aaji - my grandmother

by suyash bhardwaj


“Utinam Ne Illum Numquam Conspexissem”

If only I had never seen him

Once upon a time, there lived a man and a woman who were deeply in love with each other. They had nothing but themselves. Despite all the difficulties, they always cared for each other. The devil did not like this. He wanted to demonstrate to God that his children were as ugly as the devil full of hatred. He needs to separate them. He did everything he could to cause problems in their lives, but all his efforts were in futility. The devil was frustrated by the devotion and love the man and woman had for each other. He could not accept that, so he condemned the man and woman to a life of oblivion. The devil appeared in front of the man and the woman and cursed them. He said they will forget about each other after seven days when a falling star will appear on the horizon. The devil disappeared believing to have won. The man and the woman were extremely terrified. They could not live without each other. The man and the woman decided to live out the remaining days they had together and kill themselves on the day the falling star appeared. The man and the woman stabbed each other with a knife piercing through their heart. They died with a smile. The devil lost. The Gods watched. The capacity of love was innocently epitomized by the man and the woman. This moved the Gods and blessed the two innocent souls that the curse of oblivion will be broken the minute they say their names to each other on the day the falling star reappears. The souls are in search of each other and will finally reunite on the day the falling star reappears. The innocent devotion of the man and woman towards each other conquered the spite of the devil.


The school always bored Shanaya but this story in the language lesson lit her curiosity. The story intrigued her. 


Shanaya spent most of her time pondering the circumstance she now finds herself into.


She knows not what to make out of what is happening to her. She knows not what to do now. She knows not why only she can see the ghost of the village. She knew only one thing.

She had now been to the place numerous times. Her dreams are no more a figment of imagination but a portal to a different reality.


She knows not why this is happening. She knows not how to break free from this curse. She knows not what the truth is behind the ghost of the village. She knew only one thing.

The boy with the blue eyes always waited for her to arrive. Shanaya shared a lot of things about herself, the village, what the world is outside, what the world feels like and about the comet. “This is a special year. In a week’s time from today, a comet is about to pass our planet. Many believe it to be a harbinger of evil and the collision will destroy our planet but that has not deterred people from celebrating the annual prayer in our village temple. They keep it to be safe from you. The annual prayer has become more of entertainment for the villagers than to really safeguard the village from you. What do they know all their prayers are in vain and they need not be afraid of you.” laughed Shanaya.


“It is difficult to talk without a name. What should I call you?”


The boy looked towards the falling rock on the horizon. “The only memory I have is of that falling rock in a clear night sky. That was the only thing I had to hold to which can prove that I once had a life. Now there are two.” he turned his gaze from the horizon to look at her. Shanaya blushed.


She knows not why she did not want this meeting to end. She knows not why does she feel what she feels for the boy. She knows not why she likes the blue in his eyes. She knew only one thing.

“What did she know Aaji?” asked Shumi impatiently.

“She knew only one thing. A premonition of the inevitable. An emotion she experienced for the first time. It was there like standing on top of a narrow valley and a stream running through it slowly pushing her eventually for her to fall and totally become one with the cascade. A premonition of the inevitable happens when you finally hit the surface breaking the temporary trance of your fall and the water suffocates you awakening you from your dream. A premonition of the inevitable. She knew only one thing that she had to do.”

“To break the curse of oblivion, she had to know only one thing,” thought Shanaya.

There was a long pause as Aaji watched Shumi.

“His Name,” said Shumi as she slowly breathes out warm air.


“Alis Propriis Volat”

She flies with her own wings

Shanaya narrated the story about the man, the woman and the devil to the boy. He calmly listened to the story.

“Do you believe I can escape from this dreamland once I know what my name is?” inquired the boy. Shanaya nodded.

“That is just one part of the equation. The story mentions the falling star. Do you see the coincidence?” as she points towards the falling rock in the horizon. The comet is about to pass the Earth for the first time in 75 years. The falling star must be the reference to this comet. It all connects.

“How do we find out my name?” asked the Boy. It is the major predicament for Shanaya.

“I think we should begin from your house. We might discover something useful over there. This place is a replica of the reality I live in. The real house is in a dilapidated state, but I assume the house here must be intact.” The boy looked at her with admiration. The boy stated that she was right although she will find nothing of any use.

“Why do you say that?” asked Shanaya.

“You can take a look and decide for yourself.”

“Let’s go to your house”. Shanaya stood up and marched towards the house. She was about to move downhill when the boy called out for her. “Why are you walking?” The question surprised her. “We have to go downhill to reach your house. How else are we supposed to reach there?”

The boy started to laugh. “There is yet one thing you do not know about this place.” The boy moved towards and grasped her hand. Shanaya was caught off-guard. She did not know what to do. Her heart skipped a beat. The cold sensation of his hands ran throughout her body. The boy took her to the peak of the mountain.

“We can always fly.” as he took a run and jumped off the peak of the mountain along with Shanaya. She did not expect this. She shut her eyes in shock and waited for the fall off the mountain. She tightly clenched the boy's arm. After a moment, a soft voice broke her strain. “You can open your eyes. You are not falling.” Shanaya opened her eyes. She found herself floating in midair. The boy was right. “This place is not so bad after all,” said the boy. Shanaya could not believe that she can actually fly. “It takes a little time to get used to it. All you have to do is to think about the direction in which you want to move.” Before the boy could complete his instructions, Shanaya zoomed past him. She flew like a free bird. She could not believe her eyes. The beautiful landscape of the village became sublime. She could clearly see the reflection of the sky in the lake. She glided across the houses, the mountains and the forests. She soared high towards the falling rock but suddenly she stopped. “That is as far as you can go,” said the boy as he came from behind her. “You are cruel to hide the fact that we can actually fly.” Shanaya glared.

“Well, there was never a moment before until know” the boy blushed. She resisted the feeling of affection rushing in her heart for him. These emotions were obscure to her until this moment. All her confusions and apprehensions vanished. She was sure of this feeling. This is the feeling the devil despised. This is the feeling the God's nurture. This is the feeling the man and the woman cherished. The dying light of the sun created a glorious silhouette of the ghost boy and the young girl.