Friday, 7 January 2011

The Wait -- A very, very short story

The story of the post: This is a story I wrote when I was in 12th grade. It was when terrorism in Punjab was headlining most news papers. Six years later, I submitted this story to a competition where it won the first place! Although the context is old, unfortunately, it is still relevant. (BTW, I do not think 35 is middle aged any more! :)

The Wait

She was sitting there, in front of the idiot box, all senses fine-tuned, her eyes sunken with worry and anxiety writ deep on her face. She looked middle aged, 35 one might say. Far from it. She must have been at least ten years younger. Endless worries had blotted out the melted gold of the sunshine forever from her sight.
Ramya was her name and it suited her well, until some one year back when her brother was transferred to Punjab.
How much she had told him not to accept that offer. The job here was good enough. He did not find it satisfying enough, he had said. And now, she was left worrying about him. Day in and day out. Well had he found his elusive satisfaction now? Hardly!! He could have just stuck to his old job than put his sister through so much!

Punjab! She ruminated. It ought to have smelled of the fragrance of fresh flowers and the rivers. All it reeked now was of building violence and the nauseating millions of rivers of blood! Peace! What a rare commodity it had become! Why was the world getting so restless these days? She was new to this locality. She had moved in one year back. How strange! She still didn't know half the people in the locality. She knew the children, of course. They were so different these days. She remembered well those days when she had idolized many of her teachers in her own mind. Things were very different now. Even the children seemed in a hurry, restless. An age where there could be no icons, no leaders.

Her wandering mind was brought back to the present by the signature tune of the news cast. No more moroseness, she told herself. Her brother was coming back. It would take so much off her mind. All will be well again... "The Kalka express that left Punjab for Delhi this morning has met with an accident. No passenger is reported to have survived". Unconsciously she increased the volume. The impersonal voice continued, "... have promised a full enquiry into the incident. Meanwhile the terrorist group based in ..." She wasn't hearing any more, she wasn't seeing, she wasn't even feeling anything except a blinding, lacerating pain in her head and heart. Suddenly, vaguely, inconsequentially, she thought of Tennyson's words:

It may be that the gulfs shall wash us down
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles
Happy Isles?! A mirthless laughter rang in one corner of her mind. From somewhere in the room, a voice that claimed "Mera Bharath Mahan" issued forth, swirled aimlessly in the room and dipped into softer notes, an ineffective requiem, before it streamed out through the curtains. Hastily. As if apologizing for intruding upon the sorrow of a heart torn asunder.

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