Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Played out Live

(This is my first attempt at short story writing... wrote this a while ago but posted it only now. Would love to hear from you about this attempt)

She was wailing outside; she and the rest of the women in the neighborhood. He heard the cameras flash- the 3rd time in 3 months. He was sick of it. He had participated in the drama playing out on Television sets twice before- hoping that someone would hear. He had enough of this. He would not go out. He wasn’t the only one, those news hounds would find many like him in the neighborhood. Yet they kept coming back to him- he was the only English speaking person in the village. They needed him.

The wounds were still fresh. Tears would well up naturally. But his grief was his own. He wouldn’t let this become entertainment for others. It was about 5 years ago, yet he remembered it like it was yesterday. He was 15 yr old - his father had taken another wife- his step mother, young and beautiful- less than half his father’s age. Not that the old man was a lecher, but he needed the money- dowry was the only way he could make up for all that he had drowned in illicit liquor desi daru. Habit could be a life taker he realized, when his father couldn’t stay away from alcohol in spite of the young and beautiful wife. Only last month, his father had gone out to have his evening drink- the draught notwithstanding, their little savings were lavishly given away at the local wine shop. He never came back. The next morning, the health officials found out that the liquor was contaminated. 40 men (over half the earning population of the village) had succumbed. Ever since, the media onslaught had only increased.

It had been a month. He had moved on. It wasn’t only about his father’s death. This year, mother earth had been cruel. No rains, no water, only dry barren and parched land; tilled land that couldn’t be sowed. He knocked on every door possible to get some help- some water. If this crop failed, he was doomed. The family was doomed. If they couldn’t repay the landlord, life as they knew it would crumble. He only wished that they women in the neighborhood used their endless tears to water the fields instead of entertain the camera. But he knew better.

He beat his hands against the faded blue wall of the only bedroom in their home. Then, almost as a revelation, he knew what he needed to do to stop the impending disaster. He knew this plan wouldn’t fail. The media would get their meat. His family would get the money. His sister could get married and not be ravaged. All would be right. With a smile, almost of relief, he opened the door and walked past the media and the chest beating women. He walked into the empty granary. 2 hours later when he didn’t walk out, the women went to check on him and found him lying on the floor, convulsed in pain. He knew he didn’t have time. Consuming the pesticide was fatal. He knew that the consequence of this last action would bring relief and solace to his family- he smiled and whispered in a raspy voice “farmer suicide…. Draught…. government… Compen…ssaaaaa….tion.” Then, with a gasp that betrayed the trauma and distress he had been through he lay peacefully in deaths powerful grasp.

3 comments:

Narayana Rengaswamy said...

Not bad! I feel it would have been better if it were subtler.

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Nidarshana said...

Nice one Shwets! Give us more...