Showing posts with label story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label story. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tiggu the Tiger's Friendship

Once upon a time there was a tiger in a forest named Tiggu. He was very strong. He used to disturb and frighten everyone in the forest. Nobody liked him since he was very irritating.

One day, while walking through the forest, Tiggu the tiger accidentally stepped over a thorn. It pierced his hind leg badly, and it started bleeding. Tiggu ran back home. It was very painful. He wept for hours, but the pain did not go down. He began to feel hungry. Pain and hunger made him weak. He couldn't even move.

The next day, Rabbu rabbit and Denzu deer were walking past Tiggu the tiger's cave. They heard a very weak weeping sound from inside Tiggu's cave. They listened for some time.
Rabbu rabbit said: "It is Tiggu the tiger's voice. He is crying. Shall we go and see?"

Denzu deer said: "No! I am afraid. He will kill and eat me. May be he is playing a trick on us."

"But let us just see. What if he is really in some danger? My mother told me that I must help other animals," said Rabbu rabbit.

"Ok then. We shall take a risk. Let us go and see." said Denzu deer.

They tiptoed into Tiggu's den and saw that Tiggu the tiger was indeed weeping and rolling on the floor in pain.

They hid behind the door and asked him, "Hi Tiggu, what is wrong? Why are you weeping?"

Tiggu said through his tears, "Please help me. There is a thorn in my foot. I can't move. I am dying. Please help me."

Rabbu rabbit said: "We shall help you. But how do we know that you will not kill and eat us. Promise that you will not kill us or disturb other animals unnecessarily ever again. See, you don't have any friends. If you are nice to others, you will have many friends."

Tiggu said: "Oh yes. I shall be very nice to everybody from today onward. I will not disturb anyone unnecessarily from today. Please help me. Please..."

Rabbu rabbit and Denzu deer slowly went near Tiggu. They saw the thorn in his foot. Slowly, they pulled the thorn out and applied medicine on the wound. Tiggu felt very relaxed. The pain went away.

Tiggu realized that he needs friends in the forest to live happily. So he thanked Rabbu rabbit and Denzu deer profusely. They became very good friends. That day onwards, Tiggu never disturbed any other animal in the forest. He became friends with everyone- a happy tiger. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Craving

The darkness of morbid evenings! He twisted and turned in his creaking old iron chair cursing the evening, and all the sadness it brought with it. To make the curse perfect, he spat on the dirty wall next to him, and looked for a beedi. He liked a beedi between his index and middle fingers whenever he felt emasculated. And he smoked a lot!

Life was such for him. He started on a high note, but had a few hurdles from the beginning. He graduated from a good University with a first class, and found a job that paid well. But within a year, he fell sick. His backbone was giving him trouble. His company gave him a month's salary in advance and sent him away with an "all-the-best" card. Nobody wanted a liability on them.

He spent his savings in the hospital. When discharged he looked for a job, but ended up getting the smoking habit instead. He did odd jobs, ran errands, taught a few kids and earned a living.

When he looked back into his life, he saw only smoky discreet images. He was never clear about his life. The only proper job he had was sort of a joy for him, but it did not last long. He was worn out and tired of life.

There were no beedis! He felt helpless. He didn't have money. He had nothing to eat. He began wondering about his life as if it were a movie script. Where would the script writer take his life from there? There weren't many characters, there was no heroine and no villain except life itself, no twist and absolutely no beauty! This script would be a disaster. No script writer would hesitate to tear it up and throw it away. " I have reached a dead end", he said to himself with a sad smile.

He decided to go to the shop and beg for a beedi. He was hungry and felt dejected, but all he wanted was a beedi. A simple beedi could set his life alright. Walking half naked to the shop, he thought about the beedi he was going to smoke. A beedi that gave out golden smokey clouds into the despair of his lonely sadness. He could see the impending joy of his life. A beedi was all he needed.

Shop was across the road. He could see it. There were rows of Dinesh beedi packets arranged in lines behind the shopkeeper. A packet cost three Rupees. But he just wanted one beedi. "The shopkeeper would be generous", he thought to himself. "Afterall, I have given him a lot of business", he thought with a spark in his eyes.

He set his hopes high on the goodness of the shopkeeper and crossed the road with the image of a golden beedi in front of him.

*****************

THE shopkeeper had seen the half naked man coming towards his shop. He knew what he was coming for, and kept a beedi ready, along with a few words of advice and scolding. The shopkeeper always scolded him for not making the most of his education and talent. He was capable of achieving much more. He had a smile on his face imagining how he would come and beg for a beedi, and how he would refuse and pretend to be angry.

THUD!

The shopkeeper saw the half naked man landing on the road, right under the tires of a lorry. He turned his eyes away in shock as the lorry ran over him mercilessly and sped away without stopping!

The beedi fell from his hand as blood spread over the road. And a few words of advice and scolding escaped his lips slowly. Those words were emasculated, as if they were craving for a beedi.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

As if There was No Tomorrow

That little dot in his heart began swelling as she disappeared from his sight. The colourless dot became big and black and globular. He felt suffocated. As he strained to follow the dust trail of her car, he realised that she was alone. "I am alone."

Why does this happen all over again breaking my heart the hundredth time into uncountable pieces! He swore as tears rushed to his still eyes and gushed down his stubborn bearded face. "She comes, she goes. I remain here like an island waiting to be inhabited."

The swell in his heart became unbearable. Rubbing his migraine infested temples he staggered back to his bed leaving the front door open. He didn't feel like eating, drinking or having a bath. He just felt dead enough to fall on to the bed. The bed still retained her scent, which saddened him even more.

Should I drink? He asked himself. Or should I have some medicine? He couldn't bother to answer his own questions. In the agony of being alone with a migraine and a blotch in the heart, he disappeared into deep deep sleep.

*****

A few miles away, on a moving car, another migraine was pounding its way into the core of her sanity. She felt like opening the door of the car and jumping out into the heavy traffic. She held a handwritten letter in her hand. One page in black ink. She was clutching it so hard that it crumpled so badly and was wet from the sweat of her palm. He had given it to her before she boarded the car. With thumping heart she read it. She cried so loud that the driver pulled the car over. "My heart would wrench and I will die."

Every time she left him, she would decide to stay the next time. But she was never able to decide. She was sad to leave him alone, but life had to go on. And she had to leave.

She looked at the letter one last time, shredded it in her hands and threw it out the window. Then looking out at the rocky hills by the roadside, she did what she always forced herself to do- turned her heart into stone by holding her breath for a really long time. It helped.

While the tear drops on her cheek dried in the wind, she drifted into deep deep sleep.

*****

At home, in the kitchen, a few black ants were trying to get what was left in a small glass bottle of poison. They too slowed down gradually and slept- as if there was no tomorrow.


Monday, December 08, 2014

Doll's House: an amateur analysis of narrative mode, characterization and structure


The Doll’s House is a short story written by Katherine Mansfield. It has about 2500 words and is within the norm of short story. The protagonist Kezia leads the reader through her innocent childhood experiences. The story speaks of and is knit around the social evil of class separation and propagation of class consciousness from generation to generation. The doll’s house, itself a symbol arrives the Burnell family and sets the story into motion. 
The narrative mode used is description. The author uses picturesque language to paint a visual picture of the setting and characters. But she never is overgenerous with the number of words. Her descriptions are crisp and to the point. Sufficient details are given about situations, things and characters. However she takes extra care and space to describe the doll’s house which has central space and layers of significance in the story. Speech mode is used wherever verbal exchanges take place. 
 
