Saturday, September 30, 2017

MY SHORT STORY " A PUSH INTO THE RIVER "





This is work of pure fiction. Any resemblance with any person , group ,  society or  incident could be a mere coincidence . This work of fiction is aimed to  convey the degradation in  Human values that is sweeping  our  world at large. 


                         THE PUSH INTO THE RIVER 
                                                                       (Autar Mota)
‘Listen attentively. I am sending my family to a safer place as I feel insecure living in this part of the city with my family . There is threat to my life because of my official duties. I have been advised to shift to a secured zone immediately and live in an atmosphere of security. I shall not be living in this house any more. I want you to be the caretaker of this house till things normalize. You need not spend the nights in this house, but do come here everyday and see to it that this lawn is maintained and that everything is okay.  Also, look for the letters from the post office and the courier service. I am expecting some journals and  letters. If any such mail is delivered, give me a ring from  the landline telephone which is inside. Keep these keys with you. I will retain one set of keys with me.  And I shall pay you one thousand and five hundred rupees a month for this job. Fine!’

Okay, sir. Don’t worry.  It is my responsibility now,’ said the caretaker.

I had the last look at my house before asking   my   driver to move. I had shifted to the New Security Zone created for the government officials.

One lazy Sunday afternoon, while I  was  sitting in the lawn of  my   Official quarters and     reading  a  newspaper, the  Guards on Duty informed me that someone wanted to see me. I desired  to know the identity of the  person and the purpose of his visit. I was informed that the person was the  caretaker of my house and that he had some private work with me.


‘Is everything fine? Sit down and tell me what brings you  here this moment.’
 ‘Sir, your house is fine. No worry on that front. A tragedy struck me.’

‘What happened? What tragedy?’

 ‘Sir, my son drowned in the river. He was a young boy of  14 years. I am ruined.’

‘That is a real tragedy. I can understand your feelings. So sad!’

I dug out two five hundred rupee notes from my pocket and handed them over to the caretaker. 

‘Keep this small amount. This is nothing.  My sympathies are with you. Have courage and faith. Everything will be fine.’ 

He accepted the money reluctantly but added,

 ‘Sir, I want to say something. I need help. I was unwilling  to come to you but many people told me that  I should seek your help."

‘What help? Please tell me.’

 ‘Sir! Sir!  It looks so odd but then you know my poverty. Sir !’
‘Tell me plainly.’

‘Sir, I was told by many people that you can arrange  some government  assistance  for me. Many people are getting compensation,  Monetary assistance  and government help. That is why I came to you.’

‘Look here, I don’t tell lies on such serious and tragic occasions. Since the boy fell into the river accidently, seeking  Government relief or  compensation  has neither  moral nor legal justification. Who told you all this?’

I dug out two  five hundred rupee notes more  from my pocket and handed them over to him. He got up to leave.

‘Sir, please keep one thing in mind. I am a poor man.’

The sun had hid itself in clouds that had been  gathering up over the sky. There appeared a sudden change in weather .  I went  inside  and asked the servant to prepare a cup of tea.
After that day, the caretaker kept visiting my office repeatedly. Sometimes he stepped inside the office room; sometimes he met me at the entry gate and sometimes he stopped my driver when I was about to leave for my duties. His visits not only annoyed  but  disturbed me  as well. 

‘He is determined to seek something of great value from me. I will refer him to  some other person who can easily say a convincing and firm  NO to him,’ I thought.

I would meet officers during our weekly  review meetings. Most of us were friendly and helpful to each other as we faced common problems in turbulent days. I shared this problem with one top officer connected with the implementation of law and order in the insurgency ravaged place. I felt relieved. But to my surprise the caretaker stopped visiting me. And whenever he telephoned me, he did not mention his son’s drowning.  As days passed , I forgot the issue altogether.

One day while  I was  returning from the office, I saw the caretaker driving a new motor bicycle.  Surprised, I asked my driver  as to whether he had seen who was driving the motor bicycle. 

‘Sir, why do you test me? You know it all. You have done it.’
‘What have I done?’ 

‘He got compensation in lieu of the drowning  incident of his son. It was through your intervention that his    compensation case was registered. He got a sum of rupees 2 lakhs recently. Didn’t he tell you all this?’

His words shocked and surprised me. I had never said so to any officer nor recommended any compensation for him.  In my heart I also felt a little happy that the tragedy which I tried to compensate by mere two thousand rupees was now adequately compensated. But what intrigued me was how  my  name got linked with it. I was seriously puzzled.

As days passed I forgot this incident. Uncertainty of life ruled our minds like a dictator those days. There were many other pressing things to remember like the  family affairs , welfare of ailing parents , education of  children and official meeting schedules. I had forgotten my house as well. The caretaker’s issue crept in when  he visited  or telephoned me.
And one day the guards  outside my quarters informed me that I had a guest.  Since it was the caretaker of my house, I asked the security guards to let him in. This time he  had come in a Taxi and brought a young boy with him. This young boy was carried inside with the help of the  Taxi  driver and was made to sit on a chair. Once the boy was comfortable, the Taxi  driver left the quarters and waited outside on the road. 

‘Sir, he is my second son. This poor boy is polio stricken. He cannot walk. Nor can he use his hands. Sir, this is my biggest worry in life. I shall not be always  there for him. He needs to live in this world and for that he needs to earn something.’

‘I agree with all what you say. I am distressed to  find that this young boy can neither use his hands nor  legs. Very unfortunate!’

I took out  three five hundred rupee notes from my wallet .
‘Keep this money. This is for the boy. I am sorry. Nothing can be done by me in this case. And please let me know as to what you think about me. I do not run this government. I have no powers to employ people. And then who told you to put this boy to discomfort by carrying him all the way to this place? See, he cannot sit comfortably in that chair. And after all if he seeks employment, he should be able to work.  He cannot walk. He cannot stand on his legs.  He cannot use his hands. How do you expect me to arrange a  job for him? Who is the person who misguides you?’

Holding the three currency notes on his hand, the caretaker looked towards me and said, 

‘Sir, anything can be done if you put a word. Many people go to office and sit. They don’t work at all.  After finishing sitting in the chair there they come back. Nowadays the  final aim is to get the monthly salary. Who cares what you do in the office? Sir, please help this poor man.’ 

‘I am sorry. I can do nothing. And listen, please do not take him to other officers who happen to be my friends. Don’t ever mention my name  me at any place.’

The caretaker called the Taxi driver inside and sought his help to carry the boy back into the vehicle.  I came up to the door to see him off. After making the boy sit in the vehicle, he turned to me and said:

 ‘Sir! Sir! Keep this poor man in mind. God shall keep your family happy.’

‘Thanks.’ 

‘How  will he live when I am gone? Please think about that, sir.’

‘I have told you very clearly.  I shall not promise what I am not capable of doing. You must listen to it once and for all.’
The caretaker came a little closer to me and said:

 ‘Okay, sir. Now tell me please….. in case I   push this boy too   into the river, shall I get your  help  in another  compensation case? I am a poor man. Don’t misunderstand me.”

 I went into my  room. While drawing the window curtains, I thought of going to   the bed. I wanted to  hide myself in a quilt and sleep  in the darkness of the room. Outside, it looked like evening with dark clouds all over the sky.

( Autar Mota )


Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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