"Life is the price we pay for running away from death "
































































"There is many a bliss in knowledge, but there is a strange happiness in ignorance too.. " - Anonymous

Rajamma lived in the forest, with her son. She was frail and weak as any octagenarian of her village, yet she diligently went about her chores with same vigour every single day. Twice a week, she would even go around her shanty and do some repairs - slap an extra layer of dung on the cracks in the wall or throw a coconut frond or two on the leaking roof. It was ironical this old lady had to toil so much when there was a full grown son at home, and sometimes it did worry Rajamma too, but she could never understand his laziness and silence and believed things would be fine some day.

It was when her husband died in mysterious circumstances that she and her son had been banished from the village. Their small patch of land was taken; they were accused of practising witch-craft and left to die in the forest. A defiant Rajamma had withstood the tragedy and setup a life in the forest itself. She didn't want to give up for the sake of her son.

Rajamma sold firewood for a living. She would collect fallen twigs and branches, walk half a mile to the next village and sell it for a small sum, that provided for her and her son. She would try to be miserly and secretly save money whenever she could. In the evenings, she would first stow away the saved money and then cook for dinner. At supper, she would try to talk to her son and finally sleep away tired from a one-sided conversation. This was her routine - a lady in the final years of her life, fighting to stay independent, struggling with hope to see better days, praying frantically that God give some sense to her son and lighten her burden before showing the light for her final journey.

One night Rajamma had a dream - she saw that her son had stolen her sack of saved money and eloped to the city. The next morning she woke up feeling fresh and innately happy. If the dream were to come true, it would release all her burdens at once. The money she was saving for her son would finally help him live a life of his choice. She left for the forest with prayer on her lips and a spring in her step..

At around noon, her son was woken-up by a creaking noise. As he sat up, he was horrified to see a young man running away with his mother's sack. He jumped out of his bed and apprehended this apparent thief. They ran through the forest and above the hill. As they were rushing through the bushes, an old woman spotten them and froze in her step. Rajamma had just witnessed her son running away. Did her dream just come true? She ran towards her home to check on her sack..

Meanwhile, the son, who was not accustomed to running, tripped on a root and fell headlong into a mound of rocks. His skull broke open and he died almost immediately. Some villagers passing by found his body and were shocked to see the son dead, in exactly the same fashion as his father had died. They immediately believed Rajamma's witch-craft had taken toll of her son too and would soon consume the whole village if she was let go. They decided to burn her alive and walked with burning torches towards her house in the forest..

Rajamma reached her house and uttered a shriek of joy when she found her sack missing. She believed God had just worked a miracle for her. She felt unbounded happiness in her heart. She fell to the ground and wept with joy. She had had enough of this tiresome life, she did not long to live anymore and cried God to end her life right at that happy moment. No sooner had she wished, she realized her house was on fire..
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