There are only two major scenes and one last scene- the Burnells’ house, the school and the last scene where the Kelveys sit and reflect. There are three scene shifts and all of them are natural and essential for the flow of the story.
There are about 10 characters named in the story. But if one counts only the active or significant ones, ignoring the mere mention of names, we get six which is within the norm of a short story. They are, Aunt Beryl, Isabel, Kezia, Lil, Else and Lena (in the order of appearance). Among them Kezia, Lil and Else are central to the story.
The story follows linear chronological progression. The incidents mentioned happen sequentially in order. The story begins on one fine summer day at the Burnells’ home when the doll’s house gifted by Mrs. Hay was brought in. Everyone is amazed at the beauty and details of the doll’s house. The three children of the house are lured by the novelty of the new plaything. The next day at school they tell their friends about it and all are amazed. Everyday two of them would visit the Burnells’ and see the doll’s house. The school also has the Kelvey children Lil and Else who are not of the same class as others. There is no one to speak to them, no one to like them. Except them all have seen the doll’s house. Kezia wants to show it to them, but has no permission. One day when everyone is busy with the guests, she leads the Kelveys to the doll’s house. But she is caught red handed and the Kelveys are chased away. The Kelvey children walk away in fear. When they sit to relax, they feel happy for the little they see of the doll’s house.
The author uses third person narrative to tell us the story. This technique is advantageous in letting us know of what is within characters’ minds. Narrator is a person other than the characters. This omniscient narrator lets us into the mental, psychological and emotional landscapes of all the characters. By looking at life from outside, the author has a bird’s eye view of the social mentality. Because of this point of view the evil of class segregation and its shameless perpetuation is evidently visible to the reader, but not to the characters.
In the beginning of the story we see that the doll’s house comes from outside. It is foreign. It is new and beautiful with all its red carpets, paintings with golden frames, red and green furniture, beds and bedclothes, cradle, stove, dresser and cutlery. The hook is stuck fast. It takes a bit of effort to open it. It also has a smell that is unbearable. Though it is well decorated and good looking, it emanates a stench so unbearable that it could make any one seriously ill according to Aunt Beryl. But when the attractions within are revealed, they were ready to ignore the stench to embrace the pleasure of the beauty of the doll’s house.
Here, the doll’s house represents the society itself. It has a stench very unbearable. But when opened- like the doll’s house- it reveals the pleasures within and makes everyone forget the stench. The stench is the cancer of social evil; to be precise, class separation and pride. People are ready to be blind to this evil because it gives them access to certain privileges and pleasures. People satisfy themselves with the artificial structures of the society while being inert to the stench of branding in the name of class.
What is the result? The members of the doll’s house become like the father and mother dolls- sprawling very stiff, insensitive and stiff as though they had fainted. And the children- asleep. All of them are unfit for the house. “They didn’t look as thought they belonged”.
There is another important consequence. Most of the observers were overwhelmed by the pomp of the doll’s house, but failed to see the most beautiful object in it- an exquisite lamp with white globe on the dining table, which was so life like. Everyone except Kezia missed the lamp. Why? What made her see it? Kezia is the only one in the family who is not yet indoctrinated with the evil of class system. In the innocence of her childhood, untainted by pretences of pride and prejudice she sees the lamp and liked it frightfully. It was the only thing- animate or inanimate- that fit in the doll’s house. The lamp seemed to smile to Kezia, to say, “I live here”. For her, “it was the best of all”. Even Isabel forgot to mention the lamp while boasting about it! It was the only real thing and it was the only thing unnoticed by the perpetrators of class system.
The school is a place where everyone mixes. It is the same place where innocent children practice the evil of class system learned at home. The Kelvey children- Lil and our Else- were the victims. They were the daughters of a poor but hardworking washerwoman. Her hard work doesn’t earn her respect, but is labeled by her poverty. Her poverty enabled the class society to decide that her husband was in prison. Even teachers looked down upon the Kelveys because they were daughters of a hardworking but poor woman. It is as if people couldn’t understand it was poverty that made Lil wear a dress assembled from curtains and table clothes! Else, an interesting and important character is always silent. No one has seen her smile. It seems she has accepted her fate of being hated. Or may be she represents her class whose heart is frozen because of centuries of being treated with hatred and arrogance.
Little Kezia desired to invite the Kelveys to see the doll’s house. “Certainly not. You know quite well why not” was the answer from her mother. Aunt Beryl also says the same in the end of the story. But truly, does anyone really know why not? I don’t think so. The myth of class is handed down generations as an abstract concept concretized in attitudes and actions. What is the reason? This is a relevant question, and I don’t think the stake holders have a reasonably convincing answer! Lena’s insensitive mockery at school is an evidence of this. Does that child know why she did so? No. She was only following what was instructed. Here we also see that the victims are also trained to take insult- with a silly, shame-faced smile.
Let’s come back to Kezia. She is innocent. Untainted by class system. When she got an opportunity she invited the Kelveys to see the doll’s house. She wanted to share the joy. She has a sense of justice; all have seen the doll’s house, so must the Kelveys. But the guardians of purity pounce on her innocent attempt and thwart her attempt. Aunt Beryl chases the Kelveys and gives Kezia a sermon, cold and proud.
Kelveys take the scolding without surprise and leave the scene. Even the omniscient narrator pretends as if she doesn’t know what’s going on in the Kelvey’s thoughts. But then the sweetest part of the story follows. Before falling silent, with a smile, our Else says, “I seen the little lamp”. The smile is rare, but real. Else shares something in common with Kezia- probably innocence of childhood which enables them to see the lamp. They are content with seeing the lamp. Else’s smile, together with Kezia’s innocence leaves the reader with the hope of a better tomorrow where everyone is equal.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Lost in the Grey Clouds'


M. Mathews Sajit

Grey fields. To the edges of what he knows to be the world. Grey fields spread across the breadth and width of his world. Grey fields were all he could see. And of course, rising dust pulling together all it could, forming a pillar of wasted fabric. It well represented the predicament of the story teller. A pillar of waste, held against the background of grey fields. His writing pad and paper would say the same. He hadn't written anything for the last two years!

He couldn't bear it anymore. From his window on the first floor, he could see the wasted village. A village full of people with no dreams left! How inspiring is it? From his writer's chair, he could see almost everything in the village- the deserted church, the once-lively market, closely built houses, the village school... all covered in dust. But he could not see a single bit of inspiration for him to write.

For once, he felt that his career as a writer has come to an end. May be, like the life of a man, the life of a writer also has to come to an end. He has written about everything in the village. By the time he was on the peak of fame as the village story teller, he had exhausted all the realistic themes and had already started treading the fantastic world of philosophy and the transcendental. Using symbols and images, he wrote epics about the life of the village. Everyone identified themselves in the stories of the story-teller. He could relate his letters to the lives, dreams, disappointments and despair of the villagers. What they were and what they couldn't be appeared in the story-teller's themes. They loved him, and he wrote about them in return.

It was since two years that he began to feel this dryness. He couldn't write a word. He looked into the village through the window of his house day and night. But he couldn't spot anything that he hadn't written about. He had exhausted everything. When he realized this, he wanted to jump off the village's highest hill and kill himself. He felt that meaning had escaped his being. He couldn't think of living without meaning! Meaning was all he searched for in all his writings. “And now, see what has happened to me?” wailed the story-teller.

