This Too Shall Pass (Short Story)

Based on a mushy story in Tamizh making rounds in WhatsApp, running its course quite predictably, here’s my effort, muddying up the waters a wee bit along the way:

Oratechsolve old_people_India

‘Last month itself I had warned you when you sent hundred rupees. Now this letter. This will not end here, I’m telling you again. Once it’s falling roof, this time it’s hospital charges…who knows your dear sister may be behind all this.’

She paused to regain her breath.

‘Don’t forget we have two children of our own growing up. There’s fees to pay once the school reopens, new uniforms…’

‘All right, all right. I’ll write to them. Will you please stop now?’

‘Please do that first thing…One thing you do well is to shut my mouth.’

Silence.

It became the lot of utensils in kitchen sink to bear the brunt.

Normalcy returned over next couple of days helped by the week-end outing with the children – it was the last before the close of summer vacation.

A week later, one evening when he returned from his office,

It was all quiet in the house. The children were heads-down into their books – quite unusual so early in their term. No usual greetings and hugs. He could see through the open door her feet on the bed.   It wasn’t time yet. At the end of a long day he was in no rush to find reasons for the calm. He peeled off his pants and shirt to wear a comfortable dhoti and banyan. There was no coffee on the table. So be it. As he looked around for morning newspaper before settling down in his easy-chair, his gaze fell up on an opened envelope sticking out from under a magazine on the table, quite unsuccessful in its attempt to be elsewhere aided by the draft of the ceiling fan.

As he picked it up, he knew it was his mother. It was always so ever since his father’s fingers had turned stiff some years ago. Schooled up to sixth grade before going off to her in-laws’ house, she could write though not tidily.

He sat on the straight-backed chair never designed to suffer its occupant for long, and read:

Dear Son,

We’re sorry and concerned to hear about the sickness of our dear grandson. The young lad still has a long way to go. Tell bahu (daughter-in-law) to give him lots of vegetables and fruits and milk…of course she knows.

Don’t spare any expense in getting him treated. Along with this letter there’s a check for five thousand rupees. Hope it helps. If you need more let us know.

Do not worry yourself, this money is legit. You know we had this small patch of land at the back of our house, the one we had willed to you? Luckily for us, we could sell it at short notice to be able to send you this check and keep some for treating your father. Our neighbor had his eyes on this land for long. He was good enough to pay all of ten thousand readily across the table.

Your father was very much against it. He doesn’t understand. You needed the money right now and we needed it too. He maintained it was worth many times more – it could even fetch as much as a couple of lakhs, if we wait a little longer. But, how could we? You sounded so helpless. Of course, he could be right – these days freehold land prices are suddenly shooting up unbelievably.  He says our neighbor unfairly knocked us down for a pittance knowing our urgency.  I had to press on him very hard to go ahead with the deal. Last couple of days, he isn’t even talking to me. Don’t worry, he’ll come around. I hope you too don’t think I’ve erred.

And don’t lose sleep over his health. Now we the money to pay the doctors.

Once again, take good care of the child. We’re sure you’ll. Do keep us informed. And tell us if you need more, we’ll manage.

Yours affly,

Amma.

The letter slipped gently onto the floor from where it took off to the far corner, greatly relieved, its job done.

Feeling like a loser, though he wasn’t sure what was it about, he got up to make some coffee for himself. He needed it.

He’ll come around.

 

End        

 

 

 

Image: oratechsolve.com

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A Love Story

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” A piece of glass shatters, sighing

it was the promise of a stone to be its protector.”

 

End

 

 

Source: Pinterest

 

 

Monks Tell No Lies

Time again to turn to the artist adept at ‘sewing coats give the mere buttons’ – no two alike – that leave you wondering at the cut and the fit and wanting more!

Here he walks you down a don’t-know-where-it’s-headed path until in a flash it’s all laid bare, only some 100+ words later!

Momus News

The Spaniards arrived at the temple first, looking for gold. New to Cambodia, their translations were incomplete. All the Spanish got from the monks was, “Beware the Nangalang.”

Fearless leader Diaz merely scoffed, “A monster?” He stepped inside the entrance, screamed, and disappeared. The remaining Spaniards fled, telling stories of the horrific monster guarding the temple. Rumors spread across Europe.

In the 1930s, fearless treasure hunter Idaho Johnson braved the temple. He disappeared in an instant.

