The Last Star
by Subhadeep Bandyopadhyay
The order finally came. If you want to retain your place in the court of jewels you have to count the number of stars in the heaven. Everyone knows it is humanly impossible to do so. The words clearly stated that if you can’t then the place will be ceremoniously granted to your most hated adversary.
For years I have performed my duty with all dedication, truth and valour but now the cacophony was making me deaf....can you rise above your limitation or fade away in the sands of time? Tears came out as I tried to contemplate the situation I was in. I saw the flying birds, the buildings, trams, buses as I somewhat impatiently waited for the night.
My mother brought the food that she had cooked for me and requested me to sleep early switching off the lights. Perhaps my favorite team was playing the IPL. Perhaps the whole world was cheering them in the stadium and here I was waiting for the night to descend. Sweat started tinkling down from my forehead to the nostrils. It was 42 degrees in Kolkata in the month of April. Some people have the luxury of AC in their homes and offices and some people fight it out, the heat in the open. My mind was getting over crowded thinking about this discrimination.
It was night. My favorite team had lost the match. Fans had left the stadium. The city was trying to revive after the flyover collapse and the devastating tremors and I had the job in hand. "Do your duty or you’ll be stripped of your dream," the writing was on the wall.
I took a chair and reached the terrace from
where I could see the sky. It was a full moon night and the stars were shining in the sky as if they were preparing themselves for the grand wedding. Still I was at bay. I was always weak in Mathematics. And I was the only earning member of the family.
Perhaps in my deep thoughts I closed my eyes and in my trance I reached the skies. As I tried to go past stars, comets, planets, though counting the stars with my limited intellect, I came near a small star perhaps number 89 if I had counted correctly. And I found it weeping. I asked the reason for doing so. I was shown the darkness and its fear to get swallowed in the same.
I asked if I stay with you can you fight the darkness better.
But see I have no weapons, no strategy, and no resources.
You have self belief right then why you fear? , I said.
Darkness is temporary, light is permanent. We all fight darkness with our limitations in our own way. We don’t win every time but we rise like a phoenix from the darkness and this is our destiny.
Slowly we started fighting the darkness, me and the star. And the night passed from one mountain to the other. As it was going to be morning I requested the star to take me back to the earth. The story should have ended here as per the title but it didn’t.
In the morning newspaper laurels of a Bangalore boy clearing a tough examination was published. And I remained a thread between the past and present. Future is as you make it. Thanks a lot “STAR”. Cheers! ***