This was a standstill. He couldn't bear becoming a character in his own writing. He remembered writing the story of a man who sold the meaning of his own life just to buy food. That was a story that won him much acclaim. Writing that story was a great struggle for him. How could one sell one's own life's meaning to buy bread! For days, he couldn't eat or sleep because he couldn't understand the meaning of what he was writing. He denied the meaning of what he was writing. Yet he couldn't stop writing. Long after writing, he gave it to one of his priced readers- the village cobbler. He was wonder-struck by the simplicity and transparency of the story. He found himself in the story and believed that all could find themselves in it. It was he who popularized this story and won him great fame.

Now, sitting at his window, with the empty writing pad, he realized that his own character was taking life in himself. May be this happens to every writer he has heard of a few other famous writers who died as they imagined their characters would die. He no longer was able to write meaningful stories. “Does that mean that I am selling the meaning of my own life? Am I taking my own essence into the stall of this dilapidated village market?” He couldn't bear the thought.

Taking a stroll across the room, the story-teller took a sip of his favourite wine from the red bottle. That was the last one left in his house; may be in the whole village. That wine has given him inspiration to author many stories. Now even that wine is finished. The stroll with the wine, instead of consoling his doubts about his existence, deepened his anxiety. The image of his empty red wine bottle, along with the dusty grey village was enough to put him to greater despair.

He stopped at the window, struck by surprise. “What am I looking at? How did this...”

Suddenly, he was full of new sprouts, shoots and green leaves. He looked like a spring-bound tree adorned with the joy of hopefulness. He felt like getting new ideas. They perched onto him like birds on a fine spring day. He stared through the window and slowly sat at his writing desk, grabbing his old pen. He began with a heading- 'Lost in the Grey Clouds'.

He never looked up from his paper. He began writing a story. It was the story of a village. In the story the village lost all its glory and joy when time sprayed dust over it, slowly through the years. No one bothered to dust their houses or books or faces. No one swept their courtyards or backyards. Gradually over the years, everything turned grey. Houses, books, faces, courtyards, backyards, … everything turned grey.

Strange things began happening in their village. First, animals started dying together. Birds disappeared from the village. Water in the wells and the stream tasted and looked different. Some of them found it difficult to open their eyes because eyelids stuck due to dust. They lost track of time since all their clocks stopped working. Some woke up in the evening and some went to bed in the morning. Since sky was grey, they couldn't tell when was day!

Villagers did not realize anything until one fine morning when the priest's daughter died of no reason. When the village apothecary cut her open on the postmortem desk, he was shocked. Her blood was grey. He had never seen a thing like that. So he cut her heart to know why. It was also grey. Her lungs, kidneys, intestines, bowels, and everything was grey in colour!

The news about village priest's daughter's grey inside spread like wild fire. Soon, the village gathered in the Churchyard to discuss the issue. Most of them kept quiet as they didn't know what to or how to discuss. The apothecary explained what he saw. He also explained that he could not explain what he saw. The priest was asked whether his daughter had turned a witch. The priest replied saying he had never seen a quieter and more virtuous girl than his own daughter in ages.

The village wondered why the priest's daughter turned grey, not realizing that all of them had turned grey long back. That not only the body, their minds were also grey.

It was then that the blacksmith's son tripped into the forgotten pool in the churchyard. The blacksmith jumped into the pool to save his child. While everyone was looking, he emerged with his child. “oooh”, exclaimed everyone simultaneously. The blacksmith and child looked different. Uh, clean so to say. They looked fair and glowing.. and.. clean! Everyone looked at themselves and again at the blacksmith and his kid. They touched themselves and saw that they are covered in dust. They began dusting themselves. Some jumped into the pool to clean themselves. In a few moments, dust rose from the churchyard, like from a race course.

“My little daughter! What has befallen you...” wailed the priest. It was then that they realized why his daughter died. It was then that they realized why birds had fled the village, why animals were dying, why water tasted and looked different. It was all because of dust! By the time they decided to clean their houses, books, faces, courtyards and backyards, the priest was already dusting the church.

For the next two days, sun did not rise in the village. The sky was covered with clouds of dust and they could 'see' the wind. On the third day, there was great rejoicing at day break, because sun rose and there was clear blue sky. The priest wept and prayed in the church remembering his dead daughter. Others came to the church with thanksgiving.

The village was restored to its original joy. From that day onwards, the dust became part of the book of legends of the village. Grannys began telling their little ones, the story of the days of dust- how they were all covered in dust, how the priest's daughter opened their eyes, how they restored life in the village, etc. In some versions of the story, the priest's daughter was an angel, sent by god to save the village. But in all the versions, the priest's daughter still visited the village on cloudy days. She would appear in the form of a grey, dusty cloud and look down into the village with a sad smile. After all, she was lost in the grey clouds.

The story-teller stopped writing and looked up through the window into the village. He saw what he wrote. A village covered in dust. He looked at himself. He too was covered in dust. He rubbed his hand to see if it was a hallucination. No it wasn't. Dust rose from his hand. He jumped up in fright. He tried to wake up as if he was in a dream.

Suddenly he stopped and looked at what he wrote. There on his writing pad was the story, “Lost in the Grey Clouds”. Pages fluttered in the wind and showed him two words- 'priest's daughter'. With a shudder, he realized what the story meant. He looked at the sky through the window and imagined his face in a dusty grey cloud. And in the memory and imagination of a hundred generations of grandmother stories. He lied down on his bed and fell asleep. Clouds were already taking his shape. And of course, grey colour.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Leppy- the Selfish Elephant


Once, Leppy, the elephant was walking about in the forest searching for food. He was very hungry. It was summer and food was not plenty. While walking, he found a banana on the road side. As he was about to pick it up, he heard someone saying, ‘hey Leppy, I am already eating it. If you want, take half of it’. He looked around and saw no one.

Leppy wanted the whole banana!
But when he was about to pick the banana up, he heard the voice again. He looked closely and saw a little ant on the banana. He laughed and said to her, ‘haha, you tiny creature! What can you do to me? I will kill you in one stamp! The banana is mine. I will eat it.’

The little ant kept quiet. She decided to teach Leppy a lesson. When Leppy picked the banana, she began biting him in his trunk. Leppy jumped up in pain and began running around. He was mad in pain. He tried to throw the ant away, but couldn’t.

Finally he begged the ant to stop biting. Immediately she stopped. The little ant said to Leppy, ‘Leppy, it is not good to be proud.  The food is ours- not yours or mine. It is to be shared. I was ready to give you half of my food, but you wanted all of it. If you are selfish, you will not be happy.’

Leppy said, ‘sorry friend. I was wrong. I will never be selfish again.’ The little ant shared her food with Leppy. From that day, Leppy was not selfish.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Cycle


