Tuesday, 8 July, 2008

Puppet Life...

"I don't want to go!" the dying man's pleas for a "presidential" pardon sounded unbearably pathetic to everyone gathered around. He was 90 years old and had lived a good and fruitful life. Now as he lay dying his children and grandchildren sat around his bed willing him on in his final journey. Was it the presence of his loved ones that held him back? Was it the fear of the other world, a new life or meeting the maker that jarred in him? Or was it the claustrophobia of a coffin and being sent underground that scared him? None gathered around could ask. But each made their assumptions.
"Aniyankunje, please don't leave me alone," he pleaded to a man who took a few steps back to leave the room. Aniyan had been a dutiful son but his father's refusal to accept death gracefully riled him. He couldn't rebut him either. This would be their last moment on earth as father and son and Aniyan couldn't bear to hurt his father.

"But what of the priest. He can certainly do something," so thought Aniyankunje and proceeded in the direction of the priest who had already administered the rites of the last sacrament and now watched the drama mutely, wondering how long the final act would stretch on for. Parish priests are a strange tribe. People go to them for all sorts of help, for relief from all sorts of problems, and they lead a life surrounded by people. But it is amazing how detached they are, how nothing around seems to affect them, how they can neither show more affection or more disdain for anything happening around. Their souls always developed a strong defense mechanisms to the fancies and travails of other human souls, yet put up a time-tested and trained act of delivering them to the maker.

"Acho, why can't you talk sense into him?" Aniyan's crude words shook the priest up.
"That is not my job," he offered as excuse.
"If I am not mistaken, that is the devil talking," Aniyan was in no mood to let go.
"Why don't you ask everyone to clear the room?"
"Let him be by himself. Let him realize it is time to go. Let him realize that is what his bonds on earth wish for to."

"Are you all leaving me?" The old man's defiant spirit began to flounder.
"Is it to end this way, My Lord? Will you abandon me too?" The silent god wouldn't reply.
He was at peace. The room began to narrow in on him. The ceiling kept getting closer. His face contorted in a fear and pain he didn't understand. He could see a dark shadow enveloping him. He struggled for his breath. He had feared the coffin. Now he was in it before he had died. And then he saw nothing. His consciousness left him like it entered him. Without his permission, without his knowledge.

P.S - A few days remaining to leave for Chennai. Slept last night in my parents' bedroom, in their absence. Woke up early from a bad dream. The air-condition had left my body and the room frozen. My laptop lay besides me. Thought I should pen it down before I lost my stream of subconsciousness. Ended up taking the form of a short story. This blog is not supposed to be for short stories. But a week gone by and I am yet to write anything socially relevant.