Short Story

Nani bought a brass vessel from the Ochira Festival Ground. The vessel was priced four and half rupees but she bargained and got it at three rupees and three quarters. She was indeed proud of her possession and was happily returning home carrying the vessel on her head.

On her way home she saw Kalyani making coir yarn. Nani pretended not to have seen her.
“Oh! You bought it at Ochira?” Shouted Kalyani.
“Yah” replied Nani apparently not liking the question.
“What is the cost?” Kalyani enquired.
“I got it free” Nani replied sarcastically.
“Was the vendor your father to have given it free” Kalyani quipped.
There were some heated arguments. Kalyani was offended when Nani said that she couldn’t even dream of buying such a brass vessel.

Kalyani’s husband Gopalan was employed in Ceylon. He gave up his job and returned home. Gopalan soon exhausted all the savings he had. Every day he used to take a chakram from Kalyani to meet his personal expenses. He does not earn anything. But Kalyani is hard working. Infact she runs the family now. But to day Kalyani’s feelings were hurt by Nani’s words. Kalyani pledged upon God that at the next festival she would buy a brass vessel.

From the cost of the coir she sold, Kalyani saved two and a half chakram and bought a hen. It was a tough task taking care of it. Kalyani was happy when it laid the first egg. When she got about ten eggs she made them hatch. Kalyanis happiness knew no bounds. She became more alert protecting all the birds. In due time the birds grew up and started laying eggs. Kalyani dreamt of selling a number of eggs and making enough money and then buying a brass vessel and walking in front of Nani with the vessel on her head.

As Kalyani had expected the birds grew up and started laying eggs. Kalyani carefully saved the money with Madhavi, for she knew if she kept the money with herself, Gopalan will take it. Kalyani’s savings were growing steadily and that made her happy to think that she would be able to fulfill her pledge at the coming Ochira Festival,

One day Gopalan fell ill. Kalyani had no other go than to withdraw some money from her savings for Gopalan’s treatment. But Gopalan’s condition deteriorated and Kalyani had to go in for better treatment. She had to draw more money from her savings. Kalyani became disillusioned and sad she wondered whether she could fulfill her pledge. But she loved Gopalan. She remembered the days when Gopalan had looked after her well. He is a loving husband though he is not able to earn himself now.

Kalyani decided to sell the birds. She got sixty three and a half chakrams. Gopalan’s treatment continued. He started showing improvement. Kalyani’s head spinned as she thought about her monetary condition. Tears filled her eyes. Gopalan was now able to get up and move about.

It was Ochira Festival again. Madhavi called at “Kalyani, we are going”. Kalyani saw Nani also on her way. Kalyani’s eyes filled with tears. She took another pledge upon God that at the next Ochira Festival…

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