Sajit M. Mathews 
Blackie was just out of the nest when his girl friend Golda came round and rubbed her beak on his neck. He felt so happy and energized that morning. It seemed an easy opening to the day. Dew and cold wind were taking an early leave that day. ‘Crows are a privileged race. We can see everything around,’ thought Blackie as he looked at Golda’s beautiful eyes.
As horizon made itself visible under the orange red sky, a thousand stories took off their flight into life. Blackie knew he had a long and interesting day ahead. He had to go around hunting for food and stories. Most of those stories used to amuse him very much.
One such story was taking off in John’s house too. Yes, Blackie could see John’s house from his nest. That little house is painted peach-puff. How cute a house it is! Golda came near him and asked, “what are you looking at?” Blackie said, “Ah! Look at you; you are interested in having a look at John. Let us go and see.” Golda was interested and enthused. She liked human kids. Once she has even fed a child with what she gathered! Both of them flew to John’s house.
John is a little kid. He’s only 8 years old. Of course he is a cute child. His smile has powers to take you off your feet and throw you into the sweetest of smiles. “Hush, you can see him. Come, look at that window”, said Blackie.
The morning wind was blowing strong through the window into the house. The window curtain flutters in a jolly rhythm. We can see glimpses of John’s bed. He has covered himself with a blanket. “Oh... What is that sound? An alarm?” asked Golda. “Yes. That’s an alarm. See, John is sticking his hand out of the blanket and switching the alarm off. Haha, he must be terribly sleepy,” observed Blackie, smiling. John switched the alarm off, turned around and slept again.
Golda often wondered why human beings were so addicted to sleep. Every day, he gets up at the first ray of red on the sky, because he knows he needs to do so. These human beings! But John is a little kid. He can do so, thought Golda.
As they kept looking, they saw light coming on in his room. His mother came into the room calling him to get up. He didn’t seem to pay heed to that. Look at that! She pulled his blanket away. “Now he has to get up. Like us, he too has to go work,” said Blackie. Mother pulled him up and made him sit up on the bed. John’s face looked very sleepy. He pulled his hands up and wiped his eyes and face in an unsuccessful effort to throw his sleep away. Yet he yawned and yawned, trying to wake up! Golda was quite amused.
It was then, that he suddenly pulled out something from under his pillow. He looked at it carefully, and sleep seemed to be instantly away from him. It was a little toy cycle. Sitting with that toy in hand, he looked up to see the wall. There was a big poster of a cycle on the wall. He looked at it. There was a mysterious smile on his face when he did so. He got up from his bed, put the toy cycle on the cupboard along with other toys and went to the toilet.
Golda thought about what human life meant after all. They are so mechanic and calculative. What fun do they have? Always doing the same things in a boring way. Why can’t they follow their instincts and be happy like crows? She was awakened from her thoughts by the slamming of a door. John is out of his bath, wrapping himself in a towel. He got ready wearing his school uniform. This is the only thing Golda liked about human kids. They all look alike when at school.
Blackie and Golda had to change their positions to get a vision of John when he came out of his room into the dining room. His mother was there preparing something for him to eat. That was something both Blackie and Golda did not like. They ate dry bread with some colour pasted on that! ‘That would be the last resort for us,’ said Golda.
Mother was serving him with sandwiches. John was not so happy and energetic today. He went around with gloomy face as if something grave went wrong. His mother urged him to eat well, but he was not so happy to do so. Mother noticed this. She too had a mysterious smile on her face.  He got up from his table without finishing what was given. So mother had to force him to drink some milk. Golda told Blackie that they would love their children in the same manner. Blackie smiled at her.
Now John was ready to leave home with his bag stuffed with books. Mother added to the weight, by giving him his lunch. Blackie and Golda flew to a tree to get better view of John getting out of home. He gloomily waved to his mother, who rushed in soon after he left. Humans- they always hurry, reflected Blackie.
John was walking on the way, head down- still gloomy about something. He often felt something in his pocket. Golda felt curious about what was in his pocket. So next time he took it out, she took a close flight and discovered that it was the same toy cycle he took out from under his pillow. “So that’s what he is gloomy about” thought Golda. She has seen many kids becoming extremely happy and excited about riding those two wheeled vehicles which they called cycles. It looked quite funny, but kids liked it very much.
Near the street coffee shop, John saw a cycle parked on the road side and was much attracted to it. He went near it and was admiring it. He closed his eyes as if he is dreaming of something. Just then, his friends passed that way on cycles, shouting at him to hurry to school. John looked at his watch and rushed to school.
He was late to class. Golda couldn’t control her laughter when John responded to attendance call from the door. If Blackie hadn’t rebuked her, she would have made hell of a noise near John’s class room. In the class too, John wasn’t a happy and naughty kid like others.
Golda admired the rows and coloums of kids wearing uniforms. She wished to have kids like that- all in same attire. She would feed all of them one by one in rows and columns along with Blackie. Golda went deep into imagination.
She was suddenly awakened by the bell of the school, along with the hustle of children rushing out of their classes. It was the end of the class. Everyone rushed out of class, except John. He took his time to gather his things and to pack his bag. He went alone out of the class room and walked gloomily to home. How sad, thought Blackie. He wanted to console him, but he knew John won’t appreciate a crow’s consolation!
While John was walking to the gate, Blackie and Golda had to go to the school ground to hunt for a few morsels to fill their stomachs. From the morning, John was keeping them busy, so that they never found time to eat anything. Gathering a few mouthfuls, they rushed to follow John. He was walking through the same way he came. It was a sad sight to see such a cute child walking head down, sad and gloomy.
He reached the coffee shop. He could see people coming out of the coffee shop talking and happily walking. He stopped to look at that. Blackie and Golda sat on top of a tree and were watching him. Out of the blue, someone came from behind and picked John up. Blackie was alarmed. But Golda told him to cool down, “it’s his mother.” Blackie let out a sigh of relief. Last week he had seen another child like John being taken away like this. It was a horrific incident. They took that child and mutilated it in a dark room outside the city. The child was screaming in pain. He hated human beings for that. He didn’t even share that incident with Golda, as she won’t be able to bear such a story.
“Look Blackie, they are going into the coffee shop” said Golda. Blackie saw that both John and his mother were inside the shop, sitting on a table facing each other. Mother was asking something to John. But John wasn’t in a happy mood to answer her. It would be difficult for any mother to see her child like that, thought Golda.
Mother ordered coffees for both of them. They were having coffee. All of a sudden, the mother got up and led John outside the shop, blindfolding him. Blackie and Golda got curious to see what is going to happen now. Mother led him to the courtyard of the shop, led him to a corner and opened his blindfold. John opened his eyes to see a cycle- all decorated and shining. He couldn’t understand what the meaning was. He looked back at his mother. She smiled and gave a nod. John went near the cycle and was amazed to see a tag hanging on it with these words on it, “for my little sweet heart, John.”
John couldn’t control his joy. His eyes were full. He turned to his mother and embraced her in joy. Both were so happy to be in each other’s arms. Golda pecked on Blackie’s face and said, “Blackie, I love this moment.” Blackie’s eyes were filled. He kissed her beak and said, “Golda, that’s love. What flows from their eyes- that’s love.” They looked at the mother and John for a few moments and flew into the sky.
Gold looked down to see the John and his mother still in the embrace. She felt so happy. Blackie felt that the day was so fruitful that they could witness such a sweet story. They flew up into the sky, carrying the love John and his mother shared outside the coffee shop. As they flew up, they could see the setting sun drawing beautiful patterns in the sky. Blue and orange and red. Blackie looked at Golda in love. She winked her eyes, feeling her little ones inside her. They added to the palette drawn by the sun on the sky, as they flew high into the sky.



-----THE END-----

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rakshapravarthanam- story in Malayalam

Click below to download a story in Malayalam named 'Rakshapravarthanam'

Download

Thanks,
Sajit

Enniyenni - Story in Malayalam

Click below to read a story named 'Enniyenni' in Malayalam.

