Self-Belief: A Story by Sheela Iyer

Anika was an artist. She made beautiful paintings and crafted one-of-a-kind purses, candles, doormats, and flowers made from recycled materials. They were remarkable and unmatched.

Not only during festivities but year-round, there was high demand for her goods. Anika’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Harshita, was as talented as her mom. She often helped Anika and won hearts.

10th October 2015

It was Diwali, the “Festival of Lights”. Lights of different hues were lit all around the city.

Like every year, Anika kept her store closed during the day to spend quality time with her husband and daughter. After the evening Pooja at home, she headed to her store. The moment she stepped out of her car, a rocket came from nowhere and hit her face.

Anika cried out in pain and lost consciousness. Hearing her voice, one of her staff members came out. With the assistance of some passersby, they quickly rushed Anika to a nearby hospital, where her husband and daughter arrived in no time.

“Hello, doctor. Is she fine?” Anika’s husband checked.

“I am sorry. The cracker has affected her eyes. She will either have partial vision or may face complete blindness,” The doctor replied after a thorough examination.

None of the family members could believe their ears.

As the months passed, Anika’s husband and in-laws withdrew their support. Their ill-treatment compelled her to seek a divorce, which resulted in the denial of custody of her daughter.

Losing 80% of her eyesight meant no business either. Gradually, her friends and relatives took a back seat, leaving her alone.

One day, Harshita stumbled upon a viral interview that happened to be her mother’s, revealing her inner pain and stress.

Harshita immediately decided to meet her mom. Through sources, she located her address and went to visit her.

Seeing Harshita at the doorstep, Anika stood stunned and couldn’t believe her eyes. Harshita had grown tall and looked beautiful.

“Hi, Mom. I finally found you.” Harshita said and stepped in.

“Bu..but how? No one knew I shifted to Ratnagiri.” Anika asked in surprise.

“Mom, that’s not important. I need to talk to you. I can’t believe you are the same person who once taught me the power of arts and self-belief. How could you then forget? You can still do wonders with 20% eyesight. Your hands can do magic.” Harshita tried to get back Anika’s confidence.

“Diwali crackers transformed my life into a nightmare,” Anika said in a choked voice.

“I know Mom. Start again. Put up a small cart.” Harshita said.

“Oh no. What will others think? Anika said.

“Other’s? Mom. Who stood by your side when you needed them the most? Do what is good for you. I am your daughter and have your qualities in me. Though I cannot lease a shop, I can still assist you. Are you ready for your second innings this Diwali?

With tears floating in her eyes, Anika said, “Yes, my dear. Thank you for bringing light back into my life.”