Thursday, 26 April 2007

Short Story-1



A PHANTOM OF REALITY
- Mridara


“ But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions."
-D.H. Lawrence


His eyeballs moved erratically- to and fro- like he was having a bad dream. His face was twisted and sweaty with pain and exhaustion, his hair swayed in the mild current of the water, the flood and sewage water lapped gently at his wheatish brown skin. Agitated people, the flood water, a hovering helicopter and the dark thunderous sky surrounded him. Nothing could disturb him as he floated in blissful pain in an unearthly dream, a dream that took him to a strange place with an eerie dark tunnel, he saw a blinding white light at the end of the tunnel. The light shined pure and beautiful, it burned at his unclean soul, it gnawed at every ridge of his body, enticing and beckoning him. He stopped floating and sank to the floor where his foot touched something heavy and oozy. It was tar – liquid tar.

The tunnel sickened him, the heavy tar had come up to his knee making it buckle. The light called at him, his instincts warned him against it, but the light seemed irresistible, he walked blindly towards it, his senses numb and thoughts in a swirl recollecting a cursed past.

******

”You dog, disgraceful devil. Oh! How could a diseased animal like you be my son? Your bitch of a mother must have slept with a eunuch. You can never live happily in life after breaking my heart. Why don’t you go somewhere and die? Oh God why did you punish me with this curse?“, father fell sobbing on the stone floor after this emotional speech, he lifted his head once in a while to spit on thirteen year old Muthu who sat cowering and crying. Father got up and left the house after a final kick at his son who was already bleeding at several places. Muthu ran to the front door and locked it before anybody came to abuse him any further. He spat at the door. Dogs, How they treated him? His skin felt raw with pain, father’s words swam in his head freezing his thoughts. He had revealed his secret but they found it hard to accept him? why?

He went into his parents room and closed the door, feeling secure again Muthu sniffed at the smell of old jasmine flowers which perfumed the room, it soothed his ragged nerves. He looked at the silver framed wedding picture of his parents with hate, mother had given away his secret and father had violated his mind and body with abuse, the double bed caught his eye, he smiled nastily, he knew their secret, the way they moaned at nights made him nauseous, he spat on the bedpost in disgust, Animals.

Muthu pulled open the closet door and took out his mother’s red silk sari, he loved the yellow border and the intricate jari work, slowly he draped it around himself relishing the silken feel of the fabric against his bruised body. He strode to the dressing table, where he stood admiring his puny sari clad body in the mirror, with great urgency he opened the drawer and decked himself with mother’s cheap covering jewelry, he then applied the makeup in thick layers, the cheap rouge inflamed the bleeding cut on his cheek. Perfect.

His transformation filled him with ecstasy, he laughed bitterly at the girl reflected in the mirror, How beautiful she was, He yearned to be her but society wouldn’t let him, he had to live with the pretension he was born with. Oh Why did god bestow him with a gender he detested, Someday he would break free from this curse.

******

The light seemed nearer, he smiled, he was making good progress. Suddenly unseen arms grasped at him, they pumped at his chest trying to stifle him and poked at his nostrils with sticks. He fought and cursed them for disturbing him from so serene a dream, couldn’t they see, he was at peace here than in their world, where only curses and loneliness awaited him.

******

Muthu’s life was a endless procession of pent up desires which appeared only in secret, he didn’t dare to challenge society as yet. He waited expectantly for his parents death to gain his freedom, they died at last leaving Muthu a small income. He was free at last to reveal his secret and live an open life .


Society despised him for the disclosure, Abuse didn’t bother him anymore, he was numb to it. Muthu lived in moderate comfort seeking and developing sexual relationships with several men and women. Loneliness and depression dug at his heart inspite of the many lustful relationships he had, he longed for love, Grandma had loved him dearly, but she had died when he was 34. He had been surprised by her nonchalant attitude towards his change, but during her dying days she had revealed that her husband had shared a secret similar to Muthu’s, she had forgiven her husband for the shame he had caused her. She accepted Muthu’s change and named him Muthulakshmi, she even taught him all the skills required to play the part of a perfect women.

He thought of her now, rotting away in a wooden coffin with worms devouring her flesh and organs. He wondered about his death, the worms would eat him first then his soul would be charred in hell for eternity for the sins he has committed.

******

The uncertainty of his fate scared him, but the loneliness and uselessness of his life scared him more than death or hell. He entered the light, its majesty suffocated him, the brightness blinded him, he made his way to the heart of the light which was brightest, as he moved towards it, a great tranquility calmed his soul. His breath left his body as he smiled at something beyond.

******


A little paragraph at the far left side of the 4th page reported his death.


Man killed in freak accident
Staff Reporter
-----------

Chennai: A 41 year old man, who was injured
when a huge bag of food packets airdropped from a
helicopter fell on him, died at the government general
hospital here on tuesday. Muthuvel, hailing from
Cuddalore sustained injuries on his neck when a coast
guard helicopter airdropped food packets to the marooned
people in the district at the weekend. He was admitted to
the JIPMER in Pondicherry and later shifted to the governement
general hospital here. He, however, died of his injuries soon
after his admission to the hospital.



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