Dr. Shaloni Patnayak
This was around 7 years back, having street food was strictly prohibited for me and my little brother.
One day, I saw a girl covering her face with a scarf. She was distributing some flavoured candies to the children in the temple nearby.
The next day, I saw her again playing with the children but I noticed one more thing... as soon as she started selling her candies to others, they used to refuse her. Even some children, some children were crying and weeping as they saw her. My anxiousness to see her was taking the heights...
Questions were bumping into my mind...
“Who is she”
“Why are people avoiding her?”
“Why is she always alone with her cart?”
“Why is she only being seen with that same group of children?”
After a few days, it was a hard-sunny morning... me and my brother were again on a walk to the temple.
I saw her coming from the other side, I waved at her and she smiled “You want some candies?”
I said “Yes, a "“Cola Candy” but I don’t have money.”
“No problem, you can pay me tomorrow.” She replied.
"What is your name?" I asked.
"Meena" from the other side...
I met her again on the next day,
I paid her for the previous candy and asked her to make one more for today.
With a great sigh of joy, she started making the candy...
“Why do you cover your face?
"You have such a wonderful voice?” I asked.
With a heavy heart, she said “I can’t, you will be scared of me.”
...But still I convinced her to take out her scarf!
Soon as she revealed her face, I realised... her left eye has been destroyed!
Burn spots all over her face just took my heart away.
I took a deep breath and retrained the tears in my eyes...
And asked “How did this happen to you?”
She replied “Me and my whole family met with a fire accident 3 years back where I lost my eyesight, my 2 younger sisters and mother in that tragic incident. I have only my father left as my family.”
I asked “And what about those kids, with whom you play and have candies?”
She smiled and said “They are the children of a nearby orphanage and those little ones are brothers and sisters to me. Since, I have lost my siblings... I have accepted them as my little buddies and love to spend time with them “
I asked her “Do you have any friends except these children?”
She looked at me with her gloomy eyes...
She explained to me “It’s better to earn a little than to lose everything “
...I don’t want friends who treat me as a victim, glare at me as they are watching a ghost and pour on me their fake sympathetic feelings.
I lose my individuality, my real friends and get drifted into a world full of fake people with their promises.
Rather, I would like to spend time with those who love my soul more than me, those who empathise me whenever I truly need them.
And yes, I don’t have the fear of losing them!!!
I was absolutely amazed by the kind of perception she holds on her mind and the way she appreciated her loved ones!!
I hugged her tightly and asked her "Can,I call you cola candy didi?"
She laughed her heart out and said "It's a lovely name, you can surely call me."
That was the day, I understood the true meaning of beauty and the way how actually beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder!!!
From that day...
Every time we meet, she immediately makes me my favourite “Cola Candy”
And we are being named as “Candy Friends” by my brother!!