During the Vietnam War, fearless war hero Colonel Davidson heard about the terrifying monster guarding gold. “Beware the Nangalang!” warned the monks. He ignored the “superstitious” natives…and screamed as he disappeared.

In the 90s, High Priest Dong-Hue introduced his son to the temple. At the entrance he said, “Beware the Nangalang!”

“Right, Dad,” said Quok, obviously fluent in the local language. “I’ll watch out for the hole in the stairs leading to a bottomless…

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A Known Story And A Hither-To Unknown Moral Or A Super-Dad!

The mother read from a picture book a story for her 6-year old at bed time, along the way explaining words that were new. The story – quite familiar to us from days we were knee-high or even before – goes like this:

A farmer in the village had four sons who always quarreled over one thing or the other. All attempts by the man to bring them together were to no avail.

sticks Four_Sons_Moral_story.png

The matter assumed greater urgency in view of the man’s failing health. He decided he would make one last try before leaving them to their fate.

He called them to his bed. When they had assembled he bade the eldest to bring some dry sticks and a piece of rope from the back of the house.

The sticks were tied together in a bundle. The eldest who was also the heaviest was asked by the farmer to break the bundle into two. He tried hard exerting himself to the limits, but he couldn’t.  His brothers too tried one by one and failed like he did. They gave the bundle back to the father, crest fallen.

Thereupon the farmer asked them to untie the bundle and gave them a stick each. This time they could break the sticks rather effortlessly, all of them.

sticks 2a

At this point the mother paused, as she always did in these story-telling sessions, put the book away to quiz the girl on parts of the story including questions like what-would-do-you-do-if-you-were, inevitably ending with what-is-the-moral-of-the-story.

The girl thought for a moment screwing up her eyes and then broke into a smile:

‘Mom, this is exactly what I do. If ever you’ve a difficult problem to solve, take it to your dad. He’ll find a way out.’

Just then dad walked in and seeing the mother holding her head in her hands, silent, searching for a response, inquired: ‘Why, what’s the problem?’

End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS: Based on a real experience at my daughter’s place.

Source: Images from kutties.in, kidsultimatezone.blogspot.com

Breaking a Habit – The Beggar on the Bridge

Storyteller's Campfire Blog

It was over my morning cup of coffee today that it occurred to me that as much as I like to think of myself as a spontaneous and free spirit, there are realms in which I am very much wedded to my habits. The coffee itself is a case in point. If there has been a day in the past decade that I didn’t begin the day with ‘the black water medicine’ I can’t recall it. I can stumble out of bed, dreams still clinging, barely awake, and make my way, eyes closed if I wanted, and find the drawer with the filters, the cabinet with the ground beans, the bottled water dispenser, the electric pot… each in a different place, and complete the morning ritual. At about 6AM everyday, you will always know just where to find me.

And so it was with the philosophy students and the beggar…

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What You See Is Not What You Get

Sanmargam

The weather was threatening to turn for the worse accompanied by lightning and thunder dazzling the sky with their fireworks. The trees were swaying perilously to heavy winds.

floodA little sparrow struggling to hold itself aloft approached a large tree standing on the banks of a river seeking shelter.

The tree refused point-blank asking it to go somewhere else, all its pleas falling on deaf ears.  Thereupon the dejected sparrow went up to another tree that was located some distance away. The second tree obliged, taking the bird under its wings and ending its search.

Shortly after, the clouds unloaded their goods with a ferocity that caused the river to swell in no time and break its banks.  The deluge washed away the ground soil causing the trees standing on the banks to topple.

The sparrow was saddened to see the nay-saying tree falling down and being swept away mercilessly…

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Pardon Me, Your Slip Is Showing

She finished dinner in her room and buzzed for the plates to be cleared – after the meal, she did not want any smell of food lingering in the room.

A knock at the door – she opened to find a stranger in place of the room-service she had expected.

The stranger seemed no less surprised at seeing her.

Recovering quickly, ‘I’m sorry, I thought it was my room…’

Not waiting for a response, he swiftly turned away making to the bank of elevators at the far end.

She closed the door softly and returned pensively to the lounging sofa…shortly after she got up and called the front-desk.

If it wasn’t to follow up with room-service, what was it about?

End

 

13-year-old Aditi Krishnan had me scratching my head until she gave it out. My excuse: I had not had my mid-day coffee yet. If you had yours and still…look it up in the comments.