The Gift – by Kirti Sehgal (High School)

I was painting on a canvas sitting on the bench of my garden. There was a very nice breeze. While painting suddenly I saw a child standing at a distance of my garden. He came to me. I was wondering why he was coming to me. He asked me in his innocent voice whether you can tell which flower I should present to my mother as a gift. He had a different shine in his eyes. When I walked a bit, I looked at the Gardenia flower. Its holy white petal was like the innocence of that child’s eyes. The drops of rain were shining like dew on his petals like that child’s eyes were glowing. I plucked some flowers of Gardenia and made a small bouquet of that and gave it to him. He took them. Then I saw a small doll in his hands and I asked him if it was for his mother. He answered yes. And then he went from there with his little feet and disappeared into the mist. I thought about following him. I put on my coat and hat and started searching for him in the mist. He did not go far. I called him, but he did not listen. He was moving forward and I was following him. While walking, I came to that place where there were vines of pink flowers. The place was somewhat familiar. That was the cremation ground. Some people were standing there. All were probably waiting for that child. I was watching all this hiding behind a tree. The child went ahead and he kept that flower and that doll with his mother. And then his mother was cremated. That innocence was visible in the eyes of the child who was not allowing him to separate from his mother. I was watching all this. Everyone was gone. I went to him and asked him if he knew where his mother was. He kept quiet for a long time. After a while he broke his silence and he asked me “Will my mother like my gift?”

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-04

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