Friday, June 09, 2006


Today, without thinking, Ashvin started running. Just about two hours ago, he was asleep with a serene countenance, clutching his grandmother. When she had got up early in the morning, slowly had he turned to the other side, resting his leg on the bump on the edge of the bed. A pillow was kept under the bedding to prevent him from falling off the bed while asleep.

Today, he realised how much he loved his people. He always knew his father as the wittiest and the calmest person on the earth, but his mother was always wonderfully special to him. Every single spare moment of his mornings was spent relishing the divinity in his mother. Yet, he never thought about it—he was just preoccupied looking at her in the mornings. Sometimes, when she sits down for puja in the morning, he instinctively goes to her and starts to braid her long thick hair. He loves her hair—by the time she is done with her puja, he is done braiding her hair with his tender hands. And ever single time she dresses up in his favorite violet, starched cotton sari and puts a small string of kanakambaram[1] flowers laced with maruvam[2] twigs amidst her braided hair, the vision has something new to offer.

Today, he didn’t care that he was still in his shorts, that his vest was torn, or that he forgot his footwear. He kept running. He still remembered how his mother kissed him goodbye before she left for her work. Yet, something was not right. Something that was supposed to be done was not done.

Today, he ran faster than ever before to catch up with his mother before she goes out of reach. He did not know if what he was doing was necessary at all, yet, he would not abandon his mission. When Varun, his younger brother got up, he could not find his mother home. A heavy gloom of separation descended over him —mother had left him without wishing him goodbye. He was still asleep when she left. She had a long way to go. Yet, Varun does not know all these intricacies of life. Tears welled up in his eyes. For his age, he was a charming character. He behaved with such maturity and patience that the elders were often baffled. He always checked if everyone had the pudding before asking for a second serving, never complained about his debilitating asthma problem, and still was ever cheerful. Yet, his fiery anger and disarming grief were difficult to assuage once aroused.

Today, though, it was not his brother’s anger that concerned Ashvin. It was melancholy that moved him. He could never stare at a tear in an eye without offering an answering tear of his own. But he simply could not stand tears in his brother’s eyes. Once, Varun had come home from school crying. He learnt that his teacher had hit him in school. An instant spasm of pain surged throughout his body, and made it quiver for a moment. He clenched his fists in helplessness.

Today, the moment he learnt what happened, Ashvin knew what to do. He darted out of his home, and on to the road. He always fancied himself one of the fastest runners among his peers. Stones and thorns pricked his soles, yet he went on. He saw his mother walking ahead. He ran faster and caught up with her. Surprised, she first checked her watch. She has a habit of forgetting her watch while leaving for work. No, the watch was on her hand. It is something else. He told her about Varun. She smiled. She put her hand under his chin, and asked him to pass on her characteristic “tata” to her younger son.

Today, as he was returning home, Ashvin had a sensation of triumph and a fragrance of satisfaction about him. As he entered the street where his home lay, he saw his brother waiting for him, sitting on the steps with his face cupped in his palms. As soon as Varun saw him, he rushed towards his elder brother.

Today, Ashvin is a kid of eight and Varun, a kid of six. Yet their mother was proud that in this world where street-smart children are looked at with awe, at least her children have the godly gift of innocence, but she wondered how long this halo would remain around them.

1Kanakambaram—Firecracker flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis)
2Maruvam—The Sweet Majoram (Majorana hortensis)


yadbhavishya said...

A very small story, now this one. You should be making this a series. Do I need to say how much I can relate to it?

Ragz said...

Man-Dude (again), the narration is really nice. Hope to see more like this in your blog.

Gandaragolaka said...

There are a lot more... time generally plucks the fuits of my memories from the tree of my life again and again