Download

Yours,
Sajit

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Story from Nowhere


I was walking the streets yesterday. The slight drizzle and light reddish tint on the sky released a romantic aroma into the noise of the street. ‘Quite romantic’ I thought to myself humming my favourite love song. Everything around seemed listening to my hum. Even taxi cars moved according to the rhythm of my song. I could see smiles on the faces near me- naughty! Just then, wind blew, whispering secrets of hidden love in the ears of those who cared to listen.
Round the corner, I saw a little kitten walking up straight to me. Perfect! To top my feeling, this cute little kitten has now appeared from nowhere. It made sense to me to listen to nature - nature always speaks for one’s heart!
Wow! It is walking towards me. I can’t believe it is walking. Look at its stride- royal, yet sweet and elegant. White like snow, its face is so divine. I just stood there looking at the cutest cat ever. The din and bustle of the street seemed non-existent. I felt focused and streamlined.
Then it happened. Out of nowhere, like a monstrous devil, a huge trailer lorry at roaring speed came dashing at the poor little kitten. Helpless, it tried to evade the deadly host of black wheels of the lorry, but in vain. Struck by the urgency of the moment, but frozen by the stench of reality, I remained motionless. The kitten had already been gone- gone into the saddest pages of my memories. Suddenly everything looked bloody red.
The drizzle continued, accompanied by red tinted sky and soft breeze. But nature screamed  quite another story now- nature always speaks for one’s heart. 
It occurred to me, that a story was born. 
Yes, one story is born, when another ends!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Ring

The Ring


by Sajit M. Mathews

‘Prying eyes! I’ve got them, and I’m proud to have my pair. So many occasions, places and people... Yet I

was never caught- all because of these eyes.’

Savio looked proudly into the mirror before deciding to take off. As he passed his living room to the

sitting room through dining hall, he switched off lights one by one. Every light that faded away showed

beautifully arranged rooms with decorated walls and showcases. He chuckled as he passed the large

wall calendar that said, ‘February 13 Saturday’. ‘Another thrilling day,’ thought he.

‘Today I will have a diamond ring to decorate this shelf.’ As he closed the front door, his thoughts quickly

went through the busy week that went by- Selecting a shop, examining the object of desire, finding

resources, etc. This particular ring is going to be a big catch, thought Savio.

Always, he got what he wanted. He believes that the world is for everyone. Poverty according to him is

not a necessity, but lack of enough will. He never hesitated to take what he liked or wanted. He wouldn’t

call it theft. For him, it is an act of pride and social justice. Those who don’t have the means will have to

find their means, says Savio. ‘After all, I would not make anyone poor; I take only from the rich.’

* * * * * * * * *

With steady, calculated steps he walked to a large jewelry shop in the busiest square of the city. As he

had foreseen, there were a lot of customers. ‘Tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, there would be a lot of

lovers around,’ he smiled to himself.

He looked elegant in his dark blue trousers and light blue shirt. His well gelled hair shone in the flicker of

city lights. A gentleman indeed! As he entered the compound of the shop, he reminded himself of his

own principles. ‘Be decent, quick and precise. No loitering around.’ If you want to filch anything, all you

need is speed and confidence. A moment of dilly dallying will get you caught. Years of experience told

him to smile and look into the eyes of whoever talks to you.

‘May I help you sir?’ asked a sweet and charming young girl in black formal suit. ‘Great! This must be the

sales girl who will attend to my needs this evening,’ thought Savio. He pointed to the diamond counter

nearby, smiling at her.

She guided him to the counter. As she turned, he noticed that the girl was very beautiful and well

mannered. He liked the way she tied her hair into a pretty big bun with lot of white pearls pinned on it.

‘I want a diamond ring, uh… almost similar to this if possible,’ said Savio, showing the blue diamond ring

on his finger. The girls looked at the ring, smiled and said. ‘This is beautiful, sir. Kindly take a seat sir. I

will be back in a moment. We have a very similar piece.’ ‘I know there is,’ Savio giggled within as she

turned around to probe the boxes beneath the display shelves.

He had come a month back, disguised as an old man to the same counter and found the ring he wanted.

His hidden button camera had clicked a few snaps of that ring before he left without a purchase. It was

worth Rs. 1600,000. He spent at least a full month in crafting this fake blue diamond ring. Finally he was

satisfied with his masterpiece a week ago, before planning this operation ‘blue diamond’-as he called it.

He felt the smooth contours of the ring on his finger and felt proud of his own ingenious ways.

In a moment, the pretty young girl came up with a smile and a red velvet box. ‘Kindly have a look sir,’

said she while setting the box on the counter. She opened the box and was about to take the ring out.

‘Shh…,’ hissed Savio with slightly raised hands, ‘may I?’ Saying this, he took the shining blue diamond

ring out of the box and admired it. ‘Ah… this is lovely. Much the same as I wanted.’ His expressions were

so refined and delicate.

The girl was pleased to see her customer slowly deciding to purchase the item. There was a moment of

unspeakable gladness within her. If this purchase happens, it will add another Rs. 500 to my meager pay.

She remembered her little daughter’s face. ‘If only I could give her a better life and a few more smiles…

What else can a single mother like me desire for her child?’ She let out a silent sigh.

‘I will take this. How much will this be?’ The girl shuddered as she woke up from her thoughts. Savio was

holding the ring up, smiling. ‘Rs. 1600,000, sir. You will get 2% reduction on payment.’

There was a slight carefully constructed uncomfortable feeling on his face. ‘Oh… I’m so embarrassed to

say this… I’m afraid I would run short of that amount on my card. I will have to get money from my

residence,’ he paused. The smile on her face dimmed for a second. ‘So this is not going to happen?’

‘But miss, if possible, can this piece be reserved for me, so that I can come and pick it up tomorrow

morning? This is my card,’ said Savio extending his business card.

For a moment she looked at the ring in the box. The next moment, as she was about to take the card,

she noticed the ring on his finger- exactly the same as is in the box! She shuddered. Her instincts

pumped adrenalin into all her blood vessels. ‘What if there was a conscious or unconscious mix up?’ She

looked at the man, careful not to betray her panic. Savio was looking straight into her eyes without a

flicker.

Professionalism required her to move away from the customer and inform the management about her

doubts. But the man’s eyes said there was nothing to panic. She was at a loss. If her doubts were not

true, she would be penalized for that. Losing this job was out of the question. Her child needed

nutritious food, and she needed security. But now, she had to decide in a moment. Either report her

doubts or keep quiet and take a risk. ‘What if I am wrong? Rich customers would never forgive being

doubted. What would I do?’ She didn’t know what to do.

‘Miss, thank you so much. See you tomorrow.’

‘Thank you so much sir. Could you wait for a moment, while I complete these formalities?’

‘I’m afraid I don’t have that time,’ said Savio. He didn’t lose his smile. He took his card from the counter,

wrote something on it and slipped it to her.

Trembling, she looked at the card. She was aware of the dozens of CCTV cameras probably focusing their

spying eyes on them both. She tried her best not to show any signs of panic or hesitation on face. The

card had a few words on it. Reading it, she felt a chill running down her spine. An invitation? A

conspiracy? An offer to be an accomplice? The few figures on the card stared back at her. She was

frozen and couldn’t move. The card said, “50-50, 4pm, Valentines, Vintage Mall”.

Savio observed the girl while keeping his pen back into his pocket. He was confident. He had read from

her eyes that she was poor and is groping in darkness to make a living. He had seen sparkles in her eyes

earlier, while examining the ring. She needed money.

He didn’t want to make this offer, but was forced to, because he saw shadows of doubt in her yes. That

was another principle of his- ‘if the game is at a loss, make friends out of your threats’. Better be free

and have a friend, than be selfish in prison!

He stood up, extending his hand to her. She didn’t know what to do. The ring shined on his finger and its

glistening sparkles shouted to her, ‘can’t you see it’s a theft? Act now or never’. She mechanically

offered hers. He turned and left. Before he did so, he gave her a smile.

Savio understood he had succeeded. This is the end of the operation ‘blue diamond’. He once again felt

proud of himself. ‘I am perfect at my job.’

