a trick she thinks and then recalls the words written on the door. “You can’t walk back.” .. she couldn’t go back. She decided to move ahead.
Maybe she cannot take anything home. The little girl had so many things going on in her mind. So many questions now popped into her little head and who was that voice?? Although it was beautiful but was overall a scary idea. And just then she saw a little rabbit running and jumping here and there. Wow!! She exclaimed. The girl ran behind the rabbit but couldn’t catch up with its pace and fell off. Hurt! She tried getting up. But it ached. She looked for the rabbit but it was gone. Ohh!! She wounded her leg. Poor girl! Its bleeding. She cries. And just then the voice says again, “ walk! It doesn’t matter.” ..
“don’t you see i’m hurt??? I can’t even get up and you want me to walk” the little girl cried. ...out of nowhere something touched her little hand. And just then a figure seemed to appear. It was transparent as air but having substance as a human form. The girl was confused if that was born out of her mind or was it for real? An invisible lady with wrinkled hands offering help! The invisible voice had a body, a form, an existence she thought. It seemed beautiful and got the girl doubting the sanity of her mind.. “take my hand. c’mon walk. It doesn’t matter.” Looking at the wound the invisible figure exclaimed.
Amazed with the beauty and grace of the old lady the little girl asked her, “Are you for real? Who are you? You’re so magical. I see you like air.” An expression of confusion crawled on her little face. The old lady said nothing at all. The girl said again, “I also want to be magical like you.” .. the innocence of the girl made the old woman smile.. “you’re magical already my dear. You’re magical. In a different way. You’re just not aware of your magic.” Said the old woman. ..
“Will you take me out of this garden?? I am lost.” The girl requested.
“Sure. But for that you need to walk. Simply walk”, the old woman said extending her hand towards the girl. So much of the girl’s fear was gone. She thought she knew who the invisible lady was. Gladly and wanting to move out of the garden she gives her hand into the hands of the old lady. It was so soft to touch as if silk.
Soon they began to walk and talk while enjoying all the little aspects of nature around her but she asked no questions since asking question was in vain. She knew she’ll get no replies. In no time she forgot the old lady had disappeared again and only her voice was accompanying the girl on that path. No matter how much the girl wanted to stay, the voice would never let her stay and ask her to keep moving.
“why didn’t you let me hear the music of birds??” little girl complained restlessly. “listen!! Its not hear, its listen.” .. the voice said correcting the girl. “It is the same thing. Just a different word.” Girl replied. ... “different it is.” The voice replied.
“okay. So why did you not let me LISTEN to the music??” girl asked stubbornly wanting the answer. “You cannot stay here all the time. Don’t you have to cross the garden?” asked the voice.
The girl had no answer to the same while she knew that was no answer for her question. She thought of staying quite. Afterall she wanted to cross the garden.
Wondering this, the little girl kept walking. The talks made her forget the wound and pain of her leg. It was certainly a mysterious garden.
“I am tired. Let’s sit somewhere.” Girl told the voice. Her little feet ached now. She wanted to settle down for some time.
“No! You have to walk. Tiredness doesn’t matter. Walk.” The voice said the same thing all over again.
“Does none of this matter to you??? If no then what matters??”, the girl argued... to this the voice softly answered “ Nothing matters and everything does.” ... it was certainly a mysterious garden. Everything was so mysterious.
After a few more steps the girl felt thirsty. “I am very thirsty. I want something to quench my thirst. Please!! I am thirsty.” Girl requested the voice.
They stopped at once. In no time out of somewhere a pot of water appeared. The girl bent over to drink the water and got surprised to see her reflection in the water.. wrinkles all around her eyes, her face. All her body looked like an old woman. Scared she looked around searching for that mysterious voice. It was all so confusing.
The voice gestured the little girl to look back. Turning around the little girl saw, the flowers she so loved had wilted and many were replaced by new plants. The Chirping birds were long gone... the sandy path had hardened but still had the footprints of the little girl who walked that path.
Something softly touched the wound of the girl asking’ “Does that pain now?? Does it matter now??”
“NO!”, the girl replied realizing how she had forgotten the wound and the pain.
“Do you remember the beautiful things in the garden?? The fragrance?? The happiness you got from the music of chirping birds?? The happiness?? The pleasant feel??”, asked the voice again.
“Yes!”, the girl answered smiling.
“Do you want to go back??”
The girl once again looked at the path she had travelled already. Thinking for a minute she answered, “NO!”.
She felt more graceful than ever, so different. Now she knew why was it the “Garden of mystery”... The mystery had finally unravelled itself... THE MYSTERY OF LIFE!!
she recalled the words of the Voice “Nothing matters and everything does..”.All the while everything in her path mattered to her so so much and now when her journey was complete she knew nothing of that mattered. Nothing she could carry with her till the end, all she had carried was some memories of those times.
She looked back and asked the invisible voice, “When can I see you next??”
The voice replied, .. “I’m within you. I’m the voice that stays by your side always. I’m the voice that will always ask you to keep walking no matter what. The path you just travelled is like the path of life. No matter what! Life keeps moving. You Don’t have Life, You Dont Live Life, YOU ARE The Life. Whatever you do in life, you cannot walk back. Nothing stays the same forever. No one stays FOREVER including you. You have to keep moving. ” And everything vanished in a blink of an eye.
The little girl found herself standing outside the Mystical Garden and now she knew she was on the other side of the park. She knew the Mystical secret now. She was changed, like never before.
Copyright © 2014 by Dr. PRERNA SINGLA. All rights reserved. No part of this write may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Author, except for non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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