By Archana Kokroo

Life is nothing but a sequence of transformation,
Some by choice and some by chance.

They raised their hands towards the heaven singing praises and dancing in the rain. The blessed rain was pouring drenching them with its winds soaring high. It had come after the entire year of drought. The soil was dry, earth cracked with zigzag lines, small shrubs sprouting out of it like tombstones. Their fields had been transformed to dust. The crop had been poor and half the village was starving. The households were full of gloom, children looked at their parents with hungry eyes. They all prayed for the miracle but nothing came. They prayed, fasted, made offerings for the monsoon, but of no avail. Gods seemed to have forgotten them. Desperate they all walked to get the blessing of the one on the top of the hill. The Revered One!

There he sat under a tree, shriveled body covered by a flimsy white cloth.  His only shelter a small hut covered with a tarp. He had been there for a few years now and the villagers were used seeing him there. They dropped water, food and some offerings by his side every now and then. He prayed for hours rarely opening his eyes. They knew nothing of him, who he was, where he had come from, but only that he was in deep penance, why, they did not know! But since he had arrived a sense of peace had prevailed.

The villagers started to come to him for his blessings. Whenever he opened his eyes kindness would flow, and when he touched their foreheads with his hand in a gesture blessing, it would comfort them…And now, they needed him. Who better to be their  messenger to the gods, but him. They must be displeased, as the rains refused to come in spite of all efforts. He sat with them hands folded, eyes fixed to the sky mumbling something which they could not understand. Sometimes tears would roll down his cheeks, as if asking for forgiveness.

And then they heard the rumbling. They looked up and saw a dark cloud in the bright sky. Soon the sky was covered with darkness and it started to sprinkle. They looked up and felt the raindrops on their faces, one at a time the raindrops changed into a shower, bathing them with its grace. From the dry soil rose a petrichor filling their nostrils with welcome smell. Their agony was being washed away! Tears of joy mixed with the rain fell on the soil on which they toiled. They threw themselves on the ground laying prostrate kissing the wet ground, and some stood with their hands folded looked in adoration of him. And he sat smiling, feeling the weight of the past being lifted.

At last a sign of forgiveness and some peace after years of repentance. He had been asking for mercy for his wrongdoings. He had been asking for forgiveness from the ones he had abandoned, the ones he had betrayed, and the ones he had cheated and let down.

He had burnt in heat, froze in cold, shriveled in hunger, and withered in remorse, but he did not find peace. In front of his eyes danced the images of his wife and his son, his old father who he had left penniless after taking all the money and jewelry, even the gold locket from his son’s neck. He cleaned the safe of his employer who trusted him like a son. This all for a woman who gave him the lure of life full of fun! Only to be betrayed by her for someone else .Since then he has been walking the road of shame and guilt. He came to this village empty handed, unfortunate and directionless. Tired from months of walking he sat under that tree to rest. And here he has been since then, asking God for direction!

Which way to go? What direction to take? How to right the wrong? Until today, he had only darkness in his soul, and now he found a light. As if the showers of rain had brought mercy on him, and he found a new courage in himself. He was smiling; in the happiness of the people he felt his happiness! His pain eased, he got answer to his questions. He got up and started walking back in the direction of his home. Amendment will be his repentance.

In every sinner lays the God,
In every God a sin!

Archana Kokroo is a practicing physician serving Bucks County for over a decade. Commitment to patients and dedication to work is her motto. Poetry is her love and writing her passion. A newcomer to the Writers Guild, Archana has for years been weaving stories in her mind and now hopes to bring them to life through her writing. She writes about life experiences, sometimes hers, but mostly of others, spoken through her words.