Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Holiday in the City - Short Story

It was one of the holiday in our busiest days. The laziness of holiday is clear in my face sand my inmate. To recover from it, his lips are moving along-with the tune of gazals which is narrowly spreading in the room. I slowly opened the window. In the street, the hue and cry of street business is going on. Fusion of different languages and culture. The festival season is approaching... money is flowing in different ways. The climate is going to be covered with the fragrance and attracting lights of the crackers from Sivaksi and people  should  counting their purse with glittering faces..
My lugs are suppose to move in the beautiful places of my village, but fate is to move in this ugly city. The talks in the small tea shops in village, reading of news papers there, chatting with friends etc. The taste of my favourite 'dosa' replace with 'vadapav'. Instead of my mother-tongue we are using and our ears are opened for National Language. How  a strange  life ??!! What I call, is it fate or the care of God? We are making a way in our mind, but Almighty making another parallel way against that path.

When I opened the window slowly, the concentration of my inmate gone from the colourful imaginations of gazals, then his face was filled with black shade because the hue and cry from the street pumped in to our room very fast!
"why you are opening the window to hear that stupid sounds?"
I just seen his face and a smile generated from my cheeks. Then I closed the window. The sound surrounded us  vanished slowly. Again  I looked his face and told
"We are also now part of this city you know?"
"then??" his curiosity fall on my face.
"we cant tease this city which is now taken care of our life.."
"oh... you told it!! the same guy every time thinking about his village and expressing the feeling of the beauty of village.... good"
I tried to smile once again.
"May be... its not means that I am going to hate this city..sir"
I closed the books which was kept as opened in my hand and kept in the drawer. My friend then paused the song also. The next exercise is same like all our holidays. We just closed the doors and came outside... but before leaving the room, my friend have taken one Fancy Note of 100 (currency) along with the key of room.

When we started going through the outside path, I have asked him "why you taken this fancy note" But his reply was a subtle smile only.
"May be this is useless for us... but my friend; this kind of things are very useful for somebody.. just watch and see..." He inserted that Fancy Note to his right side pocket.
'Its get something which makes curiosity to end the holiday...Interesting' I thought in my mind.

We mingled and walked with the blending of street business. I just assumed ' in this ugly street, how much transactions are going on daily? Lakhs... Crores... no harthal, no bandh...and no strikes so far. The transactions and creamy business are going on with the support of mouth... dialogues'
The smell of drainage and plastic cover arrack infused to our noses.

We reached the isolated area which we are regularly coming to kill our time on holidays. There is a half wall and most of the time we are making plans and ideas from here only. With a smile my friend taken the fancy note which he kept in his pocket. Now he just put that note on the road.. and come back and starts talking as usual. His intention is clear; its same like making small digs and covered with tender branches of trees then cover with sand to trap our other friends. The same way, people are using to trap and catch elephants in jungle. When our friends will fall on this trap.. that was great moment to us to laugh and tease about in public ! The question is who is going to fall on this trap !!? Its looking like normal currency, but the size is extraordinary.

Anybody is picking this note? Curiosity attacked and filled on us. Lot of people are passing though, but nobody looking down and noticing on this trap! I think all are busy with different matters. All are forget to bend their head and look to Goddess of Earth?? Yes.. the embarrassment passing though the faces of myself and friend.

One street boy is coming (he is jumping actually) with a piece of kite. With a shabby trouser, brown colour hair without oil touch and without shirt, his bulging bones telling us a clear story. He is loudly singing  one Hindi film song lines and we starts to concentrate on his jumping body. May be he is the lucky guy to fall in our trap! We are now played like concentrating to other matters but peeping on his acts. Now he stopped his jumping and of-course his song also.

Now he is looking surroundings. Bend little bit.. then his action was swift. The wondering eyes and mind concentrated on that note and taken and inserted it in his pocket and start to run more than the double speed he came..

Now my friend started to smile and laugh .. me also.. His face was little bit happy because of the success of his plan !

Immediately I starts to think another thing. What will be consequences of this? I thought little bit.. and  told him " Hey... we need to go after that boy "
"For what?" he looked me with curiosity
"I want to see the suspense of your plan and aftermath of this incident.. you know.."
"Its a great idea.." he replied and we also moved to the same area that street boy flied up.

