Ankur was born, after ten years of marriage, to Vijay and Laxmi. They did all they could to have a child. After making laborious infinite rounds to the doctors, they decided to approach the almighty. And as all of us know prayers take their time to travel so they did in the case of Vijay and Laxmi. As waiting became unbearable, Vijay and Laxmi decided to pay a visit to every holy shrine advised to them by anyone, whether a friend, a priest, a mere acquaintance and even strangers. And after ten years of relentless wait, they were blessed with Ankur.
When Ankur was born, he had low birth weight and chances of his survival were slim. Vijay and Laxmi became anxious but God blessed them and at last, Ankur survived. When Ankur attained the age of five, one night he gave a loud and horrendous scream. Vijay and Laxmi, who were sleeping by his side, woke up frightened.
Ankur was shouting with unbearable pain. His hands placed over his head, he was wriggling on the bed. He struggled to bear the pain but to a five-year-old Ankur the pain was overwhelming and, unable to bear anymore, he fainted. Vijay and Laxmi rushed him to the nearest hospital. In the hospital, all kinds of tests ever known to medical science were conducted and still after three months of continued treatment, the mysterious ailment persisted.
Vijay took one-year leave from his office. He took Ankur to every best hospital available in India but to no avail. And when every human effort failed to provide relief to the child, one night Laxmi saw a glimpse of a temple in her dream. She woke up in sweat. She hurriedly woke up Vijay and asked him to find the temple of her dream.
“How could I find the temple when you are the one who dreamed about it?” asked Vijay in a surprising tone.
Laxmi thought for a moment. On realising that Vijay was correct she asked him to sleep.
“We will do something about it in the morning,” reasoned Laxmi with herself.
In the morning, a wandering sage stopped at Laxmi’s house and begged for some food. Laxmi bought some food in a plate and sought blessing for Ankur from the sage.
“Go to Maa Jagdamba’s temple in Rajpura, your child will be cured there,” proclaimed the sage.
Laxmi approached Vijay who was sitting beside Ankur and said, “Get ready Vijay we are going to Rajpura.”
Vijay, already exhausted by Laxmi’s constant pestering to locate the temple, decided not to ask anymore questions and all the three got in the car. Rajpura was about one hour drive from their house in Chandigarh.
On reaching there, Laxmi instantly recognised the temple as the one seen by her in the dream last night. She was astonished on this miracle.
The temple was a huge one and an unusual one too. It was located on the outskirts of the town. The place wore a deserted look. It was painted white with many saffron flags hoisted atop it. The huge door was open and Vijay peeped inside through it. He saw an old pujari (priest) sitting in front of the huge idol of Maa Jagdamba.
The pujari, on sensing some footfalls, looked back and saw a woman accompanied by a man who was carrying a boy in his arms.
Vijay and Laxmi narrated their woes to the pujari.
“It is correct that your son will be cured of this illness but you will have to leave him for one full week here in the temple. And neither of you should come to meet him,” asked the Pujari.
Vijay and Laxmi gave each other a puzzled look. How could they leave their only son in the custody of some unknown person even though the person is a pujari. They politely refused the pujari and as they were about to move out, the pujari called them and said, “You are making a mistake my children, you will have to return as your child can only be cured by Maa Jagdamba and you will repent your decision at night.”
Vijay and Laxmi politely bowed in front of the pujari and returned to their home. That night Ankur got the scariest of attacks ever seen by Vijay and Laxmi. Normally after fifteen minutes of attack, the pain receded and Ankur could sleep peacefully, but that night the pain showed no sign of abatement. After waiting for one-hour Vijay and Laxmi decided to rush to the Temple.
Vijay drove the car as fast as he could with Ankur still crying of pain with his head resting in Laxmi’s lap. They reached the temple and were stunned to find the pujari at the gate.
The Pujari gave a smile to them and said, “I knew you would come my children. I have been waiting for you since you left in the evening.”
The pujari took Ankur in his arms. He asked Vijay and Laxmi to return.
“Do not come back for one week,” the pujari ordered.
Laxmi’s eyes welled up with tears and clearing a lump in her throat, she kissed the forehead her beloved child.
And both of them saw Ankur being carried into the temple by the pujari.
The whole week they kept on sending their domestic servant Raghu to know the well-being of Ankur. They were afraid to disclose the whereabouts of Ankur to their relatives and friends as they would have been seen as mad superstitious parents and every query about Ankur was responded to with an aforethought excuse. Every day in the afternoon, Raghu visited Ankur. He spent time until evening with Ankur. Laxmi waited anxiously for Raghu to return to know the well-being of her only son.
Somehow, one week passed. Vijay and Laxmi rushed to the temple on the eighth day. On reaching there, they found Ankur playing in the veranda of the temple. On seeing Vijay and Laxmi Ankur rushed to them.
“Mummy mummy..,” said Ankur as he giggled on being showered with kisses by Laxmi.
Pujari Baba came out.
“Ankur is cured now. Go inside and take the blessings Maa Jagdamba.”
“But what happened to my son, Pujari Baba?” inquired Laxmi.
“You may not remember my child. But while you were busy seeking blessings of all Gods to get a child, you made a promise with Maa Jagdamda that when your child was be born you would live with that child in her temple for one week. And when after your wish was fulfilled you forgot, Maa Jagdamba, she had to find a way to make you recall her. And though it may sound to you absurd and cruel, this is her way to make you recall your promise.”
However, Laxmi could not recall her promise but still she was thankful to Maa Jagdamba because after that day Ankur never experienced that attack again. At last, he was cured. And all the agonies suffered were forgotten.
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