PrEm Ji

UNTOLD STORY OF A TEAR-DROP (Short story)

 

 

Desperately, I watched the tail-end of Chennai Mail (Super-fast train) speeding away, from Tiruvalla railway station. ‘Shit!” I was panting heavily like a feeble dog that had run for many kilometers, closely followed by angry street children. And I was forced to find out an alternate mode of transportation in that pale morning as the next train scheduled to my preferred destination was three hours away. 

“Did you get the train?” asked my wife through mobile phone.

“No dear… I was trapped in the morning traffic…”

“Premji… you are so careless!”

I cut the phone abruptly as I didn’t want to quarrel with her in a wireless mode. 

 

I stood there at the nearby bus-stop like an abandoned alien waiting for his spaceship. Two or three express buses passed by without caring my repeated pleas to stop. Who cares for moth while sitting inside a huge metal-beast!

And to my surprise, an old Mercedes Benz car stopped beside me. 

“Get in, Premji,” a female voice, from the driver’s seat welcomed me. It was Anitha. We hadn’t met, at least even once, for the past three years. She was in the beginning of her forties. 

“How come you are here?” She asked me.

“That’s the same question even I would like to you ask you?”

“I am staying here for the past two years,” she replied while speeding up the car.

“O.K… Where shall I drop you?”

“Will you please drop me at Thiruvananthapuram, my home town?” I tried to tease her as my destination was three hour drive away. 

‘Surely… You know … I am on the way to meet Vinod,” she replied with a smile. 

Soon, silence encompassed us. 

She woke me up when the car reached my destination.

“Are you still worried about him?” I asked Anitha while getting out of the car. 

“With whom?”

“Anand.”

“Absolutely not!” 

Strange woman… When did I meet her for the first time?

 

Four years back… 

It was a fine morning and the slanting rays of the morning Sun were dancing upon the railway platform. Vinod was sitting, all alone, in a metal bench at Thiruvananthapuram Railway station. He was working as the chief accountant of a huge private firm. Though he was in the beginning of forties, he resembled a boisterous youth. We both were bosom friends for many years as we both were regular passengers of the same train. He was such a jolly guy that the entire compartment used to reverberate by his superb jokes. But, on that fateful day, he remained like a shadow of his own.

“Vinod… You look very tired like you are having fever!”

“Please sit beside me,” he replied in a low voice.

“Are you all-right, Vinod?”

“My nephew passed away, last week. Even now, I didn’t get out that shock.” 

“O! God!” I remained silent for a moment. “How old was he?”

“He was twenty… doing MBBS course in Mangalore.”

“His name?”

“Anand. You know... He was very fond of the sea from his very childhood. He was drowned to death while enjoying a holiday with his friends. And the saddest thing is… my sister got divorced some ten years back.” He covered his face.

And in the middle, there was a special announcement that our train would start only by 7.30AM. He was absolutely silent during the next two hour long journey. 

And the train reached our final destination.

“What is the point in living further? She asked me yesterday night.” Vinod broke the silence. “How can I console her, my friend? You know, she has been staying with me since her divorce. Many times, I asked to get married again. But, she was adamant not to. I am not gutsy enough to ask her again… Nobody can understand the depth of her loss…”

“You are right…”

“Today, I left her in the complete care of my wife. But, how many more days? She too have to attend her job. I am totally confused.” 

“But, there is one and only one way-out, my friend…”

“What’s that?” Vinod was very curious to know.

“Leave your children in the complete care of her. May be, that could save her from depression.”

“But, that’s not possible Premji.”

“Why?”

“Unfortunately, we don’t have children.” 

 

I visited his house many times in connection with the death ceremonies of the departed boy. People love to be in company of the most jovial people around them since they bring tonnes of happiness through their speeches and action. But, how many of us can understand the pain of their lonely souls? 

Six months passed event-less. And I was forced to settle down at Kollam, the head-quarters of the nearby district, as I was transferred to another institution. Every promotion is accompanied with a transfer!

It was around 11AM in the morning. I walked towards the small bookstall situated in second platform of Kollam Railway Station, in order to buy the latest “Magic Pot,” a noted children’s magazine. Quite unexpected, my eyes were fixed on a familiar face, which disappeared into an almost empty compartment of a local train, that started moving. Somehow, I too managed to board on it. 

 

 “Hi Anitha… Where are you going?” I settled down beside her. Only we both were there in the middle of that compartment.

