May 28 by Sharon Puthur
‘Naina get ready soon; the boy’s family will be here in half an hour.’
My mother bustled about in the room, fussing with my clothes and jewellery.
I acknowledged her with a nod and a smile and then turned back to the mirror.
I saw a calm girl of twenty-five staring back. She looked calm in the reflection,
maybe a little resigned, but calm for sure.
Looks can really be so deceptive.
Today is going to be a day different from the others. My instincts tell me that. The
air is thick with anticipation.
But I am scared. Terribly scared.
Today might be the day when I’ll have to let go of all that I hoped for, all that I
longed for. I’ll have to accept the change sooner or later. The change might even
make me the happiest person on earth. But I am scared. I am scared to change.
Maybe because I didn’t want to let go…
The mark of a fine actress was in maintaining a desired expression for the required
time and that was what we had been trained to do. The slightest alteration in the
expression could change the entire situation. I am a fine actress I thought with a
‘I’ll be so happy once you’re settled down.’ My mother was saying. ‘We’ll be one
big happy family with my grand children around me and you will be happy just
like your sister is happy.’
My face tensed. My smile was fast disappearing and getting replaced by the least
appropriate emotion. I clutched my throat as I felt a lump form and I got up from
the chair. I muttered something, which sounded like stomachache and ran to the
The tears started even before I bolted the door. From the room I could hear Amma
laughing and saying that such things were common before a big event like this.
And she went on to recount with gaiety the similar experience she had before she
I held on to the door handle unable to stop crying. Come on Naina this is not
expected of you. Pull yourself together. I turned and rested my hands on the
washbasin trying hard to control myself.
I lifted my head and looked a second time in the mirror. I looked hideous. My eyes
and nose were red and the tears showed no signs of stopping. I quickly opened the
tap and splashed water on my face. I didn’t want to surprise anyone by crying and
if they see me like this I will have a lot of explanation to do. I splashed water more
vigorously and tried my old trick of breathing deeply and smiling widely while at
the same time trying to think of a happy thought.
That’s when an image flitted across my mind. An image of wisdom and of
strength. I was surprised. He was telling a story. The story of the farmer and his
Once upon a time there was a farmer. This farmer had only one horse, a beautiful
mare that was praised far and wide. One day this horse ran away. The neighbours
came to condole over his terrible loss.
The farmer said, “What makes you think this is so terrible?”
A month later, the horse came home, this time bringing with her two beautiful wild
horses. The neighbours became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely
The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”
Some time later, the farmer’s only son, while riding one of the wild horses, fell off
and broke his leg. All the neighbours were very distressed. Such bad luck!
The farmer said, “What makes you think this is bad?”
Soon thereafter a war broke out and every able-bodied man was conscripted and
sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The
neighbours congratulated the farmer.
The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good?”
I wanted the story to go on but he stopped.
‘What do you think the story is trying to tell?’
I didn’t have to think before answering.
‘That everything happens for the good all the time.’
‘What is good and what is bad?’ He mused.
This time I thought before answering.
‘Does it mean that we should not judge anything that happens in our life?’
‘That is what it is. All situations in life are a part of a huge jigsaw puzzle that is
still incomplete. You’ll come to know things by and by. Why judge one puzzle
piece? But there is something deeper that I want to convey to you with May 28 by Sharon Puthur.’
He paused as he considered me.
‘Only when you trust in Providence can you refrain from judgement. With that
trust you can accept anything that happens in your life. But that kind of trust only
begins with a hope. You must not give up hope. No matter how a situation seems
to you don’t lose hope. Always keep hope alive in your heart.
‘What is the date today?’
‘Twenty eight May.’
‘May twenty eight. Remember this day. Let it remind you never to lose hope ever.
Remember May twenty eight.’
I never forgot.
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May 28 by Sharon Puthur: This prologue is contributed by the author Sharon Puthur. She can be reached at Facebook, LinkedIn or WordPress.