Hey! Look here! It’s me!
Ummn… hello!! Can you see me?
Here!! Look HERE!!
Huh! Well, who am I kidding? You can’t see me… actually, you choose not to…
I am one of the million grains of salt that you have seen in your life.
Why am I talking?
Well, this morning, deep within my salty heart, I remembered a story that must be told. Do you like stories? Well, I sure do. While I was getting evaporated, my water buddies narrated many fascinating sagas of the ocean just before they united with the air. They told me about the creatures of the sea and their interesting lives. I remember sharing my experiences with them while they rapidly became one with the environs. One droplet hurriedly narrated how she had once accidentally flown into a sunken ship and seen vast treasures behind a closed iron vault. She evaporated before telling me where to find the ship, else I would narrate that story today.
Do you remember the story of your birth? Hmmn….you may not…it’s a story that is always told to you, even though you are very much there to witness it. Babies have pea-size brains and even smaller memories… or so I believe.
The pollen in the air often carries enthralling tales of how babies are born. My fellow grains seem disinterested but I love listening to the stories. The pollens describe what they see when they latch on to the bouquet presented to the mommy at the hospital. The entire scene is full of happiness: the tired mommy, the bawling baby, the shy daddy and proud grand parents – it’s picture perfect! Each culture has so many similarities yet so many differences, the constant chatter in the room was fodder for my lonely afternoons. I spent many days smiling at the happiness the new baby brought into the family’s life.
However, over the years, the pollen’s stories are getting less interesting. I am told that there is a small machine in front of which they constantly pout and pose. After clicking the picture, they rapidly type on it and keep checking it even amidst a conversation. They call the machine a phone but they hardly make or receive calls on it. Rooms are becoming quieter and beeps, louder. The next round of evolution will see humans being born with a bent neck and pout. However, the story of evolution is not the one I want to tell you.
I am about to relate a story that warms my heart – a once-in-a-life-time experience that I had. With little ado, let me jump into the story.
This incident took place one hundred and thirty years ago but the memory is still fresh in my briny mind and saline heart.
Wait! Before I begin, I need to tell you the reason that I couldn’t narrate it for so many years…well the reason is…huh…! Why do you care about the reason? Does it matter? Huh! It does?
Okay then let’s just say that I was …out of salculation…lol! Got it? “Salculation” as in “circulation” – Hmph! You aren’t very bright, are you? You just don’t seem to get my jokes…my advice, just take everything I say with a pinch of salt!! Hah! Gotcha! Once again!
Back to my story. I spent my youth in the arms of the Arabian Sea. Mixed with the water, I felt powerful when we hurled ourselves at the shore. I loved staying in a mile’s radius of the shore; it kept me close to the sea creatures and the shore. Like the best of both worlds. I remember seeing the sunset for the first time. I was very young and naïve. When the blazing sun took a refreshing dip in the sea, I screamed loudly in anticipation of a numbing pain. But I felt nothing. The other droplets of salinity laughed at me. I faced their friendly ridicule for many days after that.
Hmph! How was I to know the truth? It’s not like we have a university where they teach us about sunsets and sunrises. I was pretty embarrassed when I learned that the sunset was only an illusion. Little did I know that this was one of the many illusions that I would learn about as life progressed.
Well, to cut the long story short, it seemed like staying close to the shore was a mistake. They swept us up and put us in something that they called a salt pan.
My word! Did you ask, who is ‘they’?
Good grief! I was right!
You and intelligence don’t seem like the best of friends.
Lol…ha! Just kidding!
Well, ‘they’ is the humans – the workers at the salt pans. Before you ask, let me enlighten you about salt pans…. huh! For your moronic understanding, let’s just say that salt pans are a depression in the ground in which salt water evaporates to leave a deposit of salt. Did you get it? Well, I knew it..! Hmmn…in simple words, salt pans are where I was born in my current form.
To be honest, it was good fun. Different from my earlier aggressive life at the sea. No longer did I have to compete with other saline droplets to form an enormous wave. We didn’t bet on the impact that we would make at the shore. There were no tiny fish whom we could whistle at. Overall, I feel, I entered what you Indians call, Grahastha Ashram. Don’t ask me where I learned about this, because I don’t remember!
Huh! Grahasta Ashram! Sound’s cool, eh? Well, to me, it signified a plateau in my youthful life, where every moment seemed like an eternity. They expected me to slow down only because of the mountain of new roles and responsibilities that lay on my brackish shoulders. Pshht! I need to do something about my habit of digressing from the topic… but then, this is the first time in many years I am conversing with anyone.
