The charcoal just got birth now. Unlike the births of the daughter of film star, there were no cameras waiting with their eager eyes for its arrival in this world. Its birth was private, just the way it ought to be. Only its mother, the ever beautiful wood saw it arriving, taking birth... She rejoiced when she saw the charcoal slowly open his tiny eyes to take in the surrounding. She was in great joy... She forgot all her pain. The pain was deadly, but her labor has borne the fruit. A lovely kid. She decided to name it charcoal. everyone would simply consider it as ash. But for her, her lovely son is charcoal. Someone who will one day do something better than to disappear in the wind. She was sure of that.
The hospital was really quiet as it was well past the midnight. An old and frail looking lady was dozing off in a dilapidated chair in front of labor room of the government hospital. The services here is not at all satisfactory but the lady inside could not afford more than that. Like all mother she also have the faith that her kid will one day will achieve great things. Alas, she didn’t survive to see that. The baby boy took his first cry as Menaka, his mother took her last.
Her life was really painful. Her father, the great tree dropped her mother from his great height when she was in full term, fully ripe and was expecting the baby seed at any moment. . The fall broke her. But miraculously, the baby seed was unharmed. In the last moments, her mother told her to be a great tree. Bigger than, even her father. She also advised her baby to help others as much as she can. She blessed her daughter to be one day called as the mother of the forest, the savior of all the life forms here. And her mother never made it to the sunrise. The baby started crying. No one came to her rescue. She looked up at her father for comfort. But he turned his eyes away. She cried all night, throughout the next day. She saw many big animals around her. But nobody touched her. Nobody harmed her and nobody comforted her. She didn't know what to do.
Menaka's life was filled with miseries. Her mother was a beautiful woman and was married to a very rich but old man. She always believed that she deserved better and lived a wild life. Her father was a really influential person. Everyone in their locality seemed to worship him for his generosity. After 8 years of their marriage, Menaka's mother announced that she is pregnant. The old man was really happy. He started praying for a son who will take over his business. However the lady didn’t seem as pleased as the man. By the time the lady was 9 months old, a man appeared in their life. He claimed to be the lover of the lady and father of the unborn child. The old man was devastated in the turn of events. He looked at the lady and she told him that the young man is lying and the baby is really his. But her pleas went to deaf ears. She was unceremoniously thrown away from the house.
Then came a little squirrel. He hopped around and around all the trees and finally came to the baby seed. He took the seed in his hands. It looked delicious. But he was not hungry now. he will save it for later.. Or better he will gift it to his mother. She will be very happy... the baby seed was wailing.. But the squirrel didn't seem to hear her. She again looked up at her father. This time he was looking at her. He looked away when he saw her looking at him. And she saw water in his eyes. at that time she didn't realize it was tears, she just thought it was water.
A young girl, who was a distant cousin of menaka's mother was selling vegetables in the market when she saw her cousin limping through the streets begging for food. She was in full term. Though poor, the young sympathized with the lady and took her to her home. The old midwife of the village helped the lady for her delivery. But due to the mental and physical harassment she suffered, the lady didn’t have strength for the delivery. However, the little baby was born. The lady lived to see her baby for 2 weeks. The lady used to mutter all the time to the baby. She never blamed her biological father, the rich old man. She didn’t live a straight life. However she knew that the father of the baby is that old man only. The baby was very beautiful one. Just like her mother. The old man knew about the developments but he never came to see his daughter even after the death of his wife. He yearned to see his daughter, but that was just not possible. He turned his mind away from those thoughts.
The little squirrel slowly cradled the seed in his arms carried her to his home. But alas, on the way he saw a commotion. There was a small fight between the birds and animals. It’s common nowadays. If someone saw him now, he will be killed too. The eagle, the leader of the birds, seems in a bad mood too. He slowly backed away, but got tripped over a tree root. Nobody except the cunning fox saw him. And the squirrel was sure that the fox will attack him. He was a blood loving and crazy politician. He will do anything to boost up this fight to a major war. If he kill the squirrel and made it look like eagle did it, then surely the animals will go mad. They will attack any baby birds. The war will be declared. The forest will go to a state of emergency. This is his trick. To achieve while everyone loses. The baby squirrel knew this because his mother told him all this. He ran for his life.
