By Neel Anil Panicker

The evening faded out and a slight wintry chill escaped the thick blanket of chinar trees that dotted the distant skyscape.

As the wintry chill brushed made inroads, Sheena felt the cold dig into her bones.

Another day, another time she would got up and walked back to her hotel room.

Not today; not now. More than the warmth of a comfy bed, the feel of hot coffee sliding down her throat, and the comfort of a thick woolen blanket, what she wanted was the raw nakedness of Nature.

She wanted to feel for herself the elements, their bruteness; their innate resilience that allowed them to hold fort since time immemorial as the mortal world around them collapsed.

There she sat, in a yogic posture, atop the giant rock that allowed her a panoramic vision of the undulating green valley and the stack of village hutments that stretched out like tiny ants a few hundred feet below her.

After she had inhaled to her heart’s content, the cosmic beauty of heavenly benevolence, her thoughts turned inward.

She closed her eyes and the events of the past few years, played out, one screenshot at a time.

There she was, being felicitated for topping the board examinations; being awarded best medical student of the year; her first day as Dr Sheena Biswal; her first heart operation; the awards; the clapping, the applause; then__the jealousy, the plotting; the Machiavvelian machinations; the false charges, the court cases, the prison terms, the insults, the hate; and finally the exculpation; the release, the redemption.

In her short life of a little over 40 years, Sheena, the orphan abandoned by her own mother, and the one who fought against all adversities and made a life for herself, then lost it, falling prey to the devious acts of jealous colleagues, and then fought back to regain it all____love, respect, pride and success___had seen it all.

As the photochromatic slides of her past  merged with her present, she realised that it was not yet over.

She raised her eyes and looked beyond the hills.

From the distant horizon, a ray of light streaked the skies.

A smile cruised her lips.

She knew God was on her side.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory


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