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Short Story : “Luck Struck! “

Doom was licking all over my face trying to wake me up.

I opened my eyes to see the jet black, furry, one eyed cat with scorched tail, brightly lit in the stream of sun rays coming through the slit of curtains. He was purring impatiently awaiting my gentle “scratch behind his ears” caressing, which has become a routine from the day he became my sole companion in life.

It was a morning like this, sunny and warm, when I took him under my roof. I was shuffling my way through the streets, rushing to the courier office, where I work. At a distance I saw a crowd and just peeked in, seldom knowing the change that it will bring to my life.

A woman with cheeks flushed out of anger, was lashing a litany of unpleasant curses and pouring hot water on a terrified kitten. One look at the kitten and I was appalled. A tiny creature wailing for help covered in the blood gushing out from his left eye which was hit by a stone. I was never very courageous or strong, but in the adrenaline rush of the moment I just took the kitten, leapt on my bicycle and kept on peddling till I was safe out of that dreadful mob with fiery eyes of resentment.

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Shaking the Monday morning blue off, I started getting ready for office. I pinned my name tag on my work uniform eying the reflection of Doom in the mirror drinking milk from his bowl heartily.

My tag says Vikram Singhania, Delivery Agent, Speed Couriers.

A short and sweet description to hide my intriguing past behind my present as a delivery agent, working hard to meet the ends and living a life of loneliness, but for my cat in a one room apartment on the shore of the Ganga River.

Born into an affluent family I could have been just another “born with a golden spoon” guy, the type of which rich socialite ladies would squeeze the cheeks and say “what a chubby chweet baby”; who would go to the top international school, college and be the heart throb of thousands of lovelorn damsels.

As destiny could have it, my life was not to be as plush and nice.

With my mother dying in the labour and my father’s untimely demise in a car accident, it didn’t take long for people to say that it’s too much of a coincidence and point their finger at me. Just like Doom was pointed at for the drought in the village, I was pointed out for every unlucky happening to whomsoever I was related to.

Vicky the unlucky, I was christened.

I took with me the red sweater mother had knitted for me and my father’s watch, the day I walked away from the house I could have called “Home”.

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As I sifted through the lists of deliveries scheduled for me, I noticed an address a long way from the office.  I kept it for the end of day as I can cycle to my home from there, after delivering it.

The work was as mundane as always, looking up streets and building numbers, peddling way through winding lanes, climbing stairs, calling bells , delivering the package and getting the form signed, all with a smile plastered on my face. But the smile came naturally, as I enjoyed my work. I enjoyed the satisfying smile that people give when they receive a parcel on time.

As I sped past the shores of the Ganges, the colors in the background of the saffron robes, the grey stony ledges, the swelling blue river and the setting sun streaking the sky in gold, fled past me.

My mouth opened wide at the majestic bungalow nestled in the sprawling green lawn which seemed to be endless. I checked and rechecked the address and convinced that this is the right place, opened the gates and stepped in feeling excited and scared at the same time.

I stood there feeling eerie as there was no response to the calling bell, though I pressed it twice. After waiting for another five minutes, I turned back, the courier bag tugging at my shoulder.

I almost jumped out of shock, hearing the feeble voice calling me from behind the window that hair sprang up behind my neck. My fear turned to relief seeing the old lady who was by the window side all crouched up.

She called out to me weakly

“Beta, come here. Are you the new home nurse?”

“No, Madam, I am from Speed Couriers, I have a parcel for you from England.”

“Oh, that would be my son.” She said sadly.

Fishing out the package and the receipt from my bag, I was looking eagerly at her stooped figure to open the door. She was gazing at me as if caught up in some thought when I cleared my throat to remind her of my presence.

“Beta, Please take the key from under that Dalia flower pot and open the door, my home nurse left me two days back locking me inside as usual and never came back. “ She said.

I did as she told and opened the door to reveal a pale aged woman with translucent skin and silver hair sitting in a wheel chair. I gave her the package and looked at her uncertainly when she asked me delicately.

“Beta, Can you get me water from the kitchen?”

As I found my way through the large house heading to the kitchen, it dawned on me that the poor woman was confined to the wheel chair for past few days without food and water. I hastily took a pail of water and rushed back to her.

She was gulping away the water with such a relish, that I decided to wheel her to the kitchen where I can get her something to eat. As I was cooking a modest meal of rice and vegetable curry, she was telling me her life story in between mouthfuls of mango that I had sliced for her.

She was born as the only daughter of a rich land lord who married her off to a rich and young business man who settled down after retirement in this bungalow. The couple had three children who were all settled abroad scattered around the globe. After her husband’s demise, she was alone in this huge house and her sons had arranged a home nurse to take care of her.

After having her dinner and tucking her in the bed, I was about to leave, when the women held my hand and said

“Beta, you cared for me like your mother. Please come here again when you have time.”

I was walking back towards my home, pushing the bicycle. Dark grey nimbus clouds were rolling up in sky and somehow it represented the commotion going on inside my mind.

I opened my apartment and Doom was all over me licking, purring and scratching seeing me after such a long time.

The question that gripped my mind had an answer then and there.

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Five Years have passed and it was on a rainy day like this, that my life had changed forever.

That fatal day when I met Dadi for the first time, I was scared that the bad luck I would bring to Dadi, would kill her. I rushed home without looking back. I wanted to escape and crawl back into the cocoon I had made for myself.

But my thoughts and convictions went for a toss as I saw the eager eyes of Doom searching for me and the relish with which he licked my face. In that moment of connection, the veil that clouded my vision lifted and I realized the true meaning of my life.

I was tagged unlucky, but my destiny was to be the luck in some unlucky lives like Doom, Dadi and now the hundreds of people who are benefitting from the charity trust under Dada’s name. I was destined to dispel the darkness from their lives.

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Doom was resting in the lap of Dadi, as I wheeled her towards the lily flowers that bloomed after yesterday’s rain. We sat in the cool shade of the neem tree, watching the kids play wholeheartedly; happy that we could give them a childhood we dreamt of.

Yes, Luck and Bad luck is just probability taken personally.

My life changed from unlucky to lucky the day I realized it

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