PrEm Ji

MOURNING STAR (Short story)





It was a fine morning, though I didn't find it so fine. 

I had a big fight with my wife early in the morning. The reason was quite simple, I didn't collect my salary for the past three months. Being a gazetted officer, it is my duty to claim the salary directly from the treasury. But, the lazy man in me doesn't like to claim the bills and arrears regularly. So, my usual writing session inside the local train was also got disrupted. 

How can a man write something when his mind is totally blank?

“Sir, Shalu is not writing the exam today,” one of the brightest students in my class informed me, secretly.

“What is the reason Raj?”

“Sir... she is not feeling well,” he replied swiftly. “She vomited several times in the morning.”

“Tell her to meet me right now...”

Shalu entered into my office, quite tired, as exam was to start within one and a half hours.

“Shalu, how do you feel now?” I asked her calmly.

“Sir, I feel a bit giddy...”

“Did you have anything in the morning?”

“Sir, I had something... but, I vomited it out completely...”

“That's O.K... Please drink some water... otherwise it will cause de-hydration...” I offered her my water bottle, kept inside the bag. “So, today is your last examination, isn't it?”

“Yes Sir...”

“You will get through all the other exams... Am I right?"

"Yes Sir."

"And if you clear this exam, you can have your Diploma in Mechanical Engg... Am I right?”

“Yes Sir... But, I haven't learnt anything for today's examination... I am going to fail today,” she was about to cry.


“Yes Sir...”

“You can win... you will win,” I said.

“But, how Sir?” she couldn't believe my words... “How is that possible, when I have no idea about the subject?”

“I am going to teach you the entire subject in an hour,” I promised her.

“Sir, it was taught by Sunil Sir,” Shalu had a doubt... “He took nearly four months to complete it...”

“So what? I need just half an hour for a student like you..."

Mr.Narayan, Shalu's beloved father, met me on the very evening. He was working as Assistant Engineer in PWD (Public Works Department), in an office next to our college. He used to help us in every possible way for the maintenance of our college buildings. Narayan is a great friend and a highly accepted man among the social as well as friend circles. His 'happy family' comprises of his wife, Shalu and her elder brother. 

“Thanks Premji...” said Narayan.

“O! Narayan... What's there in it? That's the duty of a teacher... And I did so...”

“It might be a small thing for you... But, it is really very, very important to me... otherwise, she would have lost one year... Thanks Premji... Thanks a lot,” he shook my hands tightly. 

“So, what's her future plan?”

“She likes to go for Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering...”

“Well and good... She has a great caliber for studies...”

“You are right Premji... But, she has immense tension during exams... I am not sure whether she can cope up with that...”

“That's quite natural with girls...” I laughed.

“Certainly not in everyone's case...” he too started laughing.

“But, she will get through with flying colours...” I had absolute faith in her.

“Sir, result has come,” Shalu called me during the first week of June... “I got through Sir... with a distinction... Thank you.. Sir...”

And she came to meet me on the very next day with a handful of expensive chocolates.


“Congratulations Shalu,” I took a chocolate.

“Sir, please take some more... for your little boys...”

“O.K... You are the topper, aren't you?”

“Yes Sir... by your mercy...,” she smiled.

“So... What is your future plan?”

“Sir, I have to secure a job... Will you please help me to get a good job?” she asked innocently.

“O! That’s quite embarrassing! Narayan wants to send you for higher studies...”

“I know Sir... But, I have to find a job,” Shalu was adamant on her decision... “I need a job very badly...”

Narayan met me on the very next week as the seat allotments for engineering seats started from the very next week.

“Premji... She is not interested for higher studies, it seems,” said Narayanan, bit desperately... “You are the only one capable of revoking her firm decision...”

“Sure, I will... But, on one condition...,” I said sternly.

“What's that?” Narayan was thrown into total confusion!

“Shalu... Why do you need a job, when you have every possibility to continue your studies?” I asked.

“I have it... Sir... But, I need a job very badly...”

“But, why? Are you in love with any of your friends?” I asked about the worst possibility, for a young girl of her age.

“No Sir... I have some other problems...”

“Please tell me openly...”

“Sir, I really envy upon my Dad's friendship with you!”

“My friendship? Ha...ha…ha...” I started laughing loudly. “But, why?”

“He is not that much friendly with any of us in our family,” she replied painfully.

I was shattered to the core so that I could not speak to her for the next two minutes.

“Tell me... in detail...”

“Sir, before getting married to my Mom, he had an affair... And he is not out its hangover over so far... Unfortunately, he couldn't realize his dream... But, does it have anything to do with my Mom?”

“No... not at all...”

“Sir, he didn't let her join for any job, though she was well qualified... Do you know what happened to her life? She doesn't have the most valid thing... financial freedom! And naturally, she got transformed to someone having the same status of a servant... She doesn't have an opinion... A woman is getting vacuumized from her life... intimate personal life... She lives in a house, constructed on the core of a volcano... But... Sir... She has no complaints at all, since she loves him... she respect him... so deeply... Sir... We have, everything,” Shalu stopped for some time... “Sir... He provides everything we need... everything... But, we lack the most important thing... peace... smile... happiness... We love him a lot and he loves us a lot, that we know... But, we miss the true essence of family life... that unity... that love... My tensions are the bi-product of all these... I hate to walk on a tight rope... It's really dangerous...”

“That's why you need a good job!”

“Sir... Everyone is so happy in his company... everyone enjoy his selfless love and care... He is a role model for everyone... Everyone prises about his contended family life... that makes me real crazy,” she stopped talking as a heavy downpour had taken an abrupt stop. 

“Premji...,” Narayan wanted to say something, but he couldn't. 

I saw tears rolling down from his flooding eyes... 

“Narayan... Anyone, who lives only in the past, is wasting his life forever. One must learn how to live in the present... Embrace the present to enjoy the finest moments in life...”

“You are right... Premji...”

“Don't worry, my friend... nothing is too late,” I stopped for some seconds to gather the most truthful words of my life... “Go home as usual... have dinner together with your family... everyone must be there in the dining table... everyone... Togetherness is life... Narayan... Please try to crack some jokes... and when everyone is almost ready to sleep, call them beside you... everyone of your family... hug them tightly and cry for some time, together... Silence will wash away every drop of unhappiness... my friend... Heaven will dawn upon your family,” I could see a morning star rising upon his innocent face, brighter than the Sun...

I started walking away, so lighthearted without even bidding Good Bye to him.

“Premji,” Narayan called me from behind... “How many sweethearts did you have?”

“Just one! And now also JUST ONE!”




  • Author: PrEmJi PrEmJi (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: April 29th, 2021 02:21
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views:


  • L. B. Mek

    “Just one! And now also: JUST ONE!”
    that proud exclamation of the lucky, few
    that treasured and learnt, early
    whilst learning love's song, in-step
    with their treasured ONE, and only
    discovering answers to their yearning's: sincerity
    that life: so - fit, to gift
    delivered, ribbon wrapped with that grace of longevity..

    • PrEm Ji

      Thank you dear poet...
      Many people get trapped in the chains of 'lost love'

    • Fay Slimm.

      I once again became enraptured with your story of family togetherness and how vital it is to learn how to promote that closest of feelings - first rate writing dear Prem.

      • PrEm Ji

        Thanks dear Fay...
        Thanks a lot...

      • Prema

        Essence of life is thrown in the story... Love is beautiful trapping element of life. Only one sweet heart? Such a beautiful tone in felt in the word 'only one'

      • PrEm Ji

        Thanks Prema....
        It will be very refreshing for you to spend half an hour here on daily basis... poets from all over the world...

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