‘Excuse me sir…’ someone called from behind. Savio turned slowly. As he turned, he quickly thought to

himself, ‘did I make any mistake anywhere? Is it the end of all?’ He saw a security guard approaching

him. This was quite unexpected. He was extra careful not to betray himself. How did this happen? He

could see the sales girl re-arranging the counter calmly. Did she tip me?

‘Sir, you left your bag’ said the guard pointing to the bag on the floor near the counter. ‘I knew it’ said

Savio to himself as he thanked him and took his bag. As he turned to walk away, he quietly stole a look

at the sales girl. Her face looked tense behind the façade of a smile.

* * * * * * * * *

The girl slipped Savio’s business card into her coat pocket while keeping the jewelry back into the

counter. She couldn’t believe what she just did! She helped a thief get away with a precious stone worth

a million and a half! The thought struck her like a thunderbolt. How could I do this? ‘My child deserves

better things.’ Is that the reason? Is that a reason enough to do such a crime?

Then came another customer. She smiled and guided the purchase.

* * * * * * * * *

‘50-50, 4pm, Valentines, Vintage Mall.’ A few words that changed my life, thought the girl. The small

room in which she sat, had only a small window, but one side was grilled from top to bottom. There

were many similar cells in that prison. She sat on the floor. A moment of indecisive silence- the moment

when that man conquered my confidence. She was sad for her little daughter who was now in the

prison crèche. Pain dug into her heart as she remembered that Valentine’s Day, 4 years ago.

As per the words on the card, she had gone to Vintage Mall on Valentine’s Day at 4 pm. Seeing no one

coming for her, she left at 8 pm with a heavy heart. The next day being Monday, she decided to confess

this to the management. Sooner or later they will come to know and I will be caught. Now she realized

the gravity of the mistake she had done. If caught she would be in prison. Her child would’ve none. ‘I

helped a stranger to steal an expensive piece of jewelry.’ She couldn’t settle with the truth. She decided

to confess the truth to the shop manager, no matter what happened. ‘Surrender is the only choice left

for me.’ She realized. Better confess than waiting to be caught.

First thing in the morning, she told the manager what happened and handed him the card. He was

furious. He called the police. They arrested her. Later she came to know that the address on the card

was fake. She was broke. She was sent to prison for 4 years after a grueling 3 month long court

procedure. Having no one to care for the child, it was taken to the prison crèche.

4 years have passed since then. Tomorrow is the release date. ‘The day I was looking for. From now, I

can be with my child.’ She didn’t have anger towards that man. Because she knew it was her fault. But

future was a void for her. She would have to begin from scratch – a job, a house, money for the kid’s

education, etc… She felt dizzy.

Early next morning, she was called to the warden’s room. Her belongings and her earnings in prison

were given to her. ‘Now you are free. Be more prudent from today. I have arranged for the release of

your child. Go and get her,’ said the warden handing her, the release letter.

She rushed to the crèche to claim her child. After a long wait, she got her back. Tears flowed out of her

eyes as they hugged.

A few moments later, she found herself standing on the main road, with the sleeping kid on her

shoulders and a bag in hand. The whole world is open for her. But where to go?

“Miss, if you are not too angry with me…”

She turned to see who spoke. She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was that same man who tricked her into

prison. He was looking straight into her eyes.

She felt angry. But suddenly she realized the futility of anger. She smiled back at him and said, ‘no sir, I

am not angry at you, I must be angry at myself. Look at what I have done to my daughter and myself.’

Her eyes were full. She couldn’t get words to speak.

There was a moment of silence between them. She saw movements of remorse in his eyes. ‘Miss it was

my fault. But it was not my intention to do this to you. While I was coming to meet you that Valentine’s

Day, I had an accident. I am so sorry miss…’

It was then that she looked at him properly. He was standing on a pair of crutches. One leg of his

trousers was hanging loose. With a hush, she stepped back in horror.

‘When I got well, I didn’t have a leg. But I didn’t lose my heart. When I heard of what happened to you, I

was so upset that I wanted to kill myself. But I couldn’t even do that!’ He turned his face away in pain.

Tears rolled down his cheeks.

‘I’m so sorry miss. I know you would find it difficult, but kindly accept this little gift from me. This is not

to compensate what you lost. But a little gift from me. Probably the last I would ever make.’

Saying this, he handed a pretty big bag to her. She took the bag with tears in her eyes. She peeped into

the bag. On top, there was a small jewelry box. She took it out and opened. To her amazement, it was

the same blue diamond ring he stole 4 years ago. Beneath the box, she could see stacks of currency

notes.

She didn’t want any of it. She would be happier without all these. A job is not that difficult to find. She

looked up to deny the gift and give it back. But he was gone. She could only see an auto rickshaw

speeding away and disappearing at the turn.

She kept looking at the empty road, long after he was gone. A drop of tear formed in her eyes. Sun’s

rays hit the drop and reflected- much the same as on the blue diamond ring in her hand.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pity




It was genuine. I felt bad for those thin and black pair of legs. For the last ten days or so, they were relentlessly serving their master without a word of complaint. As I poured water over them, they looked pale and tired. Pity- that’s what I felt at that point of time. ‘I should give them a good wash’ I told myself.

I took the soap and applied on them. Still they looked thin and pale. I apologized to them for not taking care of them and neglecting their welfare. After all, I still need their service for at least another three years. While applying soap, the form embraced them and cleaned them. I was happy that finally they were getting back to their original state.

I took them out of the water and rinsed again in fresh water. Wow! Now they look clean and better. I patted them in joy and appreciated their service. Once again I apologized for not giving them a wash for the last ten days due to my being sick and tired. It looked as if they understood. They were brighter now.

Then I squeezed them and put them out on the line to dry. This is the first time I felt pity for my clothes. My poor pair of pants. Ten days at a stretch without a wash would have been real trouble for them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One fine evening

One fine evening.

"Where to?"
"Wherever."
"Hmm.."
"You?"
"Not yet decided."
"That's worse."
Silence.

After a few yards of silence...
"Who are you?"
"Me?"
"There is a long way to go."
"Where to?"
Silence.

"Do you see a tree over there?"
"That's not a tree."
"I think it is a tree."
"That's not a tree."
"I can see it's shadow."
"There are a lot of mirages here."
"Are you real?"

A few yards without words...
"Don't touch me!"
"I didn't."
"You did. I didn't like it."
"I still see the tree."
"Who are you?"
"Does that matter?"

No words...
"It's really hot."
"I probably won't reach the tree."
"There is no tree."
"You are feeling hot."
"You are distracting me."
"From what?"
Silence.

Another long stretch of desert without words.
"See! The tree!"
"Thirst can be so desperate?"
"I better rush."
"Before you die.. Yes. You better rush."
"You don't want to come! It's fine with me if you don't."
"Let the mirage eat the carcass of life that doesn't see."
"Will sight ever devour a blind man?"

Silence.
This time silence was longer.
One set of footsteps disappeared.
Deserts is still out there. Mirages too.
But this time, silence will be longer.

"Ok. Welcome. Where to?"


