Story of the Pond Stone By Dr. Satyanarayan Mishra
The stone was falling in the corner of the village pond from the time unknown. It was not the part of the steps into the pond, rather an unused, ignored, residual material fallen from the time when the pond was dug as it appeared. The layer of the stone was quite sloppy and slippery with greenish coating and people coming to bath in the pond was enjoying the beauty of the stone. They used it to rub their legs and sat also on it carefully while bathing.
Narayan pandit loved this stone very much. He was the oldest person of the village. He was coming regularly, taking his bath, praying lord Surya,giving oblations as usual. He sometimes rubbed the surface of the stone to remove the greenish coating so that its original color dazzled. He was a man of love and affection towards nature. No body dared to talk before him as he was an angry veteran of the village.
It was a very fine morning. Golden sun rays were falling all over the trees and plants. Beutiful flowers were bloomed and birds had started their singing. Slow breeze was flowing. The pond was swelling in happiness. People were coming to take their bath. In early morning lot of women and village girls had come before dawn to take their bath. They had rubbed their legs on that old stone, put their clothes and gossiping their personal matters which the stone was hearing. Infact it heard the dialogues, grievances and happy sharing of the past generation of the village to the new one and was a witness of the events around.
Someone was talking the torture of her in laws. Some other was sharing the romance. Some also talked aggressively against some body as it was natural to talk in such situations.
The stone was becoming happy to her the happy moments. Sometimes she was shocked and feeling unhappy when it heard the mishap of the other’s family.
She was whispering in a low voice whether someone heard or not. She advised the newly married, please move carefully. This is samsar. The world. You have to endure whatever comes to you be leaf or stone. This samsar is slippery like my body, my child. Walk carefully.
Sometimes the stone (she) was laughing hearing the joyful moments and waves of happiness spreaded in the form of ripples all over the surface of the pond.
She also cried in disgust when hearing the pains and tortures of the other.
She was a stone, a helpless inert object, could not help anybody.
But she has enough endurance as if hearing all these year after year had made her body a rough and tough.
She was singing the poetry of the stone
“Saw the world around me muddy and watery
Waiting and waiting to see every one hurry
Nobody cares nobody dares
Am a pond stone, be careful, my surface is slippery.
Have felt the warmth of your feet.
Saw the beauty of body, do not retreat
Am a witness all the time
Don’t ignore me, am your friend prime.”
Her language was not understood by anybody.
Still she was singing and singing.
She again sang
“My surface is sleepery there grows the algae
It is just like the world you can’t say god bye
Rather learn to put your foot carefully on me
That will touch you the life how to live with glee.
My life is cursed, as I fall long days here.
Still feel blessed as you are my near.
This village is mine, mine is the pond too
I don’t know what will happen to me, for me what is true.”
As soon as her words were over, there was the shouts of the village youth around him.
They were the village youths all energetic and vibrant. Thy were the reformers who had a dream. They were talking about the modification of the pond and its get up.
Some one was suggesting, let us dry the pond and remove the mud first.
Other was talking. No, no, this is not easy task, let us have the breed of fishes first year. After we earn some profit we will clear the pond next year.
Another was suggesting no no, we have to dig it further and expand its dimension. We will make it full with newly lotus and lily flowers removing all the wastes so that it will be attractive.
The stone felt overwhelmed. At least some change is going to happen around him and no doubt the beauty of the place will be more appealing.
She sang in pleasure
“Days have come where the golden sun will rise
The pond will dance and I too in surprise.
These youths are the real hope of the land.
All olds are no way useful, mind full of sand.”
Happy waves of cheer spreaded all along the surface as the stone sang in such a beautiful voice.
She danced in rejoice silently in tune with the youths and got thrilled.
Now she listened carefully. Some boy was proposing. Let us apply for some govt loan and repair these steps. You know these steps are very dangerous to enter into and responsible for losing the beauty of the pond.
Why not to take into consideration for renovation of the steps first?
Someone suggested. Ok, we will do that...but what about this corner stone?
Another tells...nasty, so old, so sleepery…I do not like it.
Let us remove it first and place it somewhere.
One boy opposed, no no, villagers will oppose us. It is a monument of the past, people will be hostile towards our activity. At the beginning we should not do all such activities.
The stone was horrified to hear all these. What is going to happen to her, where will be she placed, in fact these young blood will no longer like her presence.
She started trembling and wept, her tears mingled with the water of the pond.
She sang in agony
“Nobody here to hear my pain
Alas, my fate is bound in the chain.
Where shall I be hence forth don’t know
Am ugly, unwanted and hindrance to grow”
The youth meeting continued for a long time.
The leader Pratap finally gave the verdict to remove the stone away.
The arranged a water pump to remove the water of the pond.
Waited on the bank of the pond they were eager to see the level of water receding gradually.
The pond was feeling lonely. Its contact with water was no more intact and it was just place on the mud half buried.
Pratap and the friends entered the pond with their tools to dig and remove the stone.
They congregated and forcefully tried to uplift it from its base, but were never successful in their attempt.
Some of them suggested to break her into the pieces and carry away.
In the meantime, the voice of the old man Narayan pandit was heard from back ground.
What are you doing my boys here I have me my space to bath and also leave that stone to rub my legs.
The young boys fumbled. The boy Pratap who was nephew of Narayan Pandit told…no no, uncle, excuse us.
We are modernizing it, we are removing this odd stone.
You will see after a week how beautiful and clean this pond is.
Please cooperate and guide us.”
The old man got furious... what non sense.
Modernization in cost of old memory.
Renovation in cost of past pride.
What you mean odd…that is the matter of pride for me. Do you know, when king established the village temple and started digging this pond, this stone was also brought to this village and could not be processed. It bears the proud memory of our past villagers and landscape.
If you are so rigid to remove it, then first remove me, beat me or kill me. I will not let it thrown. The old man rushed toward his nephew and slapped on his cheeks...go away from this place, leave me with my stone. She sat there embracing the stone.
The horrified boys started escaping one after other.
It was the struggle between old and new generation. The stone was regaining the spirit to survive again.
As if she had turned to Ahalya by touching the steps of the pandit.
About the Author
Dr. Satyanarayan Mishra is a science post-graduate and a PhD holder from Utkal University. His passion is literature. He has composed a lot of short poems, stories, and essays published in daily newspapers. He is a lover of Odisha culture and tradition. This story depicts the attitude of some so called modern youths and the determination of a person to honor and preserve the past.