Before leaving for another place last evening, Mr. Sun had informed us he would be back by around 6:29 am the next morning. He told us that the next day was April 6, 1930 – the first day of the National Week. Little did we know what was in store for my friends and me. We did not understand that they would write the next morning in history. Unknowingly; I was going to be part of this history textbooks for many centuries that would follow.
It was just before sunrise; I was in the process of evaporation when suddenly a strong waft of breeze came our way making some of my friends blow away!
It roared and exclaimed loudly, “Stop everything! NOW!”
The hands that were mechanically tending to us suddenly stopped. We stopped dancing in the warm water and looked at each other quizzically.
Another gust of strong wind whooshed past and howled, “The little man called Gandhi is arriving with 79 other people! They are marching towards Dandi. Gandhi has a stick in his hand.”
A wave of panic ran through our salt pan. Who was Gandhi? Why was he marching towards Dandi? Why would anyone carry a stick towards us? Why were these 79 people trudging towards us? Pshaw!! So many questions – no answers!
The sounds of their feet turned louder and louder….I gathered my courage and looked towards the direction. Gosh!! The wind LIED – the number of people were over 79-80! It was a sea of people, my best guess is that over 60,000 people were marching in the same rhythm. It was gratifying and frightening at the same time.
Mr. Sun was peeping from the horizon, why wasn’t he rising? Was he also scared of what was about to happen? Huh? Exactly what was going to happen? Noone seemed to know. The pollen, the breeze, the sun, all of them had gone silent. My salty heart was threatening to mix with the saline water while I was burning rapidly. In no time, we were all dried up and jumping around because of the vibrations on the ground. 60,000 people trekking at the same rhythm can raise quite a huge cacophony.
A gust of wind warned us hurriedly, “Hide, he is coming this way!”
Huh! You’ve got to be kidding me! Hide? Where the hell was I supposed to hide? I was dry now so there was no way that I could merge with a wave and flow away. My mind was running helter-skelter but in reality, I was going nowhere. I crouched behind a stone and watched a sea of feet headed in my direction. I gulped.
Among the sea of legs, I could see one with a stick trudging along with it. Gosh! That was h..h..him! The ‘Little Man, Gandhi’, that the breeze had warned us about.
The wind nudged me and exclaimed, “Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi aka our Mahatma Gandhi has shaken the British government with his bold March to Dandi. A little birdie tells me that the Nonviolent protest left the British confused about whether or not to jail Gandhi.”
Huh! What was the breeze jabbering about? All I understood was that we are in a place called Dandi and there is a man with a danda marching towards us. A man who even the government was afraid of. What worth was a grain of salt before this great tsunami of feet? Did a grain of salt stand a chance in the wake of such a great march?
Mr. Sun was still peeping from the horizon when the feet stopped and plain black chappals, close to the stick towered over me. I shuddered in fear. I shut my eyes nervously, as I heard Mahatma Gandhi speak to another man, later they told me he was a reporter. Mr. Gandhi gave a long statement to the Associated Press, but all I understood was, “God be thanked for what may be termed the happy ending of the first stage in this, for me at least, the last struggle of freedom.”
What followed was like a scene from a movie, Mr. Sun rose at 6:29 am just as Mahatma Gandhi bent down and scooped me along with my friends and some mud in his frail hands.
The crowds cheered and the entire atmosphere It was exactly 6:30 am and I was now part of history! I don’t remember what happened with me after that, because there was so much commotion and chaos. Some said that Gandhi set me down lovingly, others say that his followers took the scoop in their hands and stored it, still others say that once Gandhi set me down, the others trudged all over the salt pan. I don’t remember.
When I opened my eyes, everyone had left, the salt pan was empty. Pollen told me that Gandhi had made his point. The British arrested later 60,000 protesters and Gandhi. I will remember the Dandi March or Salt March forever and so will history. Commemorative stamps, photographs, painting and memorabilia made their way through the shops, but they forgot me.
I was the grain of salt that Mahatma Gandhi picked up at 6:30 am on April 6, 1930. I am the symbol of India’s Independence. From now on, I demand this respect from you and your future generations.
©MayuraAmarkant. This is an original work of fiction written by Mayura Amarkant. This article – in whole or in part CANNOT be used by any platform without prior permission from the author. This article is the property of DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter. Any unauthorized use or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mayura Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter). With the right and specific direction to the original content. This is NOT a sponsored post.
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