---------------------------

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Way Back


The Way Back


 - A Story written with the help of a dear friend -

Annie usually was much ahead of all her classmates in submitting her assignments and projects. That made her feel one up in class. It was her passion to run ahead of others- be it in class or in life. Listening to the light soothing music from her computer, she was aimlessly looking out of her window. In fact, she was not seeing anything- she was just looking. Winter breeze was rushing in through the window and playing with her hair. The evening sky shed a beautiful orange shade on her cheeks. She looked beautiful being lost in thoughts.
Beep beep! Her mobile phone’s message alert tone woke her up from her thoughts. While reading the message and her face grew tense. She put the phone annoyingly back on the table. It was one of her classmates, enquiring how the assignment was progressing. The class is given an assignment to write a script for a short film. Annie had thought of a number of concepts, but none of them satisfied her heart. So she wasn’t able to begin the assignment. She was feeling miserable, as some of her friends have already reached the completion of the assignment. She couldn’t bear the fact that she was behind all others.
She got up from the chair and walked to the fridge. While grasping a bottle of water, she thought of what could be done. She had high ambitions in life. All her activities were set at becoming a great writer and movie maker. She toiled day and night for that. She chose her courses and studies accordingly. This year she chose courses that gave her experience in the field of writing and film direction. She had high expectations of this course, for which the assignment is due. But now, she couldn’t even start scripting.
She had tried all possible stories she could lay her hands upon, but was not happy. There were just 15 days for submission and she hasn’t started conceiving an idea! She couldn’t even concentrate on her daily routine. Sitting back on her chair, she came to some decisions. Her face grew tense and serious. Something has to be done. She has to find a concept.
She decided to get out of the hostel, the very next day and go on to the roads to look for a satisfactory story to work on. She didn’t mind missing classes for a day to meet the deadline. With this resolution, she went to bed, still with a disturbed mind.
Early next morning, she got up and packed her bag. She arranged her camera, a bottle of water, her wallet, a note pad, couple of pens and a portable tripod for the day. She was determined not to come back without a story for the script. She could feel her heart beaming with eagerness and excitement at this activity.
She wandered on the roads with her camera. The early morning sky, birds, first movements of people on the road, first vehicle on road, etc., passed in front of her eyes. The people who passed her by, did not interest her. She wanted a story that could generate a screen-worthy story and would impress the teacher. She wanted to be famous.
Hours passed without finding anything that interested her. Lunch time had passed long back. She was hungry and thirsty. Yet she couldn’t stop wandering through the streets of the city. She forgot her breakfast and lunch. Just on water, she wandered the streets alone. Feeling tired, she stopped for a while to rest her feet. Her heart was pounding fast as it was nearing evening and she hadn’t found a story. She felt like crying. Inside her pride, she was a girl with a soft heart, who liked to smile spontaneously and weep at the slightest of pains.
Thinking to herself about going back and having an early sleep, she put her camera back into her bag. Her dreams always had taken her above the ordinary. She had the courage and wisdom to be what she wanted to. She always succeeded when she wanted to, and she always wanted to. But in the silence of her soul, she always felt that she was missing something- something that was crucial. As she packed her bag and had a sip from her bottle, she was lost in these thoughts.
It was then, that she heard some people arguing across the road. There was an elderly looking man on the other side of the road at the junction, making a hot exchange of words with the staff of a restaurant. The old man seemed untiringly arguing on something. And the shopkeeper was becoming angrier at the old man. Her heart told her to move towards them. She picked her bag up and crossed the road. She went near the restaurant. Her keen eyes caught the excitement of the moment immediately.
The old man was about 75 years old. He looked quite an interesting character for her. He was well dressed and looked very descent and classy. He was tall and well built, but slowly age was eating into his build. His hair was snow white and he was not quite steady. She could make out from far that his hands were shivering a bit. But still his words were sharp and made sense.
She approached the feud so that she could hear what they spoke. The argument was about payment. The old man had eaten from the restaurant. When the bill came, there was a disagreement between the old man and the manager of the restaurant. She found the arguments quite amusing.
Old man: I will sue you. You don’t know who I am. Don’t try to cheat me. Yesterday, I ate my dinner from here for Rs. 1 and today you are overcharging me? How dare you?
Manager: What? Which century are you living in? You won’t even get a toffee for Rs. 1, and you want to get away full stomach with that? You better pay; else, I will call the police.
Annie couldn’t hold her laughter after hearing the old man’s argument. A descent meal would easily cost you Rs. 30. It was getting into the manager’s nerves. He moved to his table and picked the phone up as if to call police. The old man said, “hold” and put his hands in his pocket. He searched his pockets one by one and after a long search, he found a one rupee coin from the rear pocket of his trousers. He held it up to the manager and said, “This is all I will give you. The right price of what I consumed. Take if you want.” He tossed the coin into the restaurant and turned to walk.
The manager looked at the one rupee coin, boiling with anger. He signaled his workers to get the old man and picked the phone up again to call the police. One of the waiters came rushing and caught hold of the old man from behind. The old man whirled in his hands. Annie felt that she should be doing something. But she couldn’t move. ‘Now or never’- whispered her heart to her. In a swift move, she rushed to the manager’s table and cut the telephone line with her index finger.
The manager looked up at her in anger. He got up from his seat, now frustrated to the verge of an outburst. Annie got frightened and didn’t know what to say in that tension. The manager shouted at her, “Now what? What the hell do you want?” Annie’s tongue was tied. He was about to pick the phone up in rage and throw it down. Annie gathered courage and told him, “I’m sorry. He is my grandfather, I will pay the bill,” she lied. “How much is it?”
The manager looked at her quizzically. He was slowly cooling down. He said in an annoyed, irritated and slightly angry tone, “Rs. 30. Don’t let your crazy old man out on the roads like this. Thank god I didn’t finish him off.”
Annie took out the amount from her wallet and went to the old man who by that time was free from the waiter’s arms. He appeared weak and shivering from after all these, but still he turned to the restaurant and said, “Good you released me. Learn to behave decently to gentle customers.” Saying this, he turned away and started walking.
Annie rushed to his side and started walking with him. After a few steps, he noticed her walking along and asked her in a stern voice, “Hei girl, are you following me? What do you want?” She was startled at that unexpected question. In fact, the old man hadn’t seen her paying the amount at the counter. He still thought that he was released because they realized that they were wrong. Annie realized this and told him, “Oh, no sir. I saw how you didn’t budge to their demand. It was great. I thought I could have a couple of words with you. By the way, I am Annie, a student of Media at the University.”
He stopped and looked at her from top to bottom in a quick brush and said, “What if I didn’t want to talk to you, huh? I can’t believe how people can be so arrogant and inquisitive like this. Media… paparazzi… hypocrites…” He looked into her eyes, pointing his finger at her and said, “Don’t dare to get anything out of me. I have seen this and even more!” She was shocked to hear such a blunt statement from him. She felt bad and stood still to see him walking past. She stayed there till he disappeared round the corner. She wiped a drop of tear that formed in her eyes and walked towards her hostel. She was tired and hungry. Over all the physical fatigue was the frustration of not getting a subject to write. She wanted to reach her room and break down in to tears and cry aloud.
As she moved a few steps ahead, she heard a noise from behind her. She looked back to see some people running round the corner shouting, and calling for an ambulance. She rushed to the corner. There she saw the old man lying motionless on the road side, bleeding from his head. A bike had knocked him down as he tried to cross the road. She rushed to him and checked his pulse and helped the men who carried him into a car that agreed to take him to the hospital. She got into the car along with him. His head was in her lap. He was breathing, but looked pale. Her clothes were full of blood from his head. She feared something bad would happen.
