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Old lady and her daughter-in-law
The night was dark. It was past midnight. Torrential rain created almost havoc in the dark night. The only sound audible was thunderbolt and the only light was sky light. I was coming back to Ghaziabad from Dehradun, after attending the marriage of my friend's daughter. Due to the bad weather, I was driving my car very slowly and carefully.

My wife was seated on my side seat. She was very scared of the terrible, dark night. Suddenly, the environment by almost blasted by lightning and thunderbolt. Scary, my wife holds my hand tightly.

"We were very nervous. Perhaps it was the wrath of nature. If it had not been disturbed, nature's fury would not have been had such an impact. I had wanted to tell the world …not to cut the trees, but…"

"Yes, look at the houses, people build. All are completely smashed, laid flat on the ground. But where we were? We have never seen such fury of nature."

We did not realise that there was someone around us. In the lightning, I saw an old woman jumping in front of my car. I applied the brakes with full force. The car stopped with a blaring sound. The old lady was badly wounded and her entire face was covered with blood. The scene was very ghastly. The wounded old lady came near to my car and pleaded with folded hand, to down the window glass.

She said, "My car has met an accident and fallen in a deep trench and her daughter is trapped inside the mangled car."

She requested to come with her and rescue her daughter. Terrified wife asked to start the car and move away. But I thought that the lady must be in dire need of help and I decided to accompany the old lady and help her. Leaving my wife alone in the car, I came out of the car and followed the lady. The lady limped and moved slowly. The car was very far and in the very deep ditch.

We both reached to the accident sight. The car was badly mangled. A beautiful, young lady, very beautifully dressed in a red saree was lying unconscious trapped inside the car. With great difficulty, I took the lady out of the damaged car. But after this, I saw another frightening scene. On the driver's seat, another lady was laying. She was also badly injured. I reached near to her.

The scene made me out of my senses. I became almost deaf and dumb and could not even breathe. She was the same old lady who brought me here. She was laying dead there on the driver's seat. After some efforts, the beautiful young lady regained consciousness.

She asked, "Where is my mother-in-law?" Shocked I and my wife muttered: "For the life of her daughter-in-law, she fought the death and rough terrain and delayed the death and save the life of her daughter-in-law." But, "How dreadful, that this should happen!"

"Yes…but this had never happened before…the rains, storms, lightning…come every year. And rainstorm is very heavy, so many a times during the rainy season…But such night never has seen before."

There was an ancient temple in the forest, centuries old. It was built by the tribals…the peepal tree was much older. The triangular formed by the groove with a peepal, a banyan and a mango tree at each corner is unique and most auspicious with a temple in the centre. No harm could have come to it. "But look today…like a very bad omen, everything is devastated."

In about five days, the blood rendered the air stinking and sickening. The police found nothing wrong in the forest, ensnared by the weighty grip of stones and mournful trees: her blood and rotten flesh identified only by her broken bangles and saffron saree. The road was declared an unsafe zone by the police and all the illegal man-made structures were removed for safety reasons. The only structure left was ancient temple housing all merciful smiling Gods.

The faith of devotees remained unshaken, as had all the creatures who were the companions of God in this little oasis. The trees seem to be crying with tears. Their white sap dripped where the branches were hit by the car and had been ripped away. The banyan, the peepal and the mango, all were wounded where the ill-fated car had hit.

The stood like amputated humans, not trunks but stumps whose limbs had blown off by a Jihadi bomb blast. There was now a mysterious silence all over the place, not at all the tranquil peace of oasis. The devotees noticed that the parrots, the monkeys, the ducks, the pigeons, the koels had fallen silent as if dead by the impact of the accident and the death of the old mother-in-law. But no one questioned. All have tears.

Slowly and slowly, the tender green shoots grew from every nook and cleft of the accident site when the rains washed off all the scars and in a few months, the monkeys, the parrots, the peacocks, the pigeons and searching for home, joined the Gods and played and smiled from their safe chambers, covered under the fresh green roof.

Only a sadhvi dared to live there after sunset. It was said that the soul of the same old lady, entered into the body of this old sadhvi and had made the temple as her permanent abode through the branches of the grove. Newlywed brides and wives regularly visit the temple to get the blessings of the Gods and sadhvi for a safe and peaceful married life.

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