Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
- TITLE: A Scar on my Memory
By ThresiaPaulose varghese
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A crescent shaped blemish on my womanly forehead ever reminding of my hungry childhood days!
A scar of memory on the forehead proclaiming about the millions of hungry stricken people who are unable to satisfy their craving stomachs even once in a day, while the privileged rich waste large quantity of food after enjoying their sumptuous and delicious varieties!
I was ten, studying in fifth grade. I had to walk for half an hour with my little brother to reach the school.
Ours was a family of six. In search of job, my father journeyed from his homeland called Kerala through deserted places and reached a place called Mettur, where he got a job in a textile factory. He married and settled there away from his relatives and friends. One by one our family grew large with six members.
Like the Israelite, it was our Exodus through our wilderness of Sin filled with adversities! (Exodus 17:1)
Adversities never come alone! They started with company layoffs and famine in the area. The little money that came from the factory also stopped. Though some neighbors in the area gave us some food occasionally, how can they fill the six stomachs in utter hunger? It was at this time of misfortunes, that my father was contracted with tuberculosis, to add our ineffable miseries. It was a very serious and contagious disease those days. We scared to see our father vomiting a bucketful of blood! There were no medical facilities or insurance those days!
Though we were poor, my parents were very particular about educating us. Many days they ate nothing to feed our little stomachs. Many days I and my little brother, as we didn’t want to trouble our parents, drank some water and remained in the school for the lunch break!
It was a bad day. We had nothing to eat in the morning. My father was vomiting blood when we were starting to school. My mother and all of us were in tears holding our father, crying, “Daddy, daddy” What else could we do?
“It’s ok children, you go to school. I’m alright now.” Someway or other he forced us to go to school. With burdened hearts and empty stomach, we walked slowly towards school.
Before we crossed a few houses, our mom called us back. Rosy aunty was standing near her. We were much scared. What happened to dad?
“Threse, come home this afternoon. Rosy aunty will give some food which you can take to your brother also.”
I was relieved. My stomach craved for the immediate afternoon!
In the school, the teacher was busy teaching multiplication- six into eight forty eight.
But my hungry mind was hovering over the divisions. How to divide the food we get!
When will the lunch bell ring?
My mind was already running on the road to reach Rosy aunty and get the food for me and my brother. “Poor fellow!” mom used to say, “This is the age children should eat a lot and grow.” He is the hope of our family! The future man to support us all! The little fellow to shoulder the burden!
The bell rang. I darted out like an arrow from the bow. I should come back to school before it is late. I remembered how Kamala was punished the previous week for late coming. She had to kneel down in the hot sun.
Run! Run! Run!
My torn skirt couldn’t know my haste!
My tired bare feet couldn’t gauge the steps and the road!
The stones on my way weren’t merciful about my hunger!
I stumbled over a stone and fell down. My head was hit and began bleeding. In my blood, I fell unconscious!
“Sister, Threse sister, how’re you?” I heard my brother calling me from the bottom of a deep well!
When I awoke, the wound on my forehead had been stitched!
My hunger has left a scar, a mark of indelible memory, on my forehead!
That cherished memory will be there until I die, always reminding me the words, “I was hungry and you gave me food” (Matthew 25:35).
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