Anxiously looking over at the candle every second which was getting shorter with every word I scribbled on my notebook, trying my best to focus on my essay on “Things you are grateful for” instead of staring at the dimly lit room. Our little mud house in a remote tribal village of Chhattisgarh wasn’t much but I was grateful for my tiny ‘khatiya’ by the corner and the pile of books on my wooden shelf.
Ever since father had told me that we couldn’t afford kerosene for lamps anymore, my heart sunk along with the sun every evening and my spirit shortened along with the candle.
I spent all day doing household chores and helping out at the farm, nights were the only time I could devote to schoolwork and now it was being taken away from me.
I do not remember our village ever having electricity, all major events would take place around a huge bonfire. When I was five, I used to look longingly at the city lights far away as though I was looking out of a tiny hole in an absolutely dark room. Various officers and our Member of Parliament had all given us assurances that they would provide us with electricity but these promises were never fulfilled. My sister and I had named our least favorite cow who ate everyone else’s food after him and we smiled inside every time mother gave him a little jab.
I had gotten used to straining my eyes every night trying to make out words that seemed as unclear as the water in the village well when someone knocked at my door. I left my chewed pencil hastily and ran with the red ribbon around my braids flying in the wind. My eyes widened as I saw a tall lady with brown curls standing in front of me, I ran into the kitchen to hide behind my mother’s dupatta almost instinctively, something which had always managed to protect me.
After around fifteen minutes of talking to her, my mother came back with a smile on her face and told me that she was the panchayat’s daughter and wanted to bring light to everyone’s world by providing electricity. This angel in disguise had come to see the village and was very touched on seeing the children do everything in their power to study in the dark. She wanted to be the reason they all smiled displaying all their adorable, crooked teeth.
As every house in my sweet village lit up with the sound of a crackling bulb, so did my face.
Thespace.ink has collaborated with ‘Word Munchers’, a creative writing platform that trains and encourages kids and youngsters to hone their creative writing skills. Thespace.ink will be publishing two short essays by students of ‘Word Munchers’ every Saturday.