Only at that moment did she think of the consequences of what she was doing. The old man was a complete stranger. At the hospital she will have to sign papers for him. ‘Whom to call and inform,’ she was worried now. Suddenly, she thought of finding some details in his pocket, and searched his shirt’s pocket. There were a lot of paper pieces in his pocket. She patiently hunted among those papers for a clue. There was an old visiting card among them. It was archaic. She could hardly read from it, but it mentioned Mr. Harry Fernandez. She kept all those papers with her.
Within minutes, they reached the nearest hospital. He was rushed to the hospital. Annie had to register the patient at the emergency counter. She filled in the name and the address in the card and signed the form. Half an hour late, the doctor came out and informed her that he is ok now, but had to rest for a few days at the hospital as the head injury is quite serious. Considering his age, he has to be careful. She thanked the doctor as he left the casualty.
Annie thought of what could be done. It was already 8 pm. She had to reach the hostel before 9 pm. She rang up to the warden and told her that she is at the hospital with a relative and would be late at night. The warden was not happy at this, and wanted her back immediately. She hung the line and looked for a phone number on the old visiting card. There were no phone numbers on the card. He went through all the paper pieces from the old man’s pocket to find some number to call. There was one number which never answered. She felt dizzy and exhausted.
Sipping a hot coffee from the canteen, she went to the telephone booth at the hospital. She borrowed the telephone directory from them and searched for the address found on the card. Yes. That address was there. She found the number and gave a ring immediately. It was around 9 O’clock then. After trying thrice, someone picked the phone up. She didn’t know what to say. At the other end, the person said hello again and again, and was about to hang up when she said hello.
“Good evening. I am Annie, a student at the University here. Is it Mr. Harry Fernandez? The reply came swiftly, “No, daddy is not yet back. Can I help you?” Annie did not know how to tell them what happened. She gathered courage and said, “in fact, I don’t know Mr. Fernandez. Pardon me if I am wrong, is Mr. Fernandez a man of around 70 years?” There was panic in the answer: “yes, he is an old man. Anything wrong? Is he alright?” Annie asked them not to panic: “there was a small mishap on the road this evening. I got this phone number from his pocket. He is in Apollo hospital now. Nothing to worry, he is alright.” Annie couldn’t complete what she was saying; before that, the line was cut. She felt miserable that she didn’t even ask the name of the person she talked to. She went back to the hospital and waited outside the ICU.
Around 20 minutes later, she was woken up by the nurse. There was a middle aged couple and a kid with them. The nurse said, “Miss, these are the relatives of the Patient.” She stood up immediately and greeted them. They introduced themselves as Mrs and Mr Thomas Frenandes and their son Felix Fernandez. The couple was tensed and their faces were anxious. She made them sit down and narrated the evening’s incidents to them. She updated them on the condition of their father Mr Fernandez and told them not to worry. They thanked her profusely and asked her about her whereabouts. They dropped her at the hostel and talked to warden to avoid complications in the hostel.
Once in the privacy of her room, Annie thought about the happenings of the day. After a bath she lied down on her bed, thinking of what would happen to Mr. Fernandez. The script and the assignment were out of her mind. She didn’t know when she fell asleep.
Early the next day, she got ready and proceeded to the hospital. Mr. Thomas was there. He told her that his father slept well. Annie wanted to know more about the old man. She was curious. She asked Mr. Thomas what his father was.
“My father was a known man. He tried his hands in many and varied fields and succeeded. Harry was a mastermind- a genius,” began Mr. Thomas. Annie sat there like a child listening to the story.
In his 14th year, Harry published his first story in one of the leading magazines of the state. From then onwards, Harry was an unstoppable talent. He wrote for magazines, newspapers and published a volume of poems before he even reached Bachelors Degree. His interests varied in their shades, but basically he stuck to pen and paper. He broadcast his stories on radio, and slowly took over to television. He wrote for national channel for a while. All these were along with his studies. By the end of his Bachelors degree studies, he was an established author and actor.
It was during his post graduate studies that he fell in love with philosophy of Sartre, paintings of Nicholas Roerich and cinematography of Francois Truffaut. He desired to be existential in expression, peace loving in appearance and controversial in spirit. He went around the streets of the city endlessly in search of something he felt was missing in life. Somehow, he began to dream of becoming a film maker. He thought writing would be the key to this dream. He sent a few of his scripts to renowned film makers of his time. Some were taken. He thus systematically neared his dreams.
In the meanwhile, he married Margaret as his parents constantly pestered him to get married. Margarita was a lovely woman. She changed him thoroughly with her love. He became a family man, became more careful about his life and savings. He loved Margaret like his own life. He had 3 children, of which Mr. Thomas was the second. He got settled in that city. He limited his dreams and worked hard to make his family happy and satisfied.
It was when Thomas was 10 years old, that he got an invitation to work with Mr. Sinha, the topmost director of that time. Sinha wanted Harry to script for his movie. It was something that Harry was looking forward to.
There he meets his soul mate, Radha. He realizes she was the one for her. Yet he remained himself for the love of his family. But his love and affinity for Radha grows day by day. He confesses this to Margaret and Radha. Margaret understands him and says she knows how much he loves her and the kids. Radha too is madly in love with him, but for the love of Harry, she remains silent. She tries to keep distance from him, but he couldn’t resist seeing her. Thus their relationship grows strong. Margaret sees all these, but is not able to resist or prevent. She understood her husband more than anyone else. Though she couldn’t bear the fact that there was another woman in Harry’s life, she knew that he loved his family over everything else.
Harry remained strong for a year after the completion of the film project. But all the time, he was going through intense mental torture. He was literally torn apart between being himself and living his life. He needed to be practical and happy with his family. But he also needed somehow to respond to Radha. He didn’t love Radha for physical pleasures. What was between them was not carnal love. Harry often wondered what he could call that love. Once he asked Margaret about his relationship with Radha. Margaret looked at him in the eyes and said, “Harry, I know you love me and our kids more than everything.” Harry was more and more being pushed into terrible mental uncertainty and pain. All his writings of those times were tragic love stories.
Finally he made up his mind to end this torture. He told Margaret that he had decided on something and is going to meet Radha. He chose the eve of Christmas for this meeting. He called Radha to the park that night. He might have wanted to dramatize this moment. He waited for long for Margaret, but she didn’t turn up. He was about to leave the park. Just then, he heard a call from the other side of the road. It was Radha. She waved to him. As she crossed the road, he too waved back.
Thud! Harry couldn’t believe what he saw. A truck came fast and ran over her. He ran to her. She was lying in a pool of blood on the road. He raised her head and speechless, he wept. Radha, with the last stirrings of life in her moved her lips and asked him, “tell me that you are mine for ever Harry.” He shook his head as he wept his life. His tears and her blood met on the cold road like the day and the night. She struggled to say something and in a moment, she was gone, falling silent into his arms.
Harry remained silent with her body in his arms. His tears went dry. When police came, he was still holding the dead body in his hands. That day onwards, harry never spoke about Radha. It appeared as if that chapter was erased from his soul, as if he was someone else. Harry never became the real Harry again. He started showing signs of memory loss. He forgot his spectacles, bike keys, etc. in the most unusual places. His writing projects were halted. ‘Harry is dying or is he already?’ his friends doubted.
Today, harry is just a living body. Nothing of his former life remains- not a trace of memory. Margaret, Radha and the kids... all are gone. The doctors who treated him gave up after a few years. Margaret died with a broken heart after a few years, leaving the children alone with harry.
Annie wiped tears from her eyes as Thomas finished the story. He called her for a coffee. They didn’t realize that hours passed narrating the story. Annie got up to follow Thomas. She stopped to look at Harry through the glass door of the ICU. She felt miserable.
On the way back to the hostel, she took out her writing pad and tore off a few pages from it and threw them into a dust bin on the road. She walked away wiping her eyes. Those papers fluttered in the wind. It was written, “Script on Harry, the old man.”

- The End -