19 years before at Manori beach Mumbai
"Saab. Vada paav saab". The boy at the beach kept pestering Hiralal. When his trick failed to make any impact he harbored to his last resort "Sir....buy it for the kid. She will love it." He was referring to his 7 year old daughter. Hiralal gave him a cold stare which drove him away. Oblivious of all these happenings around, she was building her sand castle with the precision of an engineer. Irrespective of Vasthu or Feng Shui or anything she decided on doors, window and facade based on her moods and whims. She looked so engrossed in building it as if it was going to be some Indraprastha.
Children have a world of their own. They have fairies, devils, gods, and unicorns with wings and everything possible and impossible on earth. It's a child's beautiful unadulterated imagination and innocence that makes this world a better place to live. Try listening to the babble of a child...and you will understand the beautiful and simple truth. She was a very hyperactive kid and Hiralal had no idea how to keep her occupied. For the past 30 minutes, she was so engrossed in building that castle that she seemed to have forgotten his presence near her. He was not sure if he should be proud of it or be embarrassed for himself.
10 years before at her house in Borivali
She had never come across one person in her life who was so arrogant, self-confident, remarkable and yet down-to-earth as Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. She had read and re read the book thrice in these holidays and each time she read it, she felt closer to it. It looked as if Ayn rand was just standing beneath her and whispering it in her ears. She was right. A building is not just a piece of construction but also a way of our culture and civilization. It is a visual replica of a person who owns it and it is supposed to shout the owner's name from every brick. She now knew what she had to do in her life.
4 years before at Rizvi College, Bandra
"It is remarkable" beamed the professor.
He had not seen a thesis like that in years. While most of the final year thesis papers were either bland copies of Doctorate professor's impractical theory or just copied and pasted version of ancient architecture, she from nowhere had produced an amazingly wonderful idea. While everyone around were busy scampering for IT companies multi story structures with orange colored windows and blue colored glasses, she made a simple and practical design of a children's museum. As of to validate her point of this as an ideal structure, she had neat sketches of similar buildings in the west.
Without consulting her, the professor dispatched the design to the local authorities recommending to build a similar museum in the vacant plot allocated by the government. He knew that she was going to go places.
And one day..
She woke up and turned off the alarm on her right hand side. As always she was an early riser and she had not changed even now. It was the starting day of another week and another day. The sun was up and the weather looked bright. She made some coffee and sipped it trying to gather her chores for the day. As a planner that she was, she made a note of the key tasks that she had to complete today. She had to attend a seminar in the morning and prepare her notes on the same. She reminded herself to book "Harry Potter and Deathly gallows" in Amazon in the evening. It had been on her to-do list for maybe some long time. She had to finish it. Wonder how Rowling was going to end Harry's life.
As per schedule she arrived at class on time and got seated. Few more years and then she could get back to her home and pursue her dream. The dream. From her childhood she had wanted to be an architect like her father. She was proud that she was able to follow his footsteps and equipped to exceed them as well. She made a mental note to call her mom in the evening.
5 minutes later she lay in a pool of blood. One mad man had claimed 32 lives in a single act of cruelty. It was a massacre of 32 lives, 32 families and thousands of dreams and aspirations. A Black day for humanity.
19 years before at Manori beach Mumbai
Half an hour later she seemed satisfied. The building looked perfect. Her dad was happy and promised to buy her the favorite Vanilla Strawberry Ice cream. They walked hand in hand towards the railway station. She looked back and to her dismay saw that one Horse rider had run over her castle.
"Its ok Minal. Lets go" Her father Hiralal tried comforting her.
Unlike the other children of her age, she didn't cry. She started rebuilding the castle from the scratch. There was hope.....there was always hope left in this world.....
P.S: In loving memory of an unknown friend Minal Panchal.