This is the English version of the last Malayalam story of mine.
When all the guests deserted the house, Akhilesh, the twelve-year-old entered the bedroom and lay on the cot. He looked at the fan in the ceiling. What was the feeling shot up in his mind, delight or amazement, he knows not! Swiftly he got up, went to the toilet, had a pee, didn’t want though and flushed out water.
He went to the kitchen and stood near the gas stove, “Amma*, I want a coffee.”
“Mone*, you had it before, some is left in that can.”
“It is not hot, Amma, will you heat a little?”
“Light the stove, I am coming.”
He just wanted to light the stove. So only he asked for coffee.
After having coffee his legs carried him out to the open compound around. The gooseberry tree, standing at a corner waved its twigs signalling its welcome to him. He swung on a bough that was chatting with the touch-me-not herb standing nearby. Then he discerned a few fruit hanging hither and thither like tiny green bulbs, plucked one, bit it with his incisors and felt bitter. Sipped some water direct from the tap and enjoyed the bliss of sweetness that water and the fruit provided when they joined.
Then he watched some sparrows sitting on a Teak tree in neighbour’s land. They were merrily chirping, as if they were performing some pop songs. He took pleasure in observing their recreation club.He invited them, “Build your home here on this tree. Nobody will trouble you.”
“Mone, come let’s light the lamp and pray,” Amma.
After the prayer Amma went to the kitchen and son to the study table.
“Had there been Achchan*,” his eyes became wet again. Tears got collected and rolled down as beads threaded in a string.
In that house there are only Akhilesh, the seventh grade boy and his mother Rajamma. Akhilesh’s father, a coconut-climber used to save some money with a view to having a haven of their own. Owning a self-built asylum was one of the dreams of that family. But alas! The vindictive act of the cruel cancer ate away his father with all his savings.
Akhilesh’s father, Bhaskaran and his family were staying with Bhaskaran’s elder brother. After his demise the mother and son moved to a house in the vicinity itself. House! One cannot call it a house. It was just a plastic sheet fastened to a pile of bricks in waste land. Bricks they had gathered from the leftovers of road construction. It was difficult for them to find any domestic work from where they stayed. Besides that Rajamma felt a sort of vacillation to continue staying in brother’s house.
Akhilesh was proficient in academics and competent in long jump. He was his P.T master’s apple of the eye.The master knew that if nurtured well the yield from him would fetch delight for the school.
“Akhilesh you should have more practice and healthy food to get into the state team next year. I’ll come to your house and meet your parents,” P.T master Prabhakaran.
“No need sir, I shall tell them,” since his residence doesn’t possess a chair to offer his master. So how can he make his sir, sit on a mat?
His repeated humble repudiation stopped not Prabhakaran from visiting Akhilesh’s house. He was taken aback when he witnessed the original knowhow of his beloved student. Rajamma took utmost care in facilitating her son with the essentials like uniform, books etc; she was a domestic help for a few domiciles though. Rajamma was particular to see her son go neatly to the school. So Prabhakaran master never knew that Akhilesh and his mother were striving hard to make both ends meet.
Despite the negation from master’s side, Rajamma brought a cup of black coffee which the master sipped in standing position itself. He bade bye with a heart loaded with much melancholy.
Then things moved on a fast track under Prabhakaran master’s initiative. The pupils, parents and all the staff of the school contributed large-heartedly towards procuring a small piece of land and constructing a small house for Akhilesh. That petite dwelling contained all the essentials like fan, gas stove and study table and so on. The house-warming ceremony literally filled tears in four eyes, as of course the aching memory of Bhaskaran crept in. It in fact supplied painful impact on their hearts. Their grief with depth immense leapt out of their inner spirit as sobs and sighs. The members of the gathering felt sad, but what could they do other than pouring solacing words!
As the feat of their charitable work reached its closure, the gathering retired to their own habitat. And thus Akhilesh went in and started enjoying the boon that the God granted him in the form of a small concrete building which he never had dreamt of. Now when he reached his study table, Father again peeped in rather the son felt so, not with a sad face but with a broad smile.
Mone*- addressing the son affectionately