The young lady, menaka's aunt decided to take care of the baby even though she was poor. Days passed on quickly. The vegetable seller was as swift as a squirrel in matter of business. She was very good at selling the vegetables. But her talent never helped her to escape the poverty. The baby is one year old now. She is quiet and attractive and cute. One day, aunt and niece were going home from the market when they saw a big gathering. It was an election campaign. The women knew better than to stay there and she slowly retreated. She would have swiftly retreated as usual, but she tripped over the coffee table and spilled some snacks. She turned around and saw a man with a huge grin looking at her. He needed something from her and she wondered what it was. She knew him to be a very cunning politician. He was the mentor of the candidate of the election. Somehow he looked like a fox to her.
The baby seed was dropped near the commotion. Some big hairy animal stepped on her. She thought she will be suffocated to death. But the paw of the animal was lifted. She was buried in the earth. She was still. She was wounded. Her thick shell that protected her till now is withered. And it was falling apart. And she pushed the earth around her...........
The face of the little girl was shown all over the T.V for a two whole day along with the candidate. About how he 'rescued' the cute angel from the streets, about how she was now given all the facilities that is available and how the candidate was nothing less than a God to that poor kid and to many others. All this was true for the two days. After that she was disposed off in a pathetic orphanage that keeps the children there starved most of the time. The girl never got any care. She was withering, but she fought bravely. Unlike the other children, she demanded for food and clothes. She urged others to do the same. By the time she was 15, she was trying to make some kind of mob against the corrupt orphanage authorities. And the authorities never liked it.
She was growing each day. She was kind to all other creature that came to her every day. She gave shade to them, shelter too many and food to all. She was made the mother of the forest. Every creature worshiped her. She inherited all the goodness of her father. So she was able to help others just like her father did. Once or twice when an animal breaks the code of the forest, she used to punish that too. Wind, rain, and fire everything helped her for these punishments.
After leaving the orphanage, the met a man who agreed to sponsor her further studies. He was a rich, childless businessman. He never cared about her, but always provided her with financial support she needed. She became an investigative journalist, met a young man in the same profession and married him. They worked together as a great team, both of them having strong principles and brave hearts that led them to uncover stories of a lot of corrupt politicians. They both lost their jobs because they were touching hot plates. But at that time Menaka came to know that her father had left all his properties to her in his will. She never wanted that money, but she didn’t have any choice but to accept it because she had no job and the dirty politicians were trying to make their life miserable. Her father had a very successful life and this lead her to have a good fortune. With all the money, the young couples decided that they will start a new newspaper. They started it as a weekly and then soon it grew to be a flourishing daily that will only publish the truth. They also helped the poor and orphans. They lost and gained and lost money, but they always maintained dignity.
The great mother of the forest, the home for many, and the protector of all looked around in despair. She know that she will be dead soon. All her sons and daughters are dead already. She now fully understood why her father dumped her mother. She also knows the value of the water in his eyes. The men with the axe have returned. She had one look at the axe and something heavy was in tied to her heart. The wood of the axe was her son!!!!!!!!!!!! Now she will be killed by her own son. The men advanced towards her, but then took a detour. O god! They are walking towards her daughter. The last heir of her. Next is of course, she...
She was pregnant now, and was going to have the baby in 4 months. Her husband has gone for work. They have got anonymous call that said that the minister was having a secret meeting with the businessman who had won the contracts for the national highway. It was surely for some sort of scam, they were sure. The lady wanted to go with him, but he strictly said no. "He didn’t want any harm to the baby and this sure was a risky task. Many of their honest reporters have been harmed mortally by them. But they were never afraid of anyone or anything. They were always willing to give up their life.
Three days after the news of the dead journalist started becoming sensation in media. Menaka got a notice from bank. She was bankrupt.
"You are one lucky piece of wood, aren't you darling?" the wood dealer ran his fingers lovingly through her body. She felt hatred towards the man. She was being cut into small pieces and had to go through a series of polishing and painting... now she looks like sandalwood... she even smells like one. The cheat... she had made her into an adulterer. She came to know that her duty is to burn away the politician. The man’s final wish was to be burned in sandalwood. His corrupt followers have granted him the wish. He was more corrupt than them. So nobody regretted.
The great mother of many that now looked like sandalwood is now almost dead. But she smiled at her son, her charcoal. He will struggle, but will find a way to be a great person. That was the hope of a mother. But she never lived to find it out. she never lived to see his son being taken in a golden pot, and thrown to the ganga mayya in presence of hundreds. Her wish was done. He didn’t disappear in wind. He disappeared in Water....
Menaka kissed his son. She wished him the best. “O god. Let him do something worthy”