No need to run more. We find him after five minute. He is standing in-front of  a 'Vadapav' shop, the broken kite is still in his hand. We reached in front of that shop.
" Uncle give me five Vadapav." stammeringly the sound came from his mouth.
The shop owner cum-worker swiftly making, packing and talking... that is one kind of street art. He vigorously looked the face of our boy. He packed the Vadapav and put it in  a small plastic cover and our protagonist is busy to give money (fancy note) and continue his running. He given that currency and may be thinking about the balance amount which need to get from shop owner. Same time, he removed one vadapav packed with old Times of India daily. and started eating the food like a hungry lion eating deer after a great hunting ! We can read the value of food from his face... unable to depict.
Now the pulse rate of my heart is increasing... what will happen next?
As he is very busy with his business; the shop owner just looked in to the colorful piece of paper which our boy given to him. He wondered little bit... we can see his face expression. My eyes are looking to that boy and shop owner ... same time. The eye balls gazed to the boy... immediately he come outside of the shop and strangulated his throat !! The pieces of foods going fast from throat to the empty stomach blocked there... The boy was amazed and he do not know  what is going on! His eyes starts to come outside due to the strong hold of shop owner. He is roaring and shows that fake currency to the crowd gathered in front of his shop, including us. He is screaming and firing the boy with nasty words! Then,  banged his face and dragged the boy to road. Along with him all the Vadapav, his broken kite were also fall down. Now the boy starts to scream ... loudly.

Suddenly myself and friend come towards. I just caught the hand of the shop owner and tried to make him cool. As recovered from the grip, the boy immediately ran away... that was unexpected to us! We are in a dilemma... the pieces of food, shattered kite all are still scattered there itself.
"Lets see, where he gone..." My friend's cant reject my words. Our legs moved fast towards the area that the boy escaped... still we can hear the nasty language of the shop owner...

Where is that boy? Where we have to search for him? My mind told me that no use to groping for him. We want to go back immediately because of the dumped smell of municipality in that area.
"See there..." The Sherlock Holmes mind of my friend worked out.

Some weeping sound is coming from one of the sheds in our back. We checked the root of that sound. " Yes its his voice only" I assured in my mind. It is a plastic hut... the sound is coming from there only.. but how we check inside? But we just entered inside...

One lady is firing that boy with a strane language. He is still weeping. I seen the blood spots in his right hand with sand. He is still wondering bout that incident. When he see our face.. he started screaming loudly. He is still thinking that we came to beat him like the shop owner. That old lady, may be his mother... folded her hands with respect. Its looks like that she is requesting us to forgive everything... if his son done any mistake.

I come forward and touched his face. " don't cry..." I told him peacefully. With his water filled eyes, he looked us with curiosity.  He is not aware what is going here. When I touched his body I told my mind and Almighty to forgive us... we done a big mistake. We trapped this poor guy....It was actually my confession...

I touched his face, his blood spotting hand and body. His mother requesting and respecting with her folded hand in mind. The fusion of different expression passed through my mind and face. The story of Cain and Abel which I had learned in my school time gone through my spirit as a lightning. The boy is looking me face with fear and curiosity. He and his mother still not aware about my behavior.

I have checked my pocket. My hand touched the currency notes which I kept in my pocket. I had pulled it out... it was a pair of fifty rupees. I just inserted that two notes to that boys sand covered hand with a rave in my mind "Sorry.... sorry for all the troubles happened through us"

After giving a pat on his shoulder, we started to leave from that plastic tent. Still the four eyes sharply looking on us !! With confusion, curiosity, doubt and anxiety.

The sun started to colour the west with red. The street is still busy.... business is going on. The calling and roaring of street vendors...  With the same face and mind of confession; we, -myself and my roommate return to our room... Yes, this is the pause of our week end.... But the confession is still going on....
This is the English version of my  short story 'Nagarathile Oru Avadhi Divasam' Published in Kristhava Kahalam Magazine in 2002. Suggestions are highly appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. Joy, Nice story. But I wish I could read the same in malayalam. Abhinandanangal.