“I am going to Punaloor… to visit one of my relatives,” she replied calmly. “And what about you?”

“Vinod have asked me to accompany you through mobile phone. He will call you soon,” I showed her my mobile phone. 

“But, I didn’t tell him that…”

“True brothers know everything!” my voice was overpowered by the mobile ring.

“It’s for you.”

He talked with her for a moment.

“And…What did he say?”

 

We got down at the next station.

We didn’t exchange even a single word during the journey, back to her home, in a rented car till the silence was interrupted by another mobile ring. Soon, ample tension appeared on her face. Father Solomon was on the line. 

“Please stop the car near the “Mother of all sorrows” Church,” I told the driver.

 

“Please come with me,” I was reluctant enough to leave Anitha, alone, inside the car. 

We started walking towards the place where Father Solomon was living. He lived in absolute simplicity exactly like a true disciple of Christ. He had only two White gowns as white as his long beard. 

“Good afternoon, Father”

“Welcome dear son… Who is this?”

‘She is my sister.”

“Prem… Your sister-in-law had promised me some funds for our special orphanage…”

“I know… She has been busy trying among friends and relatives…”

“Daughter… Please wait for us a couple of minutes…” Father Solomon told Anitha.

And we started walking towards an unfinished building. Later, we were warmly welcomed by Vinod’s wife in the evening.

 

 “Are you still worried about him?” I asked Anitha while getting out of the Mercedes Benz. 

“Absolutely not!” 

“But… why?”

“When you both… Father Solomon and you… had left, I happened to meet a very old woman by some hidden plan of Holy Mother. She had been helping the Father to look after the children in that special orphanage, suffering from Down syndrome. She couldn’t even walk properly. Still, she was ready to serve the needy. And on the very next day, Vinod dropped me there, without the least amount of hesitation, to serve the little ones… It was my decision...” 

“But, he didn’t tell me.”

“I told him not to. And I met a widower there with a lovely kid. Unfortunately, she was suffering from Cerebral palsy. Prem… I couldn’t resist her call…”Mother… mother…” in some strange dialect.

“Life is so strange...”

“My husband is funding for the entire children there. I am happy now.”

“I too”

“You know... I took that train to find out a suitable place to submit myself to death.”

“That’s why I was forced to follow you.”

“Prem… There are three different kinds of persons… great people sacrifices their own interests for the sake of others… there are some other men who take care of others by protecting their own interests… there are human-beasts who protects their own interests by spoiling that of others… My brother Vinod is of the first kind.”

“And your transformation, from the last to the first of these kinds, is really great!”

“I visit many schools and interact with children regularly. Wherever I go, I speak about Anand, my departed boy. I speak about you. Now-a-days, grown-up children don’t even think of their parents while taking part in dangerous activities. They want to enjoy their life to maximum. They give least care to the feelings of their parents and relatives.” She remained silent for a moment. “Tragedies make you feel worthless… You can overcome every tragedy through selfless service… Life is nothing but sharing and caring... Prem”

“Yes... The tear-drop of a mother can illumine a million Suns!”

 

Premji

Comments1

  • L. B. Mek

    'Who cares for moth
    while sitting inside a huge metal-beast!'
    "Yes... The tear-drop of a mother
    can illumine a million Suns!”..
    (I couldn't help but highlight these two lines
    because within them, exists the potential
    for insightfully - incisive, Nature Poetry
    as eye opening: commentary)..
    a truly gripping and emotive story you've weaved, dear Poet
    I especially like your depiction of how Faith, can overcome
    the naturally human faults of its religion's clerics, to deliver
    the answer, those who choose to believe - are searching for,
    that kind of stark-reality based, open minded choice - to invest
    in your chosen belief system, in-spite of the weaknesses
    of those entrusted with running it,
    is so much more convincing, and enticing than the usual
    overtly impassioned quotation's of go-to: passages and parables
    (for me):
    “Welcome dear son… Who is this?”
    ‘She is my sister.”
    “Prem… Your sister-in-law had promised me some funds for our special orphanage…”
    “I know… She has been busy trying among friends and relatives…”
    “Daughter… Please wait for us a couple of minutes…” Father Solomon told Anitha.
    And we started walking towards an unfinished building.
    ..
    “When you both… Father Solomon and you… had left, I happened to meet a very old woman by some hidden plan of Holy Mother. She had been helping the Father...'

    • PrEm Ji

      Thank you so much...
      every life is the gift of almighty...
      nobody can write without divine touch...



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