Keep Moving Forward

A Short Story 

Prologue

Four kids each aged about eight years were seated on the lawn in the garden of the orphanage.

‘Did you hear this?’ Rajesh asked starting the conversation.

‘Heard, what?’ Varun asked.

‘Some childless couples are coming to see us tomorrow, and they may choose one of us…’ Rajesh replied.

‘Yes, he’s right!’ Rashmi said.

‘And we all shall be separated from each other…’ Varun said.

‘I agree, but think positively!’ Rashmi said, ‘each one of us shall be getting a family, and isn’t that we all have been longing for?’

‘Agreed, but still friends are also important in life, isn’t it?’ Varun said.

‘Well, we can’t have everything in life, can we?’Rashmi said looking at him, ‘Let’s hope that we all get loving and caring families…’

Rashmi took out four small slips of folded paper and handed it to each one of them. They unfolded them and it was written in bold letters…KEEP MOVING FORWARD

‘Keep moving forward? What’s this?’ Akshay asked with a puzzled look on his face.

‘It is a message for each one of us that we should keep moving forward in life no matter what happens!’ Rashmi said, smiling at them, ‘We may go far away from this place. We may not be able to keep in touch with each other, but we all shall meet on some future date…by the way, what date is today?’ She asked.

‘It’s 26th September!’ Varun said.

‘So let’s all meet in this same place twenty years later on the same date at say 5PM!’ Rashmi said.

‘Why twenty years later?’ Akshay said.

‘By that time we would have achieved something in our individual lives…Do you all agree for this?’ Rashmi asked, looking at them for an approval.

‘Yes, we agree!’ They all cried together.

Within next few days, all the four of them were adopted by childless couples from different places.

***

The ceiling fan noise woke Akshay up. He found that he was lying on the bed in the hospital. He was feeling a lot of pain in his left foot, which was bandaged. He recalled the horrible car accident which had happened the day before…in which both of his adopted parents were killed on the spot, which obviously meant that he would have to go back to the orphanage. He had left this place in search of a new home with lots of dreams for his future. Sadly, everything came down tumbling down like a house of playing cards.

He found the forearm elbow crutch at the side of his bed. Immediately, a scary thought crossed through his mind.

‘Is it a temporary or permanent disability?’

He wanted to know the answer for it badly. Then he remembered the voice which he had heard in his sleep sometime back.

‘So sad that he has to use the crutch for the rest of his life…is there no surgery to make him normal again?’ asked a familiar voice.

‘Sorry to tell you the answer is NO.’ said another voice.

He took out the slip of folded paper from his shirt pocket, and unfolded it.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD…was written on it.

He kept staring at it. Tears welled in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.

***

Nineteen years later:-

Varun sat outside the operation theatre, waiting anxiously for the doctor to come out and tell him the good news. He remembered the conversation he had with his wife Suchitra a few days back.

‘Do you have any names in your mind?’

‘If it is girl then let’s name her Meghna.’

‘What shall we name if it is a boy baby?’ She asked.

‘Then we shall name him Aryan.’

‘That’s a good name! So, let’s freeze both these names…’

‘I just hope everything goes fine this time…’ He said.

‘Yes, everything would be fine. Please don’t worry, dear.’ Suchitra said pressing his hand gently, reassuring him.

Varun glanced towards the operation theatre. He closed his eyes and prayed silently for the well being of the mother and the baby. Some minutes later, the doctor came out of the operation theatre…he didn’t have a smile on his face.

‘Doctor, is everything fine?’ Varun asked anxiously standing up from the chair.

‘I’m sorry, Varun,’ The doctor said, ‘you’re wife has once again given birth to a stillborn baby… it would be better you both go for adoption as trying to conceive again would be risky for her life…You can go and see your wife in sometime…’

Varun sat down back really depressed. He took out his wallet from his trouser pocket, picked out a small folded piece of paper from it, and unfolded it slowly. He kept staring at it.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD….was written on it.

A drop of tear escaped from corner of his eye and flowed down his cheek. He wiped it with his fingers and took a deep breath. This was the third time it was happening to them. He had hoped against hope that it would be alright at least this time…

‘I’m Sorry…Varun..’ Suchitra said, between sobs.

‘It’s not your fault, baby. Don’t worry…everything would be fine.’ Varun said, hugging her, and kissing on her forehead, ‘Remember that no matter what happens, I’m always by your side, my dear.’

***

‘Anusha, do you like my son Rajesh?’ Rajesh’s father asked the girl.

‘Yes…’ She said blushing and bowing her head down.

‘As they both like each other let’s….’Rajesh’s father said.

‘But before we go ahead further…please clarify one thing to me.’ Anusha’s father said, interrupting him.

‘What clarification?’ Rajesh’s father asked him.

‘Is he really your son?’

‘Yes, he is!’

‘What I mean to ask is he your biological son? I heard that he is your adopted son, isn’t it true?’

‘Yes…but we have brought him up like our own son.’

‘It doesn’t make any difference to me…I don’t like to give away my only daughter to an orphan!’ He said.

‘What?’

‘Did you call us to insult like this?’ Rajesh stood up annoyed.

‘Come on, son…let’s leave!’ Rajesh’s father said, standing up along with his wife.

Later, at home, Rajesh was lying depressed on his bed. He had some hope as Anusha loved him. Just then his mobile beeped with an incoming message and it read:

‘I can’t go against my parent’s wish. So, please try to forget me! Good bye!’ It was from her.

He tried to call and speak to her, but her mobile was switched off. He threw his mobile away…it went and hit the wall and the parts flew apart before touching the floor…

He had loved her so much. How could his heart forget her even if his mind wanted to?

He took out the slip of paper on which it was written KEEP MOVING FORWARD…and kept staring at it with teary eyes.

***

‘Where are mom and dad?’ Rashmi asked her elder brother, Rahul. She had been busy in her life following her career. Finally, she was able to get an offer to direct her first feature film. Her parents were staying with her brother, and she was visiting his place after quite some time.

‘They are fine in a place spending time with people of their age.’  Rahul replied.

‘Did you send them to some old age home, is it?’ She asked, rather shocked at his reply.

‘Yes….’ He replied.

‘Couldn’t you take care of them considering that they had brought you up?’ She asked him.

‘Bringing me up after giving birth to me was their responsibility, isn’t it? What’s the big deal in it? Any parents would do that to their children.’

‘Well, whatever you are today it is because of them. So, don’t you think that they need your support when they have grown old?’

‘Rashmi, why are arguing with me like this? You know well that I and my wife are both working and we are finding it hard to devote our time to our kid then how do you expect us to take care of them too? Also dad is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease from past few months and had even got lost once…we had a tough time tracing and bringing him back home…so I had taken this decision…they are taking good care of them over there…’

‘What? You never told me all this?’

‘Well, you were very busy directing and making your movie…why are making it such big thing? After all, you are only their adopted daughter…’

‘I may be their adopted daughter….but for me, they are my parents too. They brought me up just like they had brought you up. It is my duty to take care of them in their time of need. Please give me the address of this old age home…I will take care of them.’

He gave her the address and she started to leave.

‘Aren’t you staying with us for some time?’ He asked her.

‘Well, after all, I’m only your adopted sister…good bye, brother,’ she said before leaving, ‘Hope your son doesn’t repeat what you have done to our parents.’ She added, before closing the main door behind her, with a bang.

***

Varun and Suchitra went to the orphanage from where he was adopted may years back.

‘Well, this is where I grew up until I was eight years old,’ Varun told Suchitra, as they both walked inside the orphanage.

‘Then you were adopted by your parents, isn’t it?’ Suchitra asked him, smiling.

‘Yes! I’m so happy that I am doing this again..I mean adopting another kid myself…’ Varun said.

They went and met a young man of Varun’s age in the office room and told him that they both wanted to adopt a child. The young man gave Varun some forms to fill up.

‘Your face looks some what familiar to me…’ Varun said, ‘you remind me someone I knew in the past…’

‘You mean from this place?’ The young man asked.

‘Yes, aren’t you Akshay?’ Varun asked.

‘Yes, and you should be Varun. I’m really glad to meet you…’ Akshay said, standing up and hugging him.

They both told each other their life stories. While Suchitra went along with someone to see the kids. Finally, they both adopted a cute little girl named Sofia. Varun and Akshay exchanged their contact numbers to keep in touch.

***

A few months later, one day, Rashmi was searching for something in her hand bag, and she found the small slip of folded paper. She unfolded it…KEEP MOVING FORWARD was written on it. She had written it many years back. She remembered the past.

‘Mom, what date is today?’ Rashmi asked her mother.

‘It’s 26th September, why?’ Her mother replied.

‘Oh! God. I almost forgot it…I have to rush now…’ She said, having a glance at her wrist watch.

‘Where are you going?’ Her mother asked her.

‘I shall come back and tell you everything, mom.’ She said, leaving home in hurry.

Rashmi reached the orphanage…the building had become old now…it appeared the same like it was many years back. She walked in the garden, and sat on the bench under the tree…she remembered those days when she used to spend time with her best friends Varun, Rajesh and Akshay. Today she would be meeting them after a long time. Hope they remember it and turn up…she thought, holding the small slip of paper in her hand.

‘Keep moving forward!’ someone said behind her. She turned and found Varun standing there, with a smile on his face.

‘Varun!’ She cried, getting up and hugging him joy, ‘I’m so glad to see you again.’

‘Me too,’ Varun said, patting gently on her back, ‘I had seen your movie ‘The adopted daughter’ and liked it a lot! You have done a wonderful job as the director of the movie! Also I’m really very proud to tell everyone that my best friend had made this movie.  I was so much impressed by your movie that I even adopted a cute little girl named Sofia.’ He added.

‘Thank You, Varun.’ She said, ‘What about Rajesh and Akshay?’ She asked him.

‘Rajesh is on the way…Akshay had called him…’

‘Where is Akshay then?’

‘There he is!’ He replied, pointing his finger at him. He was walking towards them with his crutch. He explained to her about the fatal car accident which landed him back in the orphanage.

‘Didn’t anyone come to adopt you again after that?’ She asked, with a sigh.

‘Well, who would adopt a physically handicapped boy?’ He said, smiling at her, ‘I was destined to take in charge of this orphanage after sister Angela passed away…I am happy doing her work now…by the way, I had seen your movie and it was fantastic! I think people have started adopting after watching your movie. As a matter of fact one of the couple told me that your movie had inspired them to go for adoption.’

‘And that couple happen to be Varun and Suchitra, right?’  She said, smiling at him.

‘Yes!’ Akshya said.

‘Guys! Did you miss me?’ Rajesh cried, coming towards them, with a big smile on his face.

‘Yes, we did!’ She cried, smiling at him.

‘You know, Rashmi, your this slip of paper helped me to move on in life..’ Rajesh said, taking it and showing it to her.

‘Same with us too!’ Others replied.

‘I’m really glad to hear that!’ She said, smiling at them.

‘Did you know, a female director with your name has directed a superb movie recently…’

‘Is it?’ She asked, holding back her smile.

‘Well, She is that director, you moron!’ The other two cried.

‘Is it? Oh, wow! Congrats, Rashmi!’ He said.

‘Thank You.’ She said.

***

Epilogue

‘Madhavi, congratulations for your debut novel ‘Keep Moving forward is already a best seller and people are loving it.’ The interviewer said.

‘Thank you…’ Madhavi replied, smiling at him.

‘Isn’t Rashmi your other name?’

‘Yes, it is!’ She said.

‘Does that mean this story is a real story and is based on your life story?’

‘It could be or it could be a wild imagination of my silly mind.’

‘Wouldn’t it be nice if the readers know the fact?’

‘Well, I would like to leave it to my readers’ imagination.’ She said, still smiling at him.

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