Monday, 6 June 2016

The Fountain Pen- Asna T.A. (II DC Economics)

“I have been waiting for this moment” Karan cried, seizing Vijay by the collar of his shirt. Vijay’s eyes blurred by the precipitation that slid from his hair. “What do you think of yourself? Huh? What spell have you put on amma and appa to make them love you this much and in return, hate me? I am tired, ok? I am tired of convincing them that I am worthy. Ever since you got in to my life, they even forgot that they have a son like me. Everything was fine when I was their only child. You might not know that pain because you have never experienced it. Oh! I used to hear the sound of coins when you walk. Where do get the money from? We starve here so you could possibly get the money from stealing. ” Karan stopped for breath. “I don’t care about your money!!! I can’t ever ask you these things when amma is around, you know why? Because you are the worst! Justice will always be rendered to ‘you’ in the end. That’s the law here, right?”

Karan throws Vijay so hard that his head strikes on the edge of a wall. Vijay takes huge effort to get back on his feet; his face now gory. He tries to speak but his sound cracks. He, somehow, manages to say, “Bhaiyya…what have I done to make you hate me this much? Nothing on intention, bhaiyya. Believe me. What do you want me to do?”

Amma and appa has left to visit amma’s bedridden uncle. As they know the journey would take few days, their two children have to be left at home itself so that they could look after the cattle and Vijay could attend the local school there. Karan has been waiting for a chance to pounce on his brother. He lives with the belief that his parents have no concern for him but for his brother. His vengeance has been brewing all these years.  

“I want you gone. Okay? Forever. And, for god’s sake, leave me alone!” Karan blurted out these words and ran to the woods, crying. Vijay watches his brother vanishing to the darkness of the forest, open-mouthed. He swallows hard and sits on the doorway of the tiny hut, fixing his eyes on the deep darkness of the forest.

The chirpings of the bird has now stopped. The sinking of the sun in the west gives a crimson effect to the sky. The sweat and the tears on Vijay’s face have now dried up due to the occasional blowing of the wind. He is all pale now; his head resonating the words of his brother. A cat sneaks through the kitchen door and starts surveying inside. The clattering of the metals from the kitchen could not get his attention.

Karan gets back late and go straight to his bed, not caring about his brother. He lay awake on his bed for some time and then fall asleep.

The sunlight slants through the window and fall on Karan’s face. He scratches his eyes with his hands and gets up from his bed. When he stretches, he notices a notebook on the cot. He takes it up. He opens to find his photo on the first page under which it is written,”my beloved bhaiiyya…” Karan turns the page:

3 March 1997

I wonder how my bhaiiyya looks after amma. Today amma fell in the fields and I saw bhaiiyya running to her. He was by her side all day, checking on her. I want to be like him. He is the best.

4 March 1997

Today I drew on bhaiiyya’s notebook. I wanted to surprise him with a beautiful picture I drew for him. But he threw the book at my face and got angry for drawing in his book. I felt guilty. Amma ran to my rescue as he began to beat me. I do not want amma to do that. I should get the punishment for my mistake. Bhaiiyya had every right to beat me.

5 March 1997                                                                

I do not know why bhaiiyya hates me this much. He doesn’t talk to me much. He is always angry with me. I do not know what I have done. I would do anything to make it up to him. If I could only do that…

Karan strokes the beads of sweat that has formed on his forehead. He turns few pages and reads:

11 May 1997

Bhaiiyya asked for a fountain pen. But appa said he didn’t have the money to get him that. Appa tries really hard to get us food. I know. But he gets sweets for both of us some times. He could save that money and get the pen. Besides, bhaiiyya doesn’t even eat sweets.

7 July 1997

I lied to amma that I was going to play with my friends. I, actually, went to that tea shop. The owner finally gave me permission to work there. I will get paid too. I will make money and get my bhaiiyya a fountain pen

3 August 1997

I bought the pen today. I cannot break the surprise now.  Thank you, God! I know he wants the best for this family so he should get the best. He will talk to me more after I gift him this…and he would play with me…

The next pages are blank. Karan realizes that that day is 5 August 1997 and he also comes to know that his cheeks are wet with tears. Suddenly, he notices something glittering on the table- The Fountain Pen. He runs out of the room.

“vijay. Vijay. Vij…” he halts when he realizes that his brother’s chappal has gone and so is his brother’s dresses. Karan sits on the bare floor, numb.

The wind rattles the front door. The sky is clear and bright. The chirpings of the bird fill the air. The fountain pen twinkles in the sunlight.

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