The night was cold and torrid winds blew kissing the roofs of all the houses in the colony. Ramu kaka’s little paan shop faced the road which veiled itself into darkness as it entered the ‘AMAR COLONY’. He shook his head and stretched his face up in a grimace. The LED bulbs were flickering, more often than not leaving the shop in complete darkness. Lightning trudged up in the sky. Ramu Kaka’s grimace in its light appeared like a sad smile. He took breaks by instinct, to observe the prevailing darkness and silence, and cleaned his sweat and went on back to work. The perfect silence was blurred by the occasional howls of dogs and cats and screeches and whispers. But as he stood upon the frail stool, balancing himself and his screwdriver, and his brows shot up, it appeared that none of the disturbances mattered more to Ramu Kaka than fixing his shop’s bulb.
The AMAR colony was completely dark as the lights had gone out. The storm hit the roofs and shook the doors of balconies and muffled voices from different flats rang in the air. From somewhere or some house the sound of a falling plate came.
Aanya shivered under her blanket. Her face was a mix of tears and sweat. She did not want to hear anything that was happening. Or was about to happen. She wished for some light to appear and a joke to float, but the little moon in the sky was not enough to attract her attention. The sounds reappeared.
‘Dad you are a son of a scoundrel and a complete bastard! Do you get it!’, a lean boy, Aanya’s older brother yelled loudly. Aanya bent forward and looked out from her open door. But a wall was all she could see and the shouts rang from the drawing room just ahead.
Yet she knew what was happening. Another fight. Her mother and brother were standing in the darkness of the drawing room. Her father was listening from the quietness of his room right next to Aanya’s.
‘Rahul! How dare you speak to me like that!’ her father shouted and his voice rang in the darkness. Yet he remained put in his room, Aanya thought.
‘This is nothing. I have seen how you used to fight with my grandfather and I know you very well!’
‘Forget it boy. Is this how you talk to your father?’
But Rahul ignored her- his mother- who was standing next to him. She was almost on the verge of tears and shivering hard as if preparing herself to take all the blame on herself. Rahul continued shouting and the fight cornered and bounced off some ugly, dark corners. Boundaries were broken.
Members of the family are the ones who know the most about one another more than the whole world apart. Sometimes, one may feel disheartened and sad and gloomy if one’s family does not live up to the support one was hoping for. Their sudden ignorance and confusion and inexplicable firmness might take one apart, but just because the glass is blurry for a moment does not mean it has stopped doing what it always did. To allow the light in.
But how well can one perceive a mere fact or this irrevocable bond of family in moments like such which reverse and turn the question mark upon the existence of such a bond forever? How can one, when distracted by the stormiest times- easily turn one’s head to the warmth of a glim by the bedside and smile?
It is utterly impossible and momentarily unachievable? Because ugly truths just come out and the struggle is always hard to reconcile with ugly facts.
‘You shut up cackling mouse. I know you!’, his brother shouted.
And ah he had finally fixed them. The bulbs. He came down from the stool and grabbed a beer bottle as he stared at the bulb. ‘Shining so well and so whitely!’, Ramu Kaka thought as he took a gulp. The big gulp of beer sent a burning sensation down his throat as the storm raged behind him. He sat and looked at the stars.
‘Oh, how they look peaceful!’
‘How they wither and soften all the senses!’
‘How they! -‘
He was soon immersed in the future – introducing three more flavours of paan at his shop. He could see himself taking the courageous step of asking for Leela’s hand from her father. Suddenly another lightning bolt flashed through the clouds accompanied by the deep shrill voice of the wind. Ramu kaka dropped his bottle and stood up alarmed. The bulbs started flickering again. One stopped working.
Silence. Aanya dreaded this. The thought of her father laying his room alone was scary and dreadful. She heard her father’s voice ‘You have provoked your son to speak that way to me!’
Her mother in a shaky but firm voice replied ‘I did n-
‘Both of you! Don’t speak to me ever!’ the words were final and they were said.
She could hear her brother saying to his mother, ‘don’t waste time with him, let’s go and sleep in my room.’ There was the bang of a closing door. What did that mean for everyone? ‘Don’t waste time…?’ It was difficult to decipher. The fight shook Aanya to the core. She was shaking like never before and hoped that this was one of those fights which ended up in laughter and reminiscence the next day.
She remembered her father and mother coming in to check on her separately. Her shivers were blocked forcefully as she didn’t want them to reach someone ‘s ears. Fright wrenched the little girl in the bed, and the whole house was seeping with emotions of disappointment, confusion and regret. And rage.
Time paced and the storm calmed. Sleep and loud yawns floated above and silence again enveloped the AMAR colony with the exception of a singing bird.
Ramu kaka had locked his shop. He was walking away, mumbling a feeble tune. ‘Will get the bulb repaired’, was his last sane thought as he had switched off the remaining lights and allowed the darkness to settle in.
Kunjal Gupta is a fifteen-year-old young Indian writer currently residing in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. She began writing a year ago and loves to explore different writing forms. Her interests further include classical dance(kathak) and reading books. She can be found blogging at Duo Disseminators.
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7 Comments Add yours
Kunjal’s short story leaves me in a somber mood. A family and a home are two of the safest places for a growing child. But what happens when neither live up to their worth? It can be tragic and disillusionment can settle in. Living in fear and constant stress isn’t good for a child or an adult. I love how the storm has been used as a medium to convey negative emotions. At times, the simple life can be bliss and there’s lesser complications to throw a person off track. I admire the thoughts and writing of this talented girl, our youngest writer so far at MasticadoresIndia.
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thank you terveen!
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Very good Kunjal…..
I echo Terveen’s comment ‘ I love how the storm has been used as a medium to convey negative emotions’…..
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Reblogged this on Duo Disseminators and commented:
Story published by masticadoresindia.
Congratulations on the publication of this lovely story. Pairing the discontentment and fear of the younger girl with the words pounded away with the effects of the storm was very interesting and exciting. Thank you and blessings to you and your family, Hugs, Joni
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Wonderful story, Kunjal, And such insight at such a tender age. I know families who never speak to each other. I feel their pain.
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