Arthi is an Orphan Girl. :
“If you listen to this story, you will feel sorry for Arthi,” the betal said.
Arthi was 12 years of age. He father had died when she was 11 years old. And about six months ago, her mother also breathed her last leaving Arthi aloof! However, Arthi took refuge with her aunt Kowsalya.
That was the beginning of Arthi’s tough time! There were seven members in
the family. And it was Arthi who had to slave there all day long. She must wash their clothes, clean the dishes, sweep the house, go to market and work in the kitchen to cook thrice daily! Thus she was having a tough time!
At night, when everybody had gone to their bedroom in the upstairs, Arthi was forced to sleep in the kitchen. She wept until mid-night cursing her ill-luck. She was not even allowed to eat the tasty food that she had cooked. When the time came for her to eat, Kowsalya would come and serve her just curd rice and a dried up chapatti.
But the inmates never cared about it.
“Let the orphan girl cry. Why should we care?” they thought.
But her crying noise was disturbing to the neighboring young man called Deepak who had his bedroom next to the kitchen.
Arthi’s sobbing irritated him every night. He could not sleep properly.
“What shall I do to stop this nuisance?’ he mused.
But he could not find an answer. One day, when he was passing by a small village, he saw the ashram of a saint.
A middle aged woman was sweeping. There were clothes and vessels piled up near the well at the back yard for washing. He went past. On his way back, he saw the woman washing the clothes.
There is not much difference between this woman and Arthi except for working at different locations! Suddenly an idea struck him! “There is this only woman working here for the sage. Supposing, I joined Arthi over here?” he mused. That will put an end to her cries. In other words, he could sleep undisturbed!
Deepak went in and enquired. The sage said that he would be doing him a favor, if he put Arthi over there. Later, he spoke to Kowsalya and persuaded her. “They will give good salary for Arthi!” he tempted her. And that was how Arthi was put as a servant maid in the sage’s ashram!
It was a relief to Arthi. Although she did the same work there too, she was very well looked after. The sage gave her an apple daily besides providing nutritious food.
And she was never been ill-treated not even once. The peaceful surrounding at the ashram, singing devotional songs, fruits and milk, new dresses and when there was an auspicious day, it was Arthi who would light up the lamp and keep things ready for the sage to perform poojas - all these were very appealing to her.
Six years rolled over in this fashion. Then, Arthi grew up to be a most beautiful maiden. Many people who visited the Ashram enquired about Arthi and some of them openly asked the sage if he would give Arthi’s hand in marriage for their sons.
“She is like my own daughter. She is still young. In a year or two I will perform her marriage on a grand scale. For that purpose, I have made sufficient gold and diamond jewels ready for her!” the sage said.
One day, Deepak was passing that way. Suddenly, he remembered about Arthi. He became curious. As he paused, wondering whether to go inside and ask, he saw her. The girl was gorgeous! She was going from one room to the other!
He stiffened! Could that be that orphan girl -Arthi? He could not believe his eyes! He went in and it was Arthi. The saint was sleeping inside. The middle aged woman was also taking a nap in another room.
“Is that you, Arthi?” he asked.
She turned and looked at him. For a brief moment, she could not recognize him. Then they stood talking. It was then Deepak asked if she would marry him.
Arthi refused flatly. “I am sorry. I have a father and mother here. I cannot desert them in pursuit of a married life!” It annoyed Deepak. But thinking that she was an ungrateful girl, he turned and walked back.
The betal gently punched Vikram on his shoulder. “It was Deepak who had put her in the ashram and redeemed her life. So, was he right in saying that Arthi was an ungrateful girl?”
“No. Deepak put her in the ashram with a vested interest. Because, her cry
was a nuisance to his sleep he had put her over there. So, he was not right in saying that she was ungrateful!” Vikram opined.
“Let me also stage a walk out like Deepak!” the betal laughed as it flew in
Arthi is an Orphan Girl.
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