Painful yet gainful gifting (a short story)

Chanchal and Gulgul

Once upon a time, there were two close friends named, Chanchal and Gulgul. Chanchal was a frisky butterfly and she loved the sunshine, prancing from one pretty flower to another. She cherished the openness of the fields and the strong aromatic nectar that lured her for a hearty meal. Gulgul, a tough piece of jaggery, on the other hand feared melting away in the sun and so preferred the cool shade of his small yet neat home inside the hollow of a sturdy Banyan tree.

Chanchal would sit on a branch closest to Gulgul’s entrance and chat away with him. Gulgul waited to hear the soft chirping of his friend Chanchal. They loved each other’s company; but alas, they could not be together! Chanchal hated darkness and so never visited Gulgul’s house. Gulgul on the other hand feared sunshine and was content hearing his friend’s voice from within his home than being scorched in the sun’s heat outside. Because of the reservations, theirs was a restricted friendship.

Seeing their plight, the wise old Banyan tree decided to do his bit. He began counselling Chanchal and Gulgul individually. He advised them to bring a unique gift for each other. The gift should focus on helping the receiver overcome the reservation, if not completely, at least bit by bit. Both loved the idea and thought about working on their secret gift.

A few weeks passed by. One fine sunny morning, Gulgul woke to the shrill chirps of his dear friend. She had left a gift at his door and was asking him to step out to take it. Fretting away, Gulgul tried to play it easy. Excitedly he thanked his friend and further said that he too had a gift for Chanchal and so she must come inside to take a look. The wise old Banyan tree sensed reluctance on either side. “Oh! That’s another problem now”, thought the Banyan tree. He quickly joined their conversation and told them that friendship many times requires sacrifices and the stronger one should usually take the first step. After a while, Chanchal bravely announced she will take the initiative and go in to meet Gulgul. Gulgul’s joy knew no bounds.

As soon as Chanchal entered the house, she had a wonderful surprise. Dear Gulgul had made some adjustments in his house to make Chanchal feel comfortable. He had chiselled a wee bit of hole atop for a thin ray of sunlight and cool breeze to streak inside. This would not harm Gulgul much. Further, he had a mirror placed opposite the entrance of his house. He had gone out of his way to find that old, huge mirror from his attic and wiped it clean. Standing inside his house, Chanchal saw a reflection of the outside, beautiful and bright world. She felt so much at home now! She could not thank Gulgul enough. She hugged him and sang a beautiful song for him. Then happily she brought forth her gift. She placed the gift on Gulgul’s head. Gulgul suddenly felt as if the temperature drastically fell to a pleasant coolness. Chanchal had made a colourful hat-umbrella of many petals and dried leaves. Wasn’t that cool! The scars on Chanchal’s delicate wings spoke a lot about her efforts in making the hat-umbrella. Gulgul now had a strange boldness to step out in the sun. Without Chanchal’s asking, he ran outside and called out to her to join him.

Both the friends enjoyed their wonderful times together now. Neither sunshine nor darkness could confine their friendship. As Gulgul and Chanchal set out for a stroll into the vast open fields, the wise old Banyan tree smiled and shouted out to them, “Neither the hat nor the mirror is the gift guys. Your small adjustments and sacrifices are the hidden gifts that help strengthen your friendship or any relationship…just as the greatest Man ever, gifted Himself as the best Sacrifice! Here’s to blessed gifting then!”


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