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VANDANA OKE (Category-Short Story) (Joy of Life | Certificate of Appreciation)

Her happiness and joy knew no bounds. She was married into a respectable family of the village and above all, she knew they were more spiritual and devotional than her own family. Vishakha had a very devout and a religious bent of mind. Even as a young girl, she was always busy reading her grandmother’s holy books and scriptures while the other girls her age were out having fun under the sun. Given a choice, she would have not married and would have gladly stayed single. “Every one should marry to experience the joy of married life and then should bear children to perceive the joy of parenthood once in their lives,” her grandmother would always explain. She would tell Vishakha to go play outside as playing with friends is an important and enjoyable part of the growing years. So Vishakha, besides her studies and playtime, made sure to squeeze in time to read the literary books her grandmother and father read. She admired her grandma for playing a major role in developing her clear linear perspective towards life. And keeping up with these patrimonial virtues, she joyfully performed her duty as a suitable wife and a great daughter in law of the family and took good care of her new household. Amidst the daily hustle bustle, she made time to read the spiritual books and sermons. With each passing year, her family and responsibilities were increasing and so was her deepest interest in meditation and spiritualism. Without compromising her time and attention towards the family members, she was mirthfully raising her four children. She would now wake up even earlier than before, meditate and read the Upanishads. For her, this one hour was the happiest and most elated time of the day and she believed it gave her all the fortitude and strength to keep up with her tiring domestic life.

Folks from the village had started coming to see her to seek help to read and understand various topics related to religious readings. She was slowly becoming their virtuoso and literary Guru. Her proficiency in explaining the religious texts in simple colloquial language and her calm demeanor and composure, because of her years of practicing meditation, made her even more commiserative and compassionate. As time zipped along, her elder two  sons grew up into responsible and mature adults. They both moved out of the village to work in the city for better perspectives. Vishakha experienced an unexplainable joy as she saw them go. She felt her hardwork and dedication had paid off and her allegiance with herself further intensified. Now she got more time to pursue her happiness and she gradually started devoting more time for self contemplation through her meditation techniques. She was getting more involved in the elucidating, reciting and orally explaining the spiritual ideas behind the philosophy of life and scriptures.

People now flocked her house on a regular basis. These interactions gave her immense pleasure and contentment. She had her ever supportive husband and two daughters by her side to help her in her pursuit.  Soon the day arrived when both of her daughters, in succession, were finally married off into decent families.

Vishaka’s exuberance had no limits as she saw her daughters become brides and she reminisced over the words of her grandmother. “May you receive and spread joy in lives around you”, she blessed them with tears of joy in her eyes.

In another few years, she tied the knot of her sons to suitable matches and they were now settled in the city with their befitting jobs.

Vishakha was now free of her worldly responsibilities per say and soon proponent crowds started inviting her for camps to preach and teach her philosophy.  She even started to translate the holy books into the local language for the benefit of her village folks. She was occupied mostly in reading and discoursing various mystical and scriptural pieces. Couple of years down the road, her husband left her side as he passed away of old age. She was now 65 years young, and had myriad spiritual followers. She had become their “Guru Tai”. Her children kept insisting her to come stay with them but she did not want to leave her house and her village and her devotees. “My joy of life lies in my village and my readings and philosophy. I will stay here,” she used to state.  So her children came to visit her regularly as per their schedules.

Some of her wealthy followers made an ashram by extending her house,

where people could now gather in large numbers easily. Some devoted adherents started staying there to take care of their “tai”. She had found her calling and in subsequent years as her health deteriorated with age, she expressed her wish to take samadhi in her very own ashram. And ultimately, her contented blissful soul departed her worldly body and left all her loved ones to rejoice and admire the joys of life through her philosophy and teachings!





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