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|by Ravichandran Raja|
I don't know what I will be doing the next two days. I had never planned anything so far in my life. I left my room in the morning as usual and watered the plants. I planted a few of them. It was nice to see them starting to bloom. The breakfast was just the usual. I missed my Mom's cooking. Those days when I was a kid, I used to decide what I would have for breakfast.
My Dad sometimes used to complain. "You are not the son of a building owner. I'm just a watchman" But Mom never liked to see me disappointed. So she always cooked whatever I wanted. But times have changed and I'm not a small kid anymore. And I'm not with my parents now.
After breakfast, I did some carpentry. I wanted to finish a small chair that I was making. I wanted to give the chair to my mom. I will have to finish today. I resigned to my room after a couple of hours and picked up a book that was lying on the floor. I was simply turning pages without paying much attention to what was inside. My thoughts were drifting to a different time.
I thought about my school friends and the time I spent with them. The images of the bus, which we used to take to commute from our village to the school, the old lady who at the bus stop selling gooseberries and roasted groundnuts, the vast green paddy fields with sparkling water flowing in pipes were still fresh in my memory. I will be missing all that very much.
Sometimes I asked myself where am I and what am I doing today, I never had a proper answer. Mom used to tell me that I was very short-tempered, just like my grandfather. When I finished my high school, I wasn't interested in going to college. My Dad was very disappointed. "You need to check yourself and think about your future". But all I wanted to do was to spend time with my friends. Only now I realized that I never had friends. My Dad wanted me to do some work and I never paid much attention. My mom as usual never said anything to me.
Though I didn't feel hungry, I had to eat. The food wasn't tasty. Once again I thought about my Mom. I sat in a corner and started eating. I came back to my room after lunch and I worked on the chair and after a couple of hours I finished it. I felt happy to see it. I had never given anything to my Mom before. My dad said he would be coming in the evening. When he came in the evening I gave the chair to him and said that I made it for mom. He started crying. I told him not to cry. I wanted to meet my mother. But she couldn't come, as she was bedridden. I somehow managed to meet her last week. She cried when she saw me. I also cried. I wanted to just stay by the side of my Mom forever, but I had to leave. My Dad said he would come the next day. I reminded him about the place near paddy field where I used to play cricket when I was a kid. He silently nodded. He gave me a hug…a long one and left.
Late in the evening, I watered the plants once again. I didn't notice that at the first look. It was a small rose flower that had completely bloomed. I felt so happy as if I had given life to something. People always like roses. Not the thorns. That made a lot of sense. There are no takers for the thorns. I felt like one. Thorns are never disturbed. They can't make friends. They are simply abandoned or destroyed. They had to be.
The next morning I went to the small Ganesha temple. Some people were looking at me quietly while some tried to smile. I spent the morning as usual and when I went to have my lunch, I was taken aside by Diwakarji. He asked me if I wanted to have something else. I said no. I wanted to have something that my mom had cooked but wasn't fortunate enough as she was ill. He insisted that I ask something.
I said I would have tender coconut water. Though he was surprised, he somehow managed to get me one. I used to drink nariyal pani almost everyday when I was a kid. Dad used to bring one everyday when he came from work. Diwakarji asked me if I was doing ok or feeling tired. Even before I could answer the doctor was called and was made to do a small check up. When the doctor said that I was doing well, I smiled at Diwakarji. He gave a wry smile and he went back to work.
I felt like sleeping. But why should I sleep. I couldn't answer the question. If there is somebody I have to blame for what I am today, then it's just myself and nobody else. I just wanted to think about the good things in my life. Nothing else. I was thinking about my Mom and Dad. Tears rolled down my dry cheeks. I know that I could have been a better son. I wanted to see my Mom, but couldn't.
I came out and looked at the sky. The stars were twinkling and the moon was bright. I was staring at the dark sky. I thought about what Diwakarji told me once. Every man has been sent sown to do a particular job. Some do it, and some fail. I don't know why I was sent down. Thinking about what I was doing all these days made me feel weak. But I wanted to remain positive. I went around the place and saw the rose plant once again. It looked beautiful. I touched it.
I didn't know what would happen to it tomorrow. So I took it with me. I went back to the room after dinner and sat quietly. I looked at the rose that I had with me. I felt as if it was talking to me. I didn't know whether I was feeling better or I was pretending to feel so. But I continued looking at the small rose flower. If this small rose flower in front of me was so beautiful, then I'm sure the world must be full of such beautiful things. It's just that I failed to identify such things and live with them. The rose continued to talk with me. Wherever it is, the rose looks beautiful and also the things around it. That's the way I should have been. The rose was teaching me lessons that I failed to learn all these days. Better late than never, but what for?
The body was handed over to the convict's father. The jailor gave a small rose to the old man.
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