Statues and Flowers

Once upon a time, in a town far away, there lived a man almost saint-like in appearance. Women from far away thronged to get his blessings. It was rumored that the women whom he gave his blessings attained salvation and were seen no more.

Five years old, Rahul lived with his father and mother, a young, loving couple themselves. One day, the wife heard about the saint-like man whose blessings could grant women salvation. She was very spiritual in nature and thus wanted to visit the saint-like man.

She urged her husband, and he agreed that they could all go and have a little picnic in the alluring garden with a variety of beautiful flowers that the saint-like man was rumored to have.

So on a fine Sunday morning, the young, happy family set out on their picnic. As they entered the premises of the saint-like man, they noticed a big garden, adorned with beautiful flowers and lifelike human statues.

The garden was thronged by women going from flower to flower, whispering something in each one. Twice a day, the saint-like man also used to take a walk in the garden and he could be seen visibly talking to the flowers and the lifelike statues.

Rahul already felt hungry again, so they decided to first eat all the food items they had brought for picnic and then while Rahul played with his dad, his mother could go get a glimpse of the saint-like man.

So, they ate and then the wife went towards the residence of the saint-like man. However, Rahul didn’t want to leave his mom alone, so he chased after her. His dad also collected the picnic basket and sheet and walked after them. A little distance from the residence, there was an artificial waterfall and Rahul was mesmerized by it. Rahul wanted to just keep looking at the fountain, and its crystal clear water. Rahul’s dad signaled his wife to go visit the saint-like man while he would take care of their son.

Rahul’s dad sat beside the waterfall on a bench, admiring the lovely day, contemplating his loving family life. He was truly happy. Suddenly, he noticed, out of nowhere, a beautiful flower magically appeared on a nearby plant. There was not even a tiny bud in its place before that. This was truly bewildering. Before he could make any sense of it, he was horrified to see that Rahul was slowly turning to …stone, just like one of those lifelike statues in the garden. And just as he tried to get up and rush to his son, he realized he couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. He wanted to scream, he tried to scream, but he couldn’t. he himself was turning to stone. In fact, he had turned to stone and so had Rahul.

There was nothing he could do, he could see, hear and think, but that was it.

Days passed, and he saw many more magical flowers appearing out of nowhere whenever any lady went to meet the saint-like man. And if that lady had anyone with them as company waiting for them in the garden, they turned to stone. Rahul’s dad could not take it anymore, day by day he grew more restless. Every time the saint-like man made a tour of the garden, he stopped by them too and said words like “God bless you poor creature. Don’t blame me. It’s God’s will that you now adorn my garden.” Rahul’s dad grew to hate this man. But he didn’t know how he could do anything. After 7 days, the flower that had appeared when his wife disappeared, wilted away and fell to the ground. But he wasn’t sitting idle all these days. Each day, he exercised his will power, he tried very hard and some days he could lift one of his fingers a little bit. One day after a few weeks, he was able to move one of his feet though just a little bit. After 3 months he could move both his hands and legs quite a bit. So now, he only practiced moving at night for the fear that someone might see him during the day. After six months, he was able to stand up on his feet. After 3 more months, he had taught himself to walk. It was a scary scene if you ever saw it, when late at night, under the moonlit sky, a stone statue was trying to walk in an awkward way. One night when he had almost perfected walking that way, he walked over to his son and tried to hug him. He knew that his son must be there within the statue and could feel him. He stayed like that almost till dawn and returned back to his position only as the first sun rays lit the sky.

The next day, through his stone eyes, he kept a close watch on the gardener. That day the gardener had to chop down an old tree which had fallen to the ground in the lightning storm three days ago. He used an ax and chopped the tree down into neat logs. He was finished by 4 pm and went to get some tea and snacks before packing up everything. Rahul’s dad looked around, there weren’t many people in the garden at that time, he saw his chance, went over quickly, grabbed the ax and came back and hid it carefully under his bench. That night he only planned to get his revenge. He grabbed the ax and tried hurtling it at a tree. He was practicing his grip and the force needed to use the ax. With will power a man can certainly move mountains and he did, till dawn, he practiced till perfection, now only execution was left.

He decided to take a day’s rest and execute the plan at night. When the saint-like man came for his 2nd tour of the garden that day, almost at dusk, Rahul’s dad plunged into action. There were hardly any people in the garden that evening. Just as the saint-like man passed him by, Rahul’s dad leaped up, grabbed the ax and caught him by surprise. He used all his strength and started pounding him with the ax. Soon he felt his own skin returning to its own color. He was becoming human again. And the saint-like man turned to stone with each blow and even the stone was breaking down, turning to dust. He paused for a moment and looked around, all the other stone figures in the garden were also turning human again and cheering him on.

When Rahul turned back to flesh, he rushed over to his dad and hugged him with tears in his eyes. Soon all the stone turned humans were rejoicing but also mourning the loss of the women in their lives who had been turned to flower and then to dust. They all gathered together and remembered the people they once were and discussed getting back to their old lives and old homes. Rahul and his dad also sadly decided to go back to their home and move on with their lives.


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