Reading Time: 2 minutes

Parvati had never seen misery her entire life.

Fifty-seven winters and her skin still glistened. Her hair was as black as charcoal. And her smile was a shapely window to a perfect set of teeth, white and neatly lined. She hadn’t been raised by an affluent family, nor did she marry into one. Her upbringing had been simple, her marital status single. The thought of bearing children had never crossed her mind.

And this was the reason many considered her blessed and fortunate. She had escaped the hardships that came with spreading one’s wings and diving into the lives of others and significant strangers. There was only sadness and anger waiting at another’s doorstep. Expectations, responsibilities, and commitments often exhausted a person’s body and mind, robbing them of that youthful shimmer.

But Parvati didn’t agree. It wasn’t what she had not seen but how she had seen it.

She had mastered the art of perspective at a very young age. And the memories were still crisp in her fertile mind. Only a girl of three, her grandfather had slipped tidbits of wisdom to her with spoons of honey and morsels of jaggery. He would tell Parvati that a glass was neither half empty nor half full. Some part was filled liquid and the remaining part was filled with air. Therefore, the glass was always filled to the brim.

And life was to be lived on the same lines. It was exactly how one wished to see it. Either filled with meaning, joy, and satisfaction. Or empty of love, peace, and motivation. Parvati weathered many storms with this blissful mindset. The premature death of her father. Her mother’s defeat to dementia. A brother sentenced to a sightless life. And her own personal and professional battles.

There was nothing that could steal Parvati’s smile. It grew wider with each coming year. Many thought that the woman had lost her mind, but she cared less for gossip or rumors. Parvati did what she could and left the rest to the will of a higher power. It made her life much easier. It made the pain inconsequential. It was the only way she wanted to be.

So Parvati continued to flutter about like a butterfly who knew life was colorful but also limited. And in her fifty-eighth winter, she learned about the tumor in her spine. It was inoperable. There would be much pain and only two months to live. But that didn’t steal the woman’s radiance. She walked till she could and laughed till she pleased. Then when she could do no more, she lay still, breathing in acceptance, breathing out thanks.

On the afternoon Parvati breathed her last, a handful of acquaintances assumed the responsibility of her funeral. They noticed the calm upon her supple face. One woman couldn’t resist herself.

Parvati doesn’t look a day over thirty.

Another voice chipped in.

Probably liposuction and plastic surgery.

Thus began a conversation of assumptions and warped perceptions. The pastime of most individuals.

But as usual, Parvati heard nothing. She remained far from it.

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38 Comments on “A Full Glass of Life – Flash Fiction Story

  1. Parvati is as wise as they come. Never succumbing to pain so people remember her for her beauty. The last few lines were great. Reflecting the characters we find in society.

  2. The radiance still remained even after her last breath. Now that’s a woman who lived life to the fullest. Happiness is the flex.

    • Would love to hope that there are more people like that out there. I have heard of a few who lived life with perpetual optimism.
      Happiness is blissful. Thank you so much. 🙂

  3. There’s a simple nobility to saying “Yes” to life, in spite of everything.

    It simply isn’t possible to constantly “live your best life” unless you’re utterly insane. There will circumstances that spin out of control to bring us down and possibly make us hit rock bottom because the world is a rather unpleasant and harsh place at times.

    But that doesn’t mean that happiness is ever elusive.

    Happiness isn’t something that’s found; it’s created, forged and chosen. It isn’t attained by having the perfect job, house and life. It’s a choice made upon waking and appreciating what you have and choosing to be happy by building a life that makes you happy.

    So, cheers to Parvati for filling her glass with the proper substance.

    • Rhyan, only you could have said this the way you did. With so much honesty and poise.
      “Happiness isn’t something that’s found; it’s created, forged and chosen.”
      This one statement is the key to a happy life.
      Pick up the broken pieces and throw them away if they don’t suit you. Or build something new from them. There’s no rosy picture. It’s the choice you make that decides your fate.
      Thank you for words straight from the heart. 🙂

  4. There was everything in this story, the pain, the emotions, relationships and a subtle yet powerful exercise of choice, which people mostly leave to others….

    • You said it perfectly, Deepak. The choice should remain with a person. And one should choose wisely. Thank you for such a wise and wonderful comment. 🙂

  5. Such a beautiful story. I loved the grandfather’s wisdom. I’ll keep that in mind in future, it’s the perfect philosophy! Loved the little nasty twist at the end, ‘possibly liposuction’… People judge the world by their own standards and cannot possibly understand ‘otherness’ outside their tiny mind. Great story, Terveen!

    • Thank you so much, Britta. You sum up narrowminded people very well. Their thoughts and words are limited to their own warped perceptions and easily offended natures. And the full glass is really an eyeopener. 🙂

  6. Ah! That ending is brilliant, Terveen. You draw out so much about life, and the creation of life through people’s perceptions and reality-making. And, the part about the glass always being full, part with water, part with air, is amazing. Lovely story, beautiful writing, as always, my friend. 😊

    • Thank you so much, Jeff. 🙂
      Isn’t life just a perspective? How we view it and deal with it. No doubt, tough times and hardships are difficult to get through but never losing faith is the key to survival.
      Take care and keep going!

      • You’re most welcome, Terveen. Always. Indeed, life is all perspective, agreed. Mmm. Yes, faith is crucial; and, yes, keep going! Have a lovely rest of your week, Terveen. 😊

  7. I have noticed people with inner turmoils who can lash out at others and curse a peaceful life for no reason. Parvati is the exact opposite and wish her all the joy in heaven.

    • Bitterness often spills on to others. I have experienced it myself. But control is essential. People like Parvati are very few.

  8. I loved it. People just can’t keep quiet, they have to comment no matter what,without thinking or what the place or situation they are in.

    • That’s so true. It’s like they can’t digest someone’s peace or happiness. They have to add their bitter two cents worth. In this case, they don’t even excuse a dead person.
      Thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂

  9. This is such a well-written story with a fresh perspective. I wish more people, including me could be like Parvati. Sadly, these days it’s all about pulling each other down and judging without knowing. Thank you for such a lovely story.

    • Thank you so much, Michelle. 🙂
      I know this is easier said than done. But there’s always room for some improvement. And if only every individual would focus upon themselves instead of passing judgment on others. The world could be a more pleasant place to live in.

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