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Asajyothi (the Lamp of Hope)

Asajyothi (the Lamp of Hope)

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Published by GRK Murty
GRK Murty, GRK, Asajyothi, Deepam, Short Stories, Pramida, Rama, Sita, Lamp of hope
GRK Murty, GRK, Asajyothi, Deepam, Short Stories, Pramida, Rama, Sita, Lamp of hope

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Published by: GRK Murty on Oct 27, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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1
 Asajyothi
 
(The Lamp of Hope)
GRK Murty
The wick, burning in the
pramida
1
with a steady flame, has quitea long snuff. The glow dimmed. As she nears the lamp to trimthe snuff, she is gripped by fear. The snuff on the wick was like
Sitammavaru
2
 
sitting on the funeral pile. True, if the snuff is
Published in
Bharati 
, June 1949.
1
 
Pramida
An earthen saucer like structure containing oil in which a wick is lighted up to serve as a lamp.
2
 
Sitammavaru
Wife of Lord Rama. In the
Ramayana
, when Sri Rama proclaims his resolution, “Which mandescended from a great family can take back with confidence… a wife who has gone and lived for about a year inanother man’s house?” leaving no room for Sita’s remonstrance, Sita turns to Lakshmana and says, “Build me a pyre,
I pray you. Suspected and cast away by my husband, I cannot, I will not, live any longer. Fire, consuming fire, is the
only remedy for this woe!” and once the
chitaa
(pyre) is made
ready, she walks into it. Modern day writers oftenuse this scene
Sitammavaru sitting on a funeral pile as an incarnation of the spirit of sorrow
to conveymetaphorically all the sorrow in the world in one word.
 
 
2
trimmed, the lamp will glow better. But in that attempt, thelight itself may go off. Greed is a sure way to sorrow! She couldnot trim it. Who is she to trim the snuff? Snuff is the need of thelamp. That would be taken care of by the lamp itself. If it werefelt good to be off from the lamp, the snuff would itself drop.Why to acquire that sin too as though there were not enough instore?She looks for a used matchstick. With it, she pushes up thewick. Like a tender a
maranth’s shoot, the wick leans to one
side. As though angered by it, the lamp makes
chitput chitput
sound. For a second, it appears as almost extinguished. Her heart stops for once. With great anxiety she rushes to her kid.He is of the second month. He is suffering from a heart ailment.His eyelids remained closed for long. Not moving his hands. Noteven folding the leg that was stretched earlier.Light has not extinguished. Nor has the kid in the bed moved.Her eyes are flooded with tears. Life is haunting her like aserpent.Her husband is dead. He died when she conceived this boy. Shethen felt like committing suicide. But she could not ignore thefetus floating in her womb. Whenever she was overtaken by thethought of suicide, the fetus in her womb struggled as thoughgasping for breath. She felt pity for it. It is for this child that shehas given up the attempt to commit suicide. It is for him thatshe has lived.
 Amma
3
calls the daughter, sitting opposite to her on thecot. She fears. Fails to respond.
3
 
 Amma
Mother.
 
 
3
 Amma.
” She is hardly six years old. But will not give off her pursuit half way. Her voice could at last surface out: “What
amma
?”
 
Chittibabu
4
 
is suffering from ailment, yes?” enquires daughter.
 
“Yes, my child,” she sits holding her breath feari
ng what elseshe would ask.
“It would cure
amma
, don’t worry,” says the daughter.
 
She felt vivified. “Will it get cured
amma
?”
 
“Certainly will get cured.”Saying “
ma-amme
5
, she pulls the daughter into her lap. Shehugs her tightly. Overawed by joy, her body shuddered with
 
horripilation. At once, her breasts swell up with milk. Her eyesfill with tears. Blouse wets. Tears overflow.
She anxiously asks her daughter, “Would it
surely cure
amma
?”
 
“Oh! Sure!”
 
Ma-amme?
” Overjoyed, she closes her eyes. Boundaries blur.
Limits melt. Eyelids swamp in tears. Whole world becomes astorehouse of water. In it there appears a banyan leaf. And onit, lies a small child. As she opens her eyes, the child on the bedappears like
Sheshatalpasai
6
to her.
4
 
Chittibabu
Pet way of addressing a young kid in the family.
5
 
Ma-amme
A way of calling a girl child, with overtone of affection.
6
 
Sheshatalpasai 
Lord Krishna lying on the banayan-leaf in a pond.

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