As she descended from the stairs, her knees felt wobbly. Slowly and steadily she took one step at a time. With each step, she hoped that she wouldn't fall. Her right hand held the iron railing so tightly that small beads of perspiration formed on the inside of her hand. The corners of the railing dug into her skin which made the tip of her fingers red and it pained. But that pain was nothing as compared to what she had been carrying since ages. But did that really matter now. She had learned to live with it. All these years, she wanted to end her life and get over with it for once and for all. But she had survived. Every moment, every day, every week, every month, every year. All those days that went by. All those days that she suffered. She emerged as a new Jaya. She tried her best to conquer her own self in every way and she succeeded. But somewhere deep inside she knew that the wound had left a permanent mark and had left her crippled for her to limp the entire life.
But she was a not one of those who would loose so easily. Her indispensable fate had taught her to fight the odd. And there she was standing on her legs with her right hand on the railing and with a crutch under her left arm, fighting to climb down the last 7 stairs left out of the total 9. That was her way of looking at things. Her way of making things look easy. Her positive attitude. And that is what made her survive the obstacles that she was destined to face in her life.
She was born a very healthy child. She had often heard her grandmother telling her about what relatives and neighbors used to say when she was born. They used to point to her mother and say, "Look Neena. Look at your daughter. She will look like a princess when she turns into a woman". Or they would say, "This girl can become Miss Universe" and would even envy her parents and say "Mr and Mrs Sharma, I wish my daughter was as pretty as yours". Her grandmother would tell her stories of how every mother was jealous of their small, yet closely binded family. "The evil eyes took the better of you, Jaya", she would say and then would turn her head away so that Jaya couldn't see her tears. But Jaya always knew that her grandmother was weeping. She wouldn't say anything. She didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to console that old woman who had brought her up after her parents died in a plane crash. She didn't know whether a hug would be enough for all that she had done for her after she was diagnosed to have polio. She was 4 years old then. Living alone with her dearest grandmom. No parents to take her to school. No parents to scold her. No parents to love her. But only her grandmother who had become so important in her life that she did not feel the absence of her own parents.
Trying her best to hurry down the stairs, Jaya felt weak. This is not how she was. Her way was different. Where had her positive attitude gone. This was not the time for her to loose the battle. She had to make it fast. She had to go to her grandmom. She had to climb down those stairs and call out to somebody for help. The phone. Thats all she needed. "How could I have been so irresponsible. How could I have left the cordless downstairs." And it was taking more than ever to climb down. But she had to hurry up. Or else it would be late. She had to do something for her grandmother. The doctor. Yes, the doctor. She wanted to call him. But the bloddy phone. She had left it downstairs. She wanted to slap herself. She couldn't imagine her life without her grandmother who was lying on her death bed counting her last few minutes and there she was stuck on the staircase unable to go on...