The panoramic view of the valley and sunshine made the environment greatly enjoyable, and both of them took great delight in it. The couple sunned themselves outside their house. But, due to a serious injury the man had incurred a month previous, which was still a fresh trauma in their minds, there was not much romance for them on this day.
Suddenly, a cut off hand of some human fell exactly before them.
“Oh God! What’s that? A human hand?!” She shrieked with fright and turned her eyes towards the sky instinctively. She shaped her hands like a parasol and looked again upwards and noticed a flying eagle overhead. It made her believe that the fallen hand slipped out of the eagle’s grasp. The fright set them on foot. They got panicky. The sky slowly clouded.
“A cut off human hand, picked by an eagle from somewhere, it’s mind-boggling!” she told her husband.
Both were scared and fixed their fearful eyes on the fallen hand. They looked at it strangely. They were terrified. The sudden fall of that human hand sent them into a spin.
She took off her shawl and laid it upon the unclaimed hand; this was her tribute to the person to whom the hand belonged. The incident brought tears to their eyes.
“What if it is your hand?!” She uttered with moistened eyes and humility. These words reflected her simplicity and gentleness. She profusely loved her husband.
'True, sometimes intelligence irritates and silliness delights!' Her husband thought. “O’ you silly, how it could be mine!?” He replied to his wife in an endearing tone. His satirical remark carried a plentiful love within. The loaded comment inherited an emotion weighing more than praise. His wife too felt the nicety of that pointed word.
“How could a separated hand remain intact for a whole month?! God knows why the vultures have not gobbled it up!” Tears welled up from his eyes and he made no effort to wipe them. His wife too sobbed. So in an attempt to deflect her attention, he remarked: “God Almighty is all Powerful! He can make the unusual to happen”. He continued and asked his wife, “If you could check it minutely! Might be, it could happen to be my very hand!”
This time it sounded gibberish to her. “There seems no possibility to believe that a cut off hand could remain intact for a period of one month!” She replied, while removing tears with the corner of her scarf.
“Who knows – some bird might have picked that hand up and preserved it in its nest, and then it would have suffered the same fate as we humans do! Who knows – that bird too may have been spread out into pieces in a bomb explosion! Who knows – the eagle noticed it in that nest today and grasped! Then it fell from its claws accidently!” Perhaps, he himself wished to discover if that cut off hand was his own now.
Dreams give life to gloomy people. Dream is a hope, and he who lacks it, makes his own attitudes hardened.
When wishes and needs mingle, perception becomes sharp; and fiction is weaved. Perhaps, he was caught up in that state!
“I feel fearful to check it!” She pointed towards the hand, topped by her shawl.
“I too sail in the same boat!” He responded, smilingly, but not pleasantly!
“Might be, it could really be your hand! Better to check it”. She encouraged her husband.
“After all, we have to make out what it is! We cannot allow it to remain as it is, topped by my shawl”, she added.
“You’re right that way, but somehow my heart isn’t in it.” A month old incident flashed through his mind and he poured out his heart.
“Sometimes, we need to harden our heart and accept the realities…….” she heaved a deep sigh and continued, “even if enervated” she completed the sentence.
They both palpitated with nervousness. They both choked from emotion. Their tongue and lips dried out. They stepped ahead slowly, sore-footedly. They glanced at the shawl covering the cut off human hand, but neither could muster the courage to uncover it.
The traces of early evening pink had appeared in the sky, but it hadn’t darkened yet. They both stared beyond the shawl covered hand at the patches of blue sky peeking through the clouds and tried to build their hopes up, ignoring the blur of clouds. Their perception though was not similar, but their ideas were in harmony with each other.
In the meantime, an eagle jumped, snatched the shawl and escaped with it. They were stunned. Both looked upwards spontaneously and then the exposed cut off hand caught their view.
They wondered if it was the same eagle who had dropped the hand there or some other one! Nevertheless, they both derived mysterious inferences from that event, their heads trapped in the cobwebs of superstitions. They were both lost in sobering thoughts.
Suddenly he startled, because he had an experience of wondering and knew that people who get deeply involved in wonders at last wander aimlessly. That’s why he tried to bring back his wife from the same hang up and asked her, “It seems probable that this hand may be mine!”, pointing towards the uncovered cut off hand there.
That dialogue really diverted the attention of his wife and she again fixed her eyes on the cut off hand. She eyed the cut off hand with curiosity. Then she smiled. It was not a thrilling smile, but a smile like the mystery of Mona Lisa, linked to flickering eyes. First she is smiling, then the smile fades. A moment later the smile returns only to disappear again.
“O’ my God!” she wondered.
“What happened?” asked the curious hubby.
“This is a right hand of somebody, while you lost your left hand in that bomb blast, God forbid!” Her eyes again watered.
He moved his eyes towards his left wrist subconsciously. “God is the Supreme Sage! You see the Divine Judgment and Technique, that the right hand is not the substitute to the left, while both are virtually the same hands!” He heaved a deep sigh.
“Better to go for its burial, I suppose!” she suggested. Sometimes, more thinking on a subject generates confusion, so she wanted to close this chapter now.
“No, no, no! I will never allow burying it!” Emotions overwhelmed him and old memories turned him restless.
“Why!?” she asked him. A little surprised, a touch of annoyance and a tad of perplexity seemed inherent in the question.
“Yes, I want another eagle to come again and take this hand somewhere else”, he replied in a hateful tone.
“But it doesn’t sound humane, and carries no ethics. That’s tantamount to disgracing a human”. She remarked.
“Who can assert that this hand is worthy to be valued? Who can say this is not the hand that bullied the feeble? Who can claim this is not the hand that teased people? Who can maintain this is not the hand that wrote provocative lies? Who can affirm this is not the hand of an evil man? If it carried all these adjectives, then surely this hand is not worthy for burial”. He looked to be suffering a lot and wanted to pour out his heart.
“What has happened to you? I’m afraid I have never found you so sentimental!” His wife reacted.
“Yes, I stand by what I said. It doesn’t deserve a burial till its reality is found out. Its identification is required before our showing any respect to it”.
“I deviate from your opinion. I believe this unclaimed part of a human body demands a share of kindness from our side. Manners maketh the man. It sounds unethical to disrespect a human hand, I’m afraid; be that man of any color, cast and creed, we need to show respect”. His wife didn’t subscribe the judgment of her husband and continued, “Might be, your cut off hand too could have slipped from the claws of some eagle and was given burial with due respect from the place where dropped”.
“I can’t believe it; and that’s what haunts me actually! Gone are the days when hands were shaken; in the present day world, each ones fist is tightly closed! Gone is the goose that lay the golden eggs. Who cares today for moral values?” Her husband lamented and went on saying, “Hands are cursed because of their evil deeds”.
“But you always did good to others…….” His wife blurted out.
“It is difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff” Her husband explained.
“If we suppose the man were a bad one; how is a hand blamed for that?” She argued, “It is the mind that makes a hand good or bad, I suppose!” she added.
“That’s why I talk of connection usually. It is the connection that renders anything good or bad. Since the hand too is linked to the mind, be it having its separate identity, nevertheless it is to be held responsible for the approach and perspective of the mind” his wife’s argument provoked him to a lecture on the subject. “That’s why a soldier bears the brunt, although having no role in waging war or signing treaty”, he supplemented his explanation.
“But it can’t be ruled out that the man, to whom this hand belongs, could be alive. May be, he could be a poet of genius and used this hand in giving vent to his hopes through his pen. May be, he could be a craftsman having special skills and making things beautiful with this hand! ……”.
Their conversation was not yet concluded when an eagle jumped, grasped the hand and flew up and away with it!
Both were wonderstruck and they looked at each other with strained eyes!