â€œThey told me that the journey was more important that the destination itself, that stopping on the way and taking time to smell the roses would make my journey all the more pleasant and I would enjoy my voyage. What they did not tell me was that there would be thorns in the rose bush, that you would have to take many detours before you reach your destination and that most of the times, there would be no roses to stop and smell, instead you would just have to imagine and move on. But then again, life does not come with a handbook and most of the times you just have to take that step forward trusting only your instincts.â€ Astha was talking to the eager faced students who seemed to be enjoying the endless nonsense she was uttering.
Here she was, called for giving a counselling session to the teenagers who had to be ‘shown the right path’ in life according to the school principal. She had always wanted to be with the children and spend more time with them being their friend. Even though her sessions were called ‘counselling’ they were far from being boring lectures giving advise to the teenagers. The children as well as she thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and they usually parted as good friends.
Her life journey had not been smooth, she had faces twice as many downs as there were ups. Losing her parents at a young age seemed like the beginning of all her troubles. Her uncle sweet talked her into signing many papers which eventually made him the owner of all her parents’ wealth and she was not left with a single rupee.
As a teenager she was reckless and did not care about what she did to herself and to others. She was into bad company, the sort that adopted her and got her into alcohol and drugs, the sort of kids who had truckloads of money to waste thanks to their stinking rich parents.
Once when she was high and was not in her senses Mr. Iyer had literally picked her off from the streets and taken her to his family. She was bathed, fed and taken care of thanks to his wife. Within two days they had realized that Astha was a bright kid with lots of potential. They educated her and took her into their family as their own daughter.
She had found her calling thanks to the opportunities provided to her by the family. Post her stint with an NGO that worked for the welfare of street kids, she forayed into teaching and counselling. Because of his she handled herself in spite of her past and her candid behaviour she was a favourite among the kids. She had come a long way and she was proud of the journey she had undertaken.
Today when she was with these kids, she felt the most alive, as if this was what she was born for, as if these were the roses that life wanted her to smell on